What is a Car Maintenance Plan and is it Worth Purchasing One?
What is a car maintenance plan?
A car maintenance plan is a program that outlines a recommended schedule for vehicle checks and light automotive services. Services typically includes multi-point inspections, oil changes, tire rotations, brake inspections, battery inspections and replacement, all aimed at ensuring the vehicle runs smoothly, efficiently, and safely. Maintenance plans are typically offered by the car manufacturer or can be purchased separately from a third-party provider taking the form a “prepaid maintenance” or “prepaid vehicle maintenance plan.”
Are there additional costs involved when its time for service?
Car maintenance plans typically do not require payment or a deductible when a service is performed. Instead, the vehicle owner pays for the plan in advance, covering the cost of scheduled maintenance services for the duration of the plan. This means that when the vehicle is brought in for its scheduled maintenance, there is no additional charge for covered services. Some plans have restrictions on the services that are covered, or the vehicle owner may need to bring the vehicle to a specific repair facility in order to receive the benefits of the plan.
How does a car maintenance plan work?
A schedule of recommended services and inspections will be provided by the entity where the plan was purchased. It will include what services should be performed at each appointment. To use the plan, vehicle owners simply take their car to a participating repair facility where the maintenance services outlined in the plan will be performed. The specifics of a car maintenance plan can vary depending on the provider, so it’s important to carefully review the details before purchasing one.
Education yourself on what a plan includes before purchasing one.
Before purchasing a car maintenance plan, it’s important to consider the following:
- Coverage: What services are covered? Are there any exclusions or limitations?
- Participating repair facilities: Are there enough participating facilities in your area to make the plan convenient to use?
- Cost: What is the cost of the plan, and what is the expected return on investment (ROI) in terms of reduced repair costs over time?
- Length of coverage: How long does the plan last, and is it transferable if you sell your vehicle before the plan expires?
- Consumer protections: What consumer protections are provided by the plan? Is there a money-back guarantee, and what happens if you are dissatisfied with the plan?
- Customer reviews: What do other customers have to say about their experience with the plan and the participating repair facilities?
It’s also a good idea to compare the coverage offered by different maintenance plans to determine which one is the best fit for your needs and budget.
What does an actual car maintenance plan cover?
A car maintenance plan typically covers regular maintenance services and inspections recommended by the vehicle manufacturer, such as:
- Oil and oil filter changes
- Tire rotations
- Brake inspections
- Battery inspection and/or replacements
- Filters replacements (air, fuel, cabin, etc.)
- Multipoint inspections
The specifics of what is covered by a car maintenance plan can vary depending on the provider and the type of vehicle. It’s important to carefully review the details of the plan before purchasing it to ensure that it covers the maintenance tasks that are important to you.
Final thought — Are car maintenance plans worth it?
Whether a car maintenance plan is worth it depends on a number of factors, including the cost of the plan vs having the individual services performed by your local automotive service and repair facility. The vehicle make, age of vehicle, and its condition also becomes a factor.
For newer vehicles, a maintenance plan can help ensure that regular maintenance tasks are performed according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, which can extend the life of the vehicle and potentially prevent more costly repairs down the line. For older vehicles, the cost of the plan may not be justified by the expected benefits, as many of the covered maintenance tasks may have already been performed, and the vehicle may be more likely to need more expensive repairs.
It may be a good idea to carefully review the details of the plan, including the cost and coverage, before making a decision.