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24 Jan

Difference between a service plan, maintenance plan and a warranty


It is important to understand the different services your vehicle can benefit from

So you’ve bought that car you had an eye on and you know it’s specs and features off by heart. You happy with your monthly instalments and your insurance is sorted. But are you aware of the manufacturer warranty, or whether the vehicle has a service or maintenance plan?


Most cars are sold with a maintenance or service plan as standard or as an optional extra. But don’t be fooled into thinking that a standard service or maintenance plan is free. The price of these plans is usually included in the purchase price of your new car. You will, however, benefit from no additional costs involved when having your vehicle properly serviced and maintained so you can budget exactly how much your new car is going to cost every month.

So it’s time to get clued up on what a maintenance plan, service plan, and warranty is?

Maintenance Plan

A maintenance plan is basically a service plan on steroids. It comes with more benefits than a service plan and will include wear-and-tear items on your vehicle such as the gearbox, clutch, suspension and brake pads and discs, wiper blades, shock absorbers, globes and fuses, wheel bearings, replacement gas for the air-conditioning system etc. The maintenance contract simply covers any item on your car that has a wear cycle and will need to be replaced at some point during the car’s lifespan – the items not covered by a service plan.

Service Plan

The name says it all! The plan covers all the costs of having your car serviced as per the stipulations of the manufacturer. This will generally include the labour and replacement cost of air, pollen, fuel and oil filters, cam belts, brake fluid, oil and gearbox oil, spark plugs and coolant. These services will have to be carried out by an authorised service centre or dealer network to guarantee that the terms of the service plan contract are met.


New vehicles carry some sort of warranty, but depending on the brand, they can differ. However, warranties are all restricted in terms of time and mileage. Your car’s warranty is mainly a promise by its manufacturer that the faults in manufacturing or factory defects will be repaired, or replaced, within a specific period of time. Items that are covered by the warranty include: engine, gearbox, electric components, fuel systems, audio systems and sensors. It is important to note that a warranty does not cover all items. These items not covered are: tyres and brake pads, and any damage resulting from user abuse will also not be covered. Damages caused by a driver’s abuse or incorrect use could void a warranty, as well as aftermarket alterations made to the vehicle. Make sure you familiarise yourself with exactly what is covered under the warranty and for how long.

Service and maintenance plans are not all created equally, so it’s important for you to read and understand the plan you are signing up for. Familiarise yourself with what is covered and what isn’t. And remember, if you’re not sure, ask, this could help save you a lot of frustration and expenses later on.


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