Everything you need to know about car maintenance plans

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Since the Competition Commission guidelines came into effect on July 1, consumers can now choose where they want their new car to be serviced.
Ford South Africa is the latest automaker to commit to the new automotive aftermarket guidelines, also known as the “Right to Repair”.
As of November 1, Ford Protect service and maintenance plans will be unbundled from the purchase price of the vehicle and will be available as an additional cost option.
So essentially, in the spirit of the guidelines, vehicle retailers are now removing contract terms, which bind consumers to non-competitive contracts.
Your warranty is protected even if you choose to have your car repaired elsewhere and auto dealers are required to provide you with separate prices for your vehicle and for any value-added products they may offer, such as service plans and maintenance.
But if you still don’t understand the difference between a service plan, maintenance plan, and a manufacturer’s warranty, you need to keep reading.
Kate Elliott, CEO of Right to Repair South Africa, an organization specially formed to help promote compliance and protect consumer interests, explained.

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What is a guarantee?
A warranty is provided by the automaker and provides assurance that the manufacturer will repair or replace any parts that fail prematurely (when no external factor caused the failure, such as an accident).
New cars usually come with a standard warranty, which includes an average comprehensive warranty of four years or 120,000 km, roadside assistance for three years or unlimited mileage, and a five-year or unlimited mileage corrosion warranty, although the The exact extent of the warranty varies from manufacturer to manufacturer.
Previously, manufacturers would void your warranty simply for taking your vehicle to an Independent Service Provider (ISP) for service. Now, with the guidelines, the manufacturer is not allowed to void a warranty if the vehicle has been properly maintained by an ISP that meets the manufacturer’s specifications.
It is important to note that you cannot take your vehicle to an ISP for warranty repairs.
Warranty parts must be repaired by the vehicle manufacturer. Examples of components that may be covered by warranty include the engine (including turbochargers), fuel system and fuel pump, driveshafts and axles, and brake components.

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What about a service plan?
A maintenance plan covers the maintenance parts and labor used in accordance with an automotive manufacturer’s (OEM) maintenance schedule.
This includes parts, which are usually replaced during regular maintenance, such as oils, filters, spark plugs, and air filters.
As a consumer, you have the right, when you buy your car, to get a separate service plan with details of what will be looked at at each service and the average price of the parts to be changed or checked.
This is reiterated by Neale Hill, President of Ford Motor Company Africa, who said: “We are committed to providing the best products, services and customer experiences and we are focused on treating every customer as part of the Ford family. Ford is well aware of the growing desire of consumers and their right to choose where they want to service, maintain or repair their vehicles.
The maintenance plans exclude the maintenance which may be necessary as a result of modifications made to the car, or which may be necessary due to accidents, abuse or misuse, non-use of the car. car as stipulated in the vehicle maintenance book or failure to comply with the maintenance program. In the past, service plans were sold as part of the total price of a vehicle, and it was not possible to choose not to buy one.
This has now changed. The manufacturer should now provide you with separate prices for the vehicle and the service plan and give you the option to opt out of a service plan if you prefer to pay for your services on an ad hoc basis with a service provider of your choice.
However, if you have chosen to purchase a service plan, you must bring your vehicle to the dealership for your services. For example, if you choose to have your vehicle repaired outside of the Ford dealer network while you have a Ford Protect service plan. In this case, Ford is not obligated to pay the ISP for the services rendered. The cost of the ISP will be for your own account.

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What is a maintenance plan?
Labor costs are generally covered by this plan. This means that while the repair or part is typically not included in regular service, it may be covered in the maintenance plan, including items like new wiper blades.
What exactly is covered, however, varies from manufacturer to manufacturer and the customer should check what items are covered under the plan with the automaker where they purchased the car.
Top tips from Right to Repair:
• You have the right to buy a new vehicle without any value added products, such as service or maintenance plans. Make sure these are separated so that you can check the competitive costs.
• Make sure you know the difference between the three.
• Repair warranty parts only with OEM.
• An OEM cannot void your warranty if you properly repair your car from an independent service provider that meets the manufacturer’s specifications.
• Report any abuse to the Automotive Industry Ombudsman (MIOSA) or directly to the Competition Commission.

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