Demystifying prepaid maintenance plans
Reliability is often one of the top buying points in people’s minds when it comes to new car shopping. These days, all new cars come with strong warranty plans to offset the cost of unexpected repairs.
However like all things mechanical, in order for that great reputation for reliability to hold true, regular maintenance still needs to be performed.
If your new car does not come with a free scheduled maintenance plan, such as what BMW Canada offers on their new cars, your dealer’s service department may still offer a pre-paid scheduled maintenance plan.
Prepaid maintenance plans make it easy to keep your vehicle running at its best by ensuring it gets the recommended scheduled maintenance as outlined in your vehicle's owner’s manual.
By by pre-paying, you can take advantage of the significant savings compared to a pay-as-you-go approach.
But are these plans right for you? Let’s take a closer look at some examples.
This is not an extended warranty
First of all, it's important to understand that a prepaid maintenance plan is not an extended warranty. Typically, prepaid maintenance plans cover only the regularly scheduled maintenance listed in the vehicle’s service manual. Unless specified, wear-and-tear parts (such as brake pads, rotors, or clutch) are not covered.
If the prepaid maintenance plan you purchase is for 60,000 kilometres and three years, then you have prepaid for just what is listed in the plan's contract — usually comparable to the maintenance listed in the owner's manual.
It can save you money if you drive enough
This convenience and piece of mind factor is one of the key benefits as to why these plans are increasingly popular.
A pre-paid maintenance contract can often be rolled into the monthly payment, spreading fixed maintenance costs across the life of the car loan or lease.
If you expect to reach the mileage that is covered by the prepaid plan, it makes sense to invest up front and pocket the savings over the long haul.
Additionally, by prepaying for all the required maintenance, you never have to worry about paying for an oil change or budgeting for any other maintenance item for the duration of the maintenance plan.
Since the cost of the plan is fixed, you also are sheltered from any parts or labour rate increases.
BMW Service Inclusive and Service Inclusive Plus
All new BMW vehicles purchased from an authorized BMW Retailer in Canada are covered by No-Charge Scheduled Maintenance or four years or 80,000 km, whichever occurs first.
Coverage begins on the date of the first retail sale, or the date the vehicle is first placed in service as a demonstrator or company vehicle, whichever is earlier.
If you plan on keeping your BMW past the four year or 80,000 km mark, BMW’s “Service Inclusive” extension option allows you to prepay for the same scheduled coverage up to eight years or 160,000 kms.
BMW’s “Service Inclusive Plus” kicks it up another notch by also covering wear-and-tear parts, including wiper blades, brakes, and the clutch, up to the same eight years and 160,000 kms.
BMW Canada’s website offers a handy cost calculator for their maintenance plans. Prices will vary depending on the model.
Audi Canada’s Audi Care Plan also covers the manufacturer-required regularly scheduled maintenance services at 25,000 km, 40,000 km, 55,000 km and 70,000 km, or five years from the original vehicle in-service date, whichever comes first.
The plan may be purchased any time within 12 months of the original vehicle in-service date or 20,000 km, whichever comes first, after you purchase your Audi.
All scheduled maintenance services covered under Audi Care must be completed within 5 years of the original in-service date of the vehicle.
Here is an example of the savings that are offered:
On on a 2015 Audi TT Quattro (S-tronic transmission) if the customer chooses to pay for the maintenances separately, the total cost will be $2,314.00+tax versus $945.00+tax (price of the package). The savings will vary based on the model but are still significant ones.
Infiniti Elite Prepaid Maintenance Plan
Infiniti Canada offers two levels of coverage within their Elite Prepaid plan.
The first level includes basic oil and filter changes and tire rotations which you can prepay up to 7 years or 112,000 kms, whichever comes first.
Upgrade to their Platinum pre-paid plan and the benefits are a lot more comprehensive.
In addition to the basic plan’s oil and filter changes, and the Platinum plan also covers wear-and-tear parts, rental car coverage during servicing, and includes a tire road hazard warranty coverage of up to three years or 36,000 kms.
Top Reasons to purchase a prepaid maintenace plan
- Can save you money if you plan on driving the mileage or owning the car for the duration covered by the plan
- No budgetary surprises if parts or labour rates rise
- 100% backed by the manufacturer
- Honoured at authorized dealers in Canada
- Regular schedule maintenance serviced by factory-trained technicians using genuine OEM parts
- Helps to ensure that your vehicle is maintained properly by keeping up with your vehicle's regular maintenance needs
- Depending on the manufacturer, if you sell your vehicle, the remaining prepaid maintenance coverage may be transferred to a new owner, which can add to the resale value of your vehicle
- Zero deductible in most cases
- May be included in your finance or lease contract in most cases