You hear of the terms ‘service plan’ and ‘maintenance plan’ all the time, but what do these terms mean when purchasing a car, and more importantly, what’s included in these plans? We’re going to demystify these two terms and hopefully, by the end of this article, you'll have a better understanding of what they both entail, equipping you to be a savvy consumer.

What is a service plan?

Much like everything else in life, cars also need routine maintenance to remain in tip-top running condition. Most vehicles generally require a service every 15 000km, although some need to be attended to every 10 000km. It all depends on the manufacturer and on whether the vehicle has a diesel or petrol engine. With a valid service plan, you can book your vehicle in for a service without having to worry about the costs involved because your service plan will cover all service-related costs and replacement parts. These include spark plugs, filters, and oil. Anything needing replacement outside of those service-related items won’t be covered by 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 a specific mileage, whichever comes first.


What is a maintenance plan?

This policy is like a service plan, although it does differ slightly and offers you more coverage. With a maintenance plan, you’re covered for your routine services and more. A maintenance plan will cost you more (if you have to purchase the plan separately) but it covers you for mechanical failures as well as wear and tear on specified parts. These may include your clutch and brake pads but it's not limited to these items. It’s important to note 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.


Aftermarket plans

When purchasing a new vehicle, chances are that it will come with one or more of these policies included in the purchase. Older, secondhand cars often won’t have the benefits of a protection plan. The good news is that you can purchase an aftermarket plan for your used vehicle, which is paid for monthly or once off. Once your plan has come to an end, you 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 unforeseen repair costs should anything go wrong. Certain car parts can be very expensive and people don’t always have that kind of money lying around – this is where a service plan or maintenance plan comes in handy.


We hope you learned something new today and or gained a better understanding of what these two commonly used vehicle terms mean and entail. You can now over to and start shopping!


Words: Gugu Masuku