The Difference Between A Service And Maintenance Plan

One of the most important parts of owning a car is to ensure that you keep it in good knick. This means that you should service your car according to its service intervals and replace parts whenever they might need to be swapped out for newer editions.

Car maintenance can quickly become an expensive affair. As such, dealerships usually offer solutions to prospective buyers in the form of service or maintenance plans. Both of these are aimed at giving car owners some financial assistance for their new car’s upkeep, at least for few years or a pre-determined amount of mileage driven with the car.

The question prospective buyers might have is: what’s the difference between a service and maintenance plan and which one is better?

In this blog post, the Fury Ford Midrand team gives you the answers you’re looking for.

What is a service plan?

A service plan covers the costs of regularly scheduled services determined by the manufacturer. Items covered under a service plan are marked by an “R” (for replacement) at service intervals. Usually, all vehicles come with a service logbook so that owners can see when they must bring their cars in to be taken care of.

Items usually covered by service plans are spark plugs, air filters and oil. This can, however, differ from manufacturer to manufacturer.

Importantly, buyers need to know that a service plan does not cover wear and tear on a vehicle. It also does not cover mechanical breakdowns, which is one of its biggest downsides.

Service plans can be bought upfront, as a term product, or they can be purchased by way of ongoing monthly payments. As mentioned above, it is very common for dealerships to throw in free service plans as part of deals on new cars to make offers more attractive to potential customers.

What is a maintenance plan?

A maintenance plan is very similar to a service plan. The key difference is that it also covers wear and tear items. In other words, it provides cover for replacing parts that require periodic replacement on a vehicle.

What are wear and tear items, you may ask? Examples of wear and tear items are the brake pads, brake disks, clutch kit, wiper blades, batteries, globes, shock absorbers and mounts, and air-con gas.

The above items are usually clearly excluded from service plans, meaning maintenance plans are more comprehensive than service plans in terms of the value they hold for car owners.

The downside of maintenance plans is that, unlike service plans, they don’t usually come as part of a deal on a new car. Typically, buyers will have the option of upgrading their service plan to a maintenance plan. This does, however, have cost implications as maintenance plans are generally more expensive when compared to service plans.

Which plan is better for you?

There are a few factors that play into the discussion regarding which kind of plan is best for each kind of car owner.

Usually, people buying cars with the intention of only driving them for 2 - 3 years are better off with service plans. They are more affordable (if they are not part of the deal on a new car) and will likely suffice if a car is not going to be owned and used by a driver for a long period of time. Generally, the kind of normal wear and tear that can be expected during this timeframe would not warrant any replacement parts not covered by a service plan

Those looking to buy a car with the intention of owning it for longer than 4 to 5+ years, may want to consider spending the extra money on a maintenance plan. The reason for this is that owners will be more likely to encounter the kind of situations where certain parts might need to be replaced that service plans don’t cover. In this way, they can avoid big once-off costs on vehicle upkeep.

Am I not better off without either of the two?

Research shows that in tough economic times like the world is currently facing due to the global pandemic, car owners keep their vehicles for longer before replacing them. This means that caring for the vehicle becomes even more important as the use of the car needs to extend for longer.

When keeping this in mind, both service and maintenance plans serve as cost-effective ways to manage the financial burden that car upkeep can have. Seeing as both can be paid for on a monthly basis, it makes them more accessible and attractive to car owners who are looking to avoid nasty service or repair bills on their vehicles.

At Fury Ford Midrand, we can assist you with service or maintenance plans when buying a car from us. Contact our sales team today 010 595 0974