Consumer News

Maintenance Plans

Maintenance plans – also commonly referred to as “service plans” – are sold by car dealerships at the time of purchase (leases include a scheduled maintenance plan) and are sometimes offered for free as an incentive to buyers to make a purchase.  Services typically include oil changes, tire rotations, brake inspections, and mechanical checks.

Dealers often inflate the prices of these plans – the idea being that, within the context of a $30,000 car purchase, you’re really not going to flinch at a $900 price tag for a maintenance plan, particularly if that plan is being sold to you under the guise of taking care of, and extending the life of, this costly asset that you’re about to buy.

We recommend checking with your local auto center before you make your purchase to find out what they charge for their services and how frequently they recommend you come in for service. Compare that to the maintenance schedule recommended by the manufacturer, and the cost for service being offered by the dealer.

Once you have that information in hand, you’ll be able to make an informed decision as to whether you want to leave the maintenance of your new (or used) car in the hands of the dealer, or whether you might just be able to manage your maintenance needs with a local garage – and, in the process, save yourself hundreds of dollars over the life of your car.

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