Tuesday, 13 June 2017


Warranties and plans

If ever there was a case for reading the fine print, it's your vehicle warranty and maintenance plan. Yet, a recent MotorHappy survey revealed that 62% of all owners don't have a clue what is covered. The shock, horror - even tears - come later.

I've always thought of warranties as a "new car" thing. It's built into the purchase price and the finance plan. One tends to be so excited about driving out the showroom that the warranty agreement is just another piece of paper to sign.

It's a lot more complicated than that. These days you can extend the warranty or even invest in one when you buy a used car - if you are buying from a dealer it will most likely be built into the purchase price but you can get a monthly plan.

The average is about R250 pm to R380 pm but I did learn that, if you can afford it, an upfront payment costs less in the long run.

What's 'broken'?
Melisa at The Engine Room (Motorite) shared that the official definition of 'broken' is,
“Components which are physically and forcibly separated into pieces or cracked or split."

Demand proof
Mark at Warranty Solutions says when buying second hand vehicle always insist on proof that the manufacturer's service requirements have been met. Don't just take the seller's word for it, insist on proof. No validation, no warranty.

The next step is to check what the warranty covers, you may want to upgrade.  The terms and conditions are incredibly important. Here's one that blew my mind: although your policy may stipulate that it covers the engine up to R14 000, the gear box up to R9 000, and the differential up to R9 000. If they all go at the same time it is considered one claim so don't expect R32 000. Only the singe maximum figure is paid out ie. R14 000.

Service items, such as an oil change and wear and tear stuff like windscreen wipers, oil filters and tyres will not be found in a warranty plan even of you check it with a magnifying glass.

Why bother?

If you deal with an established warranty company that offers an option that suits your needs and pocket without any hidden agendas, expect great peace of mind. if your engine light flashes expensive parts won’t leave you broke.

The whole objective is to go through those options and ask questions before you decide. Do bear in mind, the person recommending the warranty option probably earns commission. That's okay but it does mean you need to take some responsibility - make an educated choice not a hasty guess driven by wishful thinking.

By law, dealers are supposed to offer you a variety of warranty products but some don't, so it's not a bad idea to contact the Motor Traders Organisation (MTO) for a list of reputable companies to deal with.

Don't just kick the tyres

By the way Noel De Robillard, MTO's marketing manager, shares Mark's mantra - read the fine print. He also says, "The basic rules are the same whether you buy from a private owner or a dealer: Get a full service history, contact the previous owner for a background history, get an independent diagnostic test done and get the car checked for any signs of a major accident. If the car is young enough, get a maintenance plan that includes a warranty."

What's the difference?
A car maintenance plan has all the elements of a service plan, includes a warranty against mechanical failures and it covers wear and tear items i.e. it's motor cover on steroids. 

Confession time

My car is just out of its original warranty and I've been having serious discussions about using our village backyard mechanic. After my research for this blog I'm sooo relieved I had the last service at a dealer. I will certainly be shopping for a monthly plan.


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