New Regulations Mean Car Maintenance Just Got Cheaper in South Africa
What are the New Competition Commission Regulations?
The Competition Commission released new regulations concerning vehicle servicing and car maintenance that will come into effect in July 2021. Car owners can use any service provider and non-original parts to maintain their vehicles, without losing their manufacturer’s warranty, thanks to what’s informally known as the “Right to Repair” regulation.
A warranty that prevents you from having your car serviced at a non-franchised dealership can be a nightmare. Third-party service centres and non-original parts are generally more affordable compared to franchised dealers. Drivers could ignore this requirement and have their manufacturer warranty voided. If you have ever bought a new car, you may be familiar with the experience of over-paying or voiding your warranty when repairs need to be done.
Soon that won’t be a thing anymore. You will be able to use non-franchise workshops when the Right to Repair guidelines come into effect in July 2021.
Why Are the New Regulations About Manufacturer Warranties Important?
Often, when a buyer selects a car, the price of the car and the price of its warranty and service plan are combined. So, instead of offering you different prices for warranties, the dealership often gives you one price and doesn’t mention how much the warranty itself costs. The new competition Commission guidelines are designed to assist here too.
You will now be able to assess the costs of franchised servicing when compared to independent service providers more fairly.
Sometimes, the bundled service plan expires before the warranty, and sometimes their durations are equal. When the service plan expires earlier, the vehicle purchaser may often be unaware. This means there is a gap between when services are covered and when your warranty requires that you get the car repaired at an approved dealership.
In this window period, you need to maintain the warranty at your own cost. Thankfully, the new regulations are here to free car owners from the excessive costs of this loophole. Another solution would be to compare car warranty quotes online and to get your own warranty, separate from what the car dealership is offering you. You can then ensure it covers you for the time period you need.
Does Cheaper Repairs Mean More Part Failures?
Many drivers have been told that fitting non-approved parts can lead to part failures and problems that would not arise if the parts and dealership had been approved. Whether this is true or not, parts failing after being replaced can complicate things. The supplier would then need to claim back from the parts manufacturer.
And if you opt out of buying a service plan, you would need to keep track of the condition of your car and its parts yourself. This will help keep your car in good working condition, but it can also raise the value of your car when you wish to resell it. This means you may need to hunt for good service centres that are adequately equipped to service your particular v vehicle type and model.
The Service Costs Could Still Catch You Off Guard.
If you choose to repair your vehicle independently in South Africa and don’t have a service plan, it could influence your finances. You may need to plan ahead and ensure you have the capital to cover the costs involved. Each time your vehicle needs a service, you would need to ensure you have the money to cover the costs, instead of relying on your service plan to cover the costs.
Even so, the new regulations give drivers more liberty in how they manage their car’s condition. You could save money by choosing more affordable repair centres and still maintain your vehicle’s manufacturer warranty. It’s a good idea to research the repair centre you choose before taking your vehicle there. A repair centre with a bad reputation might not be the best option.
How to Maintain Your Car the Cheaper Way
- Ensure you know the duration and coverage of the manufacturer’s warranty for your vehicle. Some warranties cover specific parts, such as the engine, transmission, and engine air filter.
- If you want to cut out the effort of planning ahead and tracking your own vehicle’s repair needs, you can purchase a service plan or maintenance plan. Many service plans cover maintenance costs such as brakes, belts, oil filters, transmission fluid, plugs, and more.
- If you want to repair your vehicle or replace parts in the cheapest way possible, you can research affordable repair centres in your area. When you speak to the mechanics there, you can ask them about your specific vehicle type and model, common pitfalls, and whether they are equipped to carry out repairs, should the need arise.
- If you want to save money by tracking the maintenance of your vehicle yourself, you can speak to the motor experts at the repair shop to find out when to replace elements in the car. Find out when brake fluid, the oil filter, power elements, spark plugs, brake pads, tires, batteries, and other parts will need attention. You can then keep a record in a notebook or on your mobile phone.
- Aside from setting up a maintenance schedule, you can also collect contact numbers that will be useful in an emergency. Should you end up on the side of the road without fuel, having a contact you can call to assist will be useful. Many insurance companies include roadside assistance in their car insurance plans. You can add this number to your speed dial.
- If you are concerned about your manufacturer warranty cover period, you can purchase an extended warranty from an independent provider. This will cover certain parts and repairs for a longer period of time, saving you more money. The cost of repair should be taken on by the warranty provider, no matter where you repair the vehicle, thanks to the new regulations.
The information in this article is not a substitute for professional advice. It should not be seen as legal, financial or medical advice. At the time of publication, the facts are correct.