We often purchase cars that come with all these ad-ons like service plans and maintenance plans, and even warranties. You may think that these items are limited to new cars but even used cars can sometimes be bought with an existing policy still intact.

Today we’re going to break down service and maintenance plans and explain the difference between the two, and hopefully turn you into a savvy shopper the next time you step into a car dealership.

What is a service plan?

Like everything else in life, cars also need routine maintenance to remain in tiptop running condition. Generally, most vehicles require a service every 15 000km, although there are some which need to be attended to every 10 000km. It all depends on the manufacturer and whether the vehicle has a diesel or petrol engine. With a service plan, you can book your vehicle for a service without having to worry about the costs involved because your policy will cover all service-related costs and the parts involved. These include spark plugs, filters, and fluids like oil and coolant. Anything outside of this which may need repairing or replacement won’t be covered under your service plan. It’s also important to note that your service plan is limited and will only be valid for a certain number of years or specific kilometres, whichever comes first.

What is a maintenance plan?

This policy is like a service plan, although it differs slightly and offers you more cover. With a maintenance plan, you’re covered for your routine services and more. A maintenance plan will cost you more (if you’re not purchasing a new vehicle and have to purchase the plan separately) but it covers you for mechanical failures as well as wear and tear parts – these may include your clutch and brake pads but is not limited to these items. It’s also important to note here, that there are certain things that your maintenance plan will not cover. Read through your policy carefully and ask questions to know what you are and aren’t covered for.

After-market plans/policies

When purchasing a new car, chances are it will come with one or more of these policies included in the purchase price. Used cars often won’t have the benefit of having a protection plan, but the good news is that there are policies that can be added to your pre-owned car and paid for monthly or all at once. Once your plan has come to an end, you do have the option of extending it or purchasing a different plan. Why is it important to have a policy/protection plan in place for your vehicle? Well, it saves you from spending thousands of rands in repair costs should anything go wrong with the vehicle. Certain car parts can be very expensive and often people don’t have that sort of cash lying around – this is where a service plan or maintenance plan comes in handy.