If you own a relatively new car, you’ll likely have a warranty in place, perhaps alongside a service or maintenance plan.

But do you know the difference between the various warranties and plans?

Marius Neethling, personal lines underwriting manager at Santam, says it’s important to know what cover you have in place, as this will help you budget for future maintenance costs.

He adds that vehicle owners should at the very least verify what kind of cover they have for their car — and what exactly is covered in the contract.

“Mechanical or electrical breakdowns can prove costly — and they invariably occur when you can least afford it,” he said.

Keeping your car properly maintained and serviced at the correct intervals can help to reduce the unnecessary cost of repairs and unscheduled maintenance.

Neethling goes on to highlight the differences between the various plans on offer.

“Most vehicle manufacturers will provide a warranty on a new vehicle that should cover any manufacturing defects to the original components, mechanical or electrical, for a certain period after the purchase date of your vehicle,” said Neethling.

“Warranties may differ from one manufacturer to another, but on average, the warranty period is usually for three to five years, or for a specific kilometre distance. Warranties usually cover [non-wear-and-tear] repair costs to parts such as the gearbox, cooling system and head gasket and other large parts in the engine.”

A service plan, however, covers the cost (including labour) of routine car services, usually annually or when a particular mileage is reached. Items that are covered in the cost of a routine service include air filters, oil filters, fuel filters, lubricants (such as oil), spark plugs, and coolant. Any other repairs required will be for the vehicle owner’s account.

Maintenance plans, meanwhile, cover the cost of the regular service (including labour) as well as the cost of repairs to parts caused by wear and tear. It provides cover for parts such as brake pads and brake discs, shock absorbers, batteries, windscreen wipers, globes, and fuses.

A maintenance plan is therefore more extensive than a service plan. So if it’s only a minimal additional cost when purchasing a vehicle, it’s usually worth it to upgrade from a service plan to a maintenance plan, advises Neethling.

So, what about a motor plan? Well, Neethling says this combines the benefits of a service plan and maintenance plan in one package, offering the vehicle owner more benefits. In some cases it may also include a warranty.

It is, however, important to note that a warranty, service or maintenance plan will not cover you for any damage to your vehicle in the event of a crash. You would still need to ensure that you have an insurance policy to cover your vehicle against accidental loss or damage.

Article credit: http://motoring.iafrica.com/features/1019729.html