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What are the benefits of having a service plan?

Service plans are a great way of spreading the cost of servicing across the year. But should you opt for one?

A service plan is basically several services for your car bundled up into one package, then sold at a discount price. They’re normally offered when you buy a new car, as a way for the dealer to keep your business in-house. If you’re lucky, a free service pack is sometimes offered as an incentive to buy. But are they worth purchasing otherwise?

What do you get when you buy a service plan?

If you’ve purchased a service plan, it will probably consist of between three and five services, available at the intervals your car requires. They will generally cover your service as well as labour and some basic parts such as fluids and spark plugs. With a new car, you’ll also have a warranty; combine that with the service pack and, for the first few years at least, you shouldn’t have to pay for any upkeep or issues with the car. There are some exceptions, of course, notably that wear-and-tear parts – brake pads and tyres, for example – aren’t included. However, it’s pretty unlikely that you’ll develop these problems with a new car in the first few years.

Currently, service plans are offered through the manufacturer or dealership, but it’s likely that they will start to appear as standalone products that you can buy online as the market develops. So, if you’ve got a car that’s a few years old, and want to spread out the cost, then keep your eyes peeled online.

The benefits for you

With a service plan, you’ve got maintenance covered. Plus, when buying a new car, the cost will likely be spread out over the duration of your finance agreement – a bit like an optional extra. The main benefit is that it means your car has a full dealer service history, helping preserve its resale value, if you bought the car new.

The benefits for the dealer

Obviously there are a few benefits for the dealership selling you the service plan, too. For a start, they get to keep in touch with you and preserve the future value of one of their products. They’ll also aim to offer you deals in the future, and keep their own mechanics busy.

Should I get a service plan?

If you’re somebody who likes to ‘plan’ ahead and spread costs out over time, it certainly makes sense. If you’re buying a brand new car, we’d recommend doing a deal and getting a service plan thrown in as part of the final offer. That way, you’ll get the benefits without having to pay for them.

Just like with your phone, gas and electricity bills, service plans offer a great way to spread the cost. It takes the stress out of the those big one-off payments that none of us like.