So you arrive at the braai in your new car and your wife tells them about the five year/150 000km warranty and your neighbour says that is an excellent service plan and his car’s maintenance plan is about to run out. So everyone’s eyes glaze over. Are we talking about the same thing? No, we are not.
Most people who buy new cars do so every few years to maximise their trade-in value, so they are not experts at what can be a complicated transaction. Are you doing the finance yourself or does the dealer have a plan you cannot beat? Over how many months are you taking the car? Insurance? These are decisions you have to make. And you have to pay attention to the warranty and the service and/or maintenance plan, as these can have a major impact on your future motoring happiness.
But what is the difference between a warranty, a service plan and a maintenance plan?
Your new car will offer you a warranty for a specific time and mileage. This is expressed as something like 5 years/150 000km.
A warranty is the manufacturer’s promise that your vehicle and its components will continue to function well for a specific period, and that they will repair or replace any part covered by the warranty should that malfunction.
Some warranties will cover some components for the full term, and others for a lesser term. You should check on this.
Warranties usually cover the engine, gearbox, electrics, fuel system and the like. Warranties don’t cover all items, usually excluding wear and tear items like tyres and brake pads. Driver abuse or damage caused by incorrect use will not be covered by the warranty. Aftermarket alterations can also void it, so think before you pimp your ride. The warranty will usually stipulate which workshops are authorised to work on your vehicle.
So the long and short of warranties: find out what is covered and for how long, and what is not covered.
The Service Plan
Service and maintenance plans can be standard or optional, but they are not free, nor do dealers claim they are. The company offering them agree to incur specific costs on your vehicle over a specific time and you agree to pay for that cost upfront, usually as part of the purchase price. For that you get predetermined costs and peace of mind.
A service plan is what it says. Your car will have to be serviced by an authorised dealer after so many kilometres, often every 15 000km. They will replace standard items such as air, fuel and oil filters, brake fluid, oil, spark plugs etc. Your service plan will cover the cost of these items and the labour to replace them.
Usually, if your car makes an unusual sound, it is not covered by your service plan, which brings us neatly to the maintenance plan.
The Maintenance Plan
The maintenance plan is like the service plan with benefits. In addition to your normal service cost as explained above, it also covers wear-and-tear items for a specific duration. Typically this will include your gearbox, clutch, suspension, brake pads and discs, wiper blades, shocks, etc.
Not all maintenance plans are the same, so make sure you know exactly what is covered for how long and under what circumstances.
Warranties, service and maintenance plans all offer peace of mind and financial certainty, as long as you take the trouble to understand their terms and conditions. We hope this article will help you ask the right questions.
To find out what Mitsubishi can offer you in this regard on your new car, please feel free to discuss these options with one of our knowledgeable dealers. They will be more than happy to help.