If you are driving much less as a result of government lockdowns, make sure to keep an eye on your car’s required service dates.
This is advice from the National Automobile Dealers’ Association (NADA), which stated that many automotive brands in South Africa provide customers with service plans that have both mileage and time-based service intervals.
“Many South African drivers simply aren’t accumulating the same distances as they were pre-COVID-19,” said Mark Dommisse, Chairperson of NADA.
This has led to service routines being changed, as mileage was often the determining factor for when a vehicle needed to be taken in by its owner.
As a result, NADA said there have been several instances where a car owner has missed their service’s time-based deadline from a dealership.
“In many of these cases it’s because vehicle owners are driving less and they aren’t aware that service schedules are based on a combination of distance and time allowances.”
“Where possible, these dealers and respective OEMs will work with customers to reach amenable solutions, but it’s important for owners to know that the responsibility for servicing their vehicles at the right time lies with them.”
What happens next
If you have missed a required service, there can be penalties implemented against you.
“Various brands will handle lapse situations differently, but generally speaking, a failure to have your vehicle serviced on time can make warranties and/or service plans immediately voidable,” said Dommisse.
“In severe cases a completely voided warranty can have a devastating impact on the value of your asset.”
“If your car is financed there may be further implications, as vehicle maintenance forms part of the loan terms agreed with your bank.”
In certain cases, the carmaker may allow a bit of leeway in a missed service date. A vehicle owner may also be able to have these penalties removed by ensuring their car goes through a full vehicle inspection from the carmaker.
These scenarios should not be relied upon, however.
Dommisse went on to state that car owners must also take note of the specific service intervals required for their vehicle.
Not all vehicles have the same service intervals, and it is a misconception to think that the “default” 15,000km or one-year limit applies unilaterally.
“I recommend familiarising yourself with your particular vehicle’s service schedule, either by looking in your owner’s manual or service booklet, or by calling your nearest franchise dealership for information.”