What Is a Motor/Service plan Actually?
What Is a Motor Plan? You may know that your new car came with a motor plan.
You might even have a vague idea as to what it covers. But do you know what responsibilities and benefits your motor plan bring?
If you don’t, you’re in good company; according to a recent survey by MotorHappy, 85% of South Africans over twenty understand only 20% of their service plan.
The study further revealed that 50% don’t know that their sale contract included a maintenance plan. 40% didn’t have a clue which plans they had.
Of the 900 car owners interviewed, a staggering 90% didn’t know much or anything about maintenance plans or warranties. There was not much of a difference in the motor plan ignorance stakes between men and women or people of different age groups.
So what is a Motor plan?
Not all car parts are replaceable with a service plan, and car owners complain as they don’t understand the extent of the plans’ cover regarding parts.
Some car owners are only aware of this when they break down or have a clutch or brakes replaced. There are also complaints when car owners discover how much the plan has added to the price of the car they bought.
However, they are the ones principally to blame for not reading the fine print. Many new buyers just drive off with no questions asked.
If they do know about the maintenance plan, they don’t find out how much it adds to their repayments. Or the extent of repairs it covers. This information is readily available online or from the dealer.
Who is to blame?
While car buyers share a portion of the blame, car dealerships also have a role to play. Buyers should get value from their maintenance plans.
A sales manager with Mercedes Benz insists that his company expects dealers to offer buyers a detailed explanation of maintenance plan contracts. But this is not always the case.
This is because a dealership views the contracts as a source of income instead of a service plan that manufacturers intended.
Major car brands offer maintenance contracts with the aim of helping their customers get maximum value from their cars while maintaining them in tip-top condition.
This ensures they have peace of mind driving that particular make and an assured resale value.
What is a Motor plan Continued
Service plans are beneficial; they have the potential to save motorists money. If parts or labour increase, you pay the same amount for a service as you did when you signed up.
It also enables you to get repairs and maintenance whenever required without worrying about finding the money.
There is the added assurance of getting the right parts for your car, straight from the manufacturer. You need not worry about pirated parts ruining the engine. The mechanics servicing your vehicle are trained experts specialised in dealing with that car model.
A Service plan Versus a Maintenance plan
At this point, we should explain what the difference between a service plan and a maintenance plan is.
A service plan caters only for scheduled services. Which means oil, lubricant change and other small components like spark plugs and air/fuel filters replaced.
A maintenance plan goes further. The plan covers replacement of parts that have become non-functional through normal wear and tear. These parts include brake pads, wiper blades, bulbs and shock absorbers.
This is the only difference between the two plans. They are similar in most other regards, and both have a set expiry period. Usually a fixed number of years or vehicle mileage.
However, you can opt to extend the plan beyond this stipulated limit. The two plans are generally attached to the price of a new car. Car owners are required to service their vehicles at specific dealerships and to only use approved vehicle parts.
What is a Motor plan, a Service Plan and a Maintenance Plan?
Maintenance plans have long been a device car sellers use to get people into buying higher-end models. Especially when nearing the end of their production cycle.
Buyers see maintenance plans as giving them peace of mind when it comes to keeping their cars in good shape. This idea mainly appeals to first-time car owners. Mercedes-Benz, have made maintenance plans mandatory when buying new cars.
Plans are also available to those who have purchased second-hand cars. Even if the price of parts or labour goes up for the duration of the contract, service plan holders will still pay the same.
Maintenance plans have their shortcomings. If for instance, you suffer gearbox failure while driving your car, it may not be replaced even if it is under a maintenance plan.
And what if your warranty period has expired? Do you have to pay again for an expensive part? Not if you have an extended warranty. This is a sort of maintenance plan that is activated once your vehicle’s warranty period expires.
However, it only caters for some categories of failures and not regular service or maintenance work.
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