Most car manufactures now offer some form of capped price servicing when you purchase a new car from your dealer. The top ten manufactures all now offer these types of services. But what are they?
Capped price servicing is a broad industry term referring to a type of servicing program offered by a manufacturer, in which the maximum cost of each scheduled service is revealed ahead of time.
The details vary, but the basic structure remains the same: A manufacturer publishes a servicing program that covers a pre-determined portion of your ownership period, be it three, six or five years, or even the life of your vehicle.
Your new car will arrive with a servicing schedule (the maximum amount of time recommended between servicing) which is a number of months or a kilometre reading, whichever comes first. That number varies from brand to brand. An example is a service is required at 12 month/15,000km and each manufacture has their own schedule.
These programs can be known as capped price servicing, fixed price servicing or menu priced servicing and despite having this you really need to understand the fine print and what you get. Some capped services don’t include key fluids, like brake fluid, coolant or oil, while others are valid only for the warranty period. Manufacturers reserve the right to change the price of some parts of their programs, be it the labour rate or the cost of things like oil and coolant. So it’s best to check the current price before you book your car in.
While knowing what the service is going to cost is great because you can plan for it and make sure you have the money there to ensure you don’t void your warranty. However, the dealer will do a general check over the entire car. This is for your safety and the vehicles longevity and to make sure nothing is dangerous.
The most common non-safety items for what is known as ‘upsell’ are pollen (A/C) filters, wiper blades, tyre rotate and/or balance. A trusted dealer will not try to sell you anything you don’t need but the service advisor normally make bonus on these upsell items and they have a minimum number they need to sell per month.
Unless it is a safety/roadworthy item like brake pads, tyres, bulbs or something along those lines you do not need to do it then and there. You also don’t need to do the roadworthy items as it is your choice but however dealers will state on your invoice the issue and in their opinion it is unsafe so they aren’t liable.
A pollen filter can set you back upwards of $90 while wiper blades can be upwards of $35. These are items not included in a capped service. So while your capped price might be $300 your bill could be much higher for items that aren’t included.
The best thing to do is speak with your service advisor either at drop off of when they call you so you know your options. It is a retail situation and while the staff does want a sale, they also want you to be happy, return and most importantly be safe.