Different car plans will cover different aspects of a car's maintenance. Therefore it's important to know what to expect when a car goes in for a service.
MOTORING NEWS - Service plans, maintenance plans and warranties all sound like unnecessary car jargon, but each has a particular bearing on how your car is covered.
"They may sound similar to the uninitiated but a service plan, maintenance plan and warranty are not synonyms - they're actually very different things that cover different aspects of your vehicle for different periods of time," says Charl Grobler of Suzuki. "Knowing what you've selected and what that covers is important and helps you budget for any upcoming costs while it tells you what you can expect from your dealership too."
In summary, a warranty is the manufacturer's promise that the machine they're selling you won't give you problems and they'll cover it if it does.
A service plan pays for the car's services - the labour and standard parts. However, it doesn't include the cost of defective parts or wear and tear on parts like the clutch, brake pads, and so on.
A maintenance plan covers what your service plan doesn't, which is wear and tear.
A warranty is the manufacturer's quality stamp of approval for the car. It's their promise that the vehicle will be defect free for a set period of time; for example, three years or 100 000km. Some warranties only cover certain things for certain periods of time.
In the first year, they will cover more than they do in year three. Suzuki's warranty is bumper to bumper for its entire duration. An extended warranty is an option most car manufacturers give you, but you might not get the return on investment you want from that extra monthly cost.
Warranties are generally not very expensive - but be sure to always read the fine print to see what they cover. Some models are known for having certain parts break down - so make sure those parts are in your warranty or extended warranty.
Regular services are essential to keep your car healthy and prevent major, expensive damage resulting from regular wear and tear on the car. Services can be very expensive and are required to keep your car warranty valid.
A service plan will typically cover: the labour cost of the car's services, everyday consumables, necessary lubricants, replacement filters and new oil. In a service, they will check but not replace other parts, like brake pads. This is where a maintenance plan comes in.
This covers every part of your car except for your tyres and covers the wear and tear of your car's parts. The website WarrantyExtender.co.za reads, "Typical Wear and Tear items include brake pads and linings, wiper blades, shock absorbers and mounts, batteries, globes (light bulbs), aircon gas, etc. Basically anything that has a natural wear cycle and needs to be replaced as performance degrades. So a car maintenance plan is all-encompassing and more suited to a younger car that has not done excessive mileage."
Generally, though, a car won't need much more than a service plan, though it is a good idea to start saving for possible part replacements years down the line. In the end, it depends on how long you're planning on keeping the car.
It also depends on the initial cost of the car - an expensive car will have more expensive parts - and a maintenance plan is a good bet in that scenario. Most cars have their really big service at 90 000km - that's when things start to break down. If you're planning on selling your car before it hits the 90 000km mark, you probably won't need a maintenance plan.