Owning a car can be quite a thrill. The freedom to drive anywhere, at any time, is something we all look forward to as we near adulthood. Possessing your very own vehicle gives you a sense of independence like no other.
However, with this new found freedom and independence comes an equally large amount of responsibility. Cars need to be cared for and kept in good shape to be able to transport you to your destinations safely and efficiently.
The upkeep of a vehicle can be quite costly, which is why service and maintenance plans can be so important to car owners. Choosing which one is right for you, though, can be quite a headache. So we’ve gathered together all of the necessary information to arm you with insightful knowledge and help you make the right choice.
Car service plan – what is it and how does it work?
Your car should go in for regular services. Usually, the frequency of a car’s service is determined by an amount of time (years) or mileage (km that the car has driven). The vehicle’s manufacturers will have more detailed guidelines as to when the car needs a service, which you should find in the car’s manual.
A service can be costly. While all services vary, depending on the car, most include the following:
- Oil and oil filter check and replacement
- Brake fluid check and top-up
- Antifreeze coolant check and top-up
- Windscreen wash check and top-up
- Full brake check
- Power steering fluid check and top-up
- Steering check
- Shock absorbers check.
- Suspension check
- Light check
- Windscreen wipers check
- Wheel alignment check
- Charging systems check
- Exhaust check
- Battery check
- Charging system check
- Tyre tread and pressure check.
All of these entail labour, parts and consumables such as oil etc. A service plan is there to pay for all of these costs. It is sort of like a medical aid, for your car.
The service plan covers all costs of the manufacturer’s service, however, it does not cover the cost of any wear and tear replacements. Items such as brake pads, clutches, tyres, and wiper blades will cost you more if they need to be replaced.
So basically, if you take out a service plan on your car you will be given a list of approved mechanics or workshops where you are able to have the service done. You will be able to take your car in for its regular service, as per the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) guidelines, and you won’t have to worry about payments on the day, as your monthly payments will have it covered.
Benefits of a service plan
The great thing about having a service plan is:
- Fixed, affordable monthly cost
- No need to worry about inflation, parts or labour cost increases.
- Your car can be serviced at any OEM approved dealership.
- Only genuine OEM parts are used and trusted technicians will service your vehicle.
Drawbacks of a service plan
The not-so-great parts of having a service plan are:
- Sometimes the monthly payments add up to be more expensive than the car’s service costs
- It only covers service elements, not wear and tear items
Does your car qualify for a service plan
Your vehicle will only qualify for a Service Plan if:
- It is less than 10 years old
- It has travelled less than 250 000 km.
Car maintenance plan – how is it different and is it better?
A maintenance plan is much like a service plan, except that it ensures that your wear and tear items are also paid for if they need to be replaced. It is, obviously, more costly than a service plan, but gives you complete peace of mind when it comes to taking care of your car.
While the maintenance plan is more comprehensive, some argue that it can be more costly to have than not to have it. If you don’t need to replace any wear and tear items, the service would then, most likely, cost less than what you have paid for your maintenance plan.
It is hard to argue the fact, though, that having the surety of everything being covered, may just be worth paying a bit extra. If you drive long distances, your car is more likely to experience wear and tear than if you use the car simply to drive short distances.
Benefits of a maintenance plan
The benefits of a maintenance plan for your vehicle are:
- Both servicing and maintenance costs are fixed and provided for
- You don’t have to worry about inflation, parts or labour cost increases
- Your vehicle can be serviced any OEM approved dealership
- Only genuine OEM parts are used and trusted technicians will service your vehicle
Drawbacks of a maintenance plan
There a few cons when it comes to maintenance plans, these are:
- It’s more expensive than a service plan
- It is hard to gauge affordability as you aren’t sure when you will need to replace something due to wear and tear
Does your car qualify for a maintenance plan
To qualify for a maintenance your vehicle must:
- Be younger than 5 years
- Have less than 120 00 km’s on the clock
- Have all of its services up to date.
Vehicle service and maintenance plan providers
Here is a list of providers that you can contact for a quote on either a service plan or a maintenance plan for your car. Some of these providers offer both service and maintenance plans, while others offer just one.
Motorite – http://www.motorite.co.za
Car Maintenance plan – http://www.carmaintenanceplan.co.za
Bidvest – https://www.bidvestinsurancegroup.co.za
Auto Guard – https://autoguardsa.co.za
Vehicle service and maintenance plan price range
Depending on your car model and year, and the mileage on the car, your service plan could be anything from R190 p/m to R600 p/m.
A maintenance plan, using the same elements as the service plan to determine the price, will cost from R400 and up.
So which is the best plan for your car
So, in answer to the question “service plan or maintenance plan?” we are sure that you see that this depends largely on you and your car. The more you use your car, and the further you drive in it, the more likely you are to need a maintenance plan that covers all wear and tear costs during the service. If you only use your car for simple needs and do not drive long distance, a service plan may be more affordable for you.
Deciding which plan to take out on your car should be somewhat less difficult now that you understand what each plan offers you. While the plans are similar, there is a definite comparison when it comes to price and the amount of cover you feel your car needs.
The best thing to do from here would be to contact one of the providers listed above to compare prices and get professional advice based on your personal details.