Capped Price Servicing 101

Posted by Motorama in Buyer Advice

Having your car regularly serviced is one of the easiest ways to maximise it's resale value down the track - not to mention keep it eligible for warranty.  However, not all service programs are created equal.

Most car manufacturers these days offer capped price servicing across their range of vehicles – guaranteeing factory supported pricing for the first stages of car ownership.

With some brands offering nearly a decade of capped price servicing; we’ve got a rundown on the major types of servicing now offered by manufacturers.

There are three main capped price servicing schemes;

  • Set pricing - where the manufacturer sets the price beforehand;
  • Menu Pricing - where the price may go up or down depending on variable costs and;
  • Prepaid servicing - which can be written into the cost of your car upfront.

Set pricing

With set price servicing, you know what you’re paying at each of the nominated visits to your local service centre.

The agreed servicing scheme is often for a shorter period of time than other capped price servicing schemes, but covers basically everything that needs to be completed at a service.

Capped price servicing with a set price often equates to a better deal in the long run.  Just remember, if you need a major service after your scheme has ended, you’re back to regular pricing which may be more than you are accustomed to paying under the scheme.  

Most capped price servicing schemes run for a number of years by which time people have upgraded to a different car.

Menu pricing

Servicing with a menu price structure means that a brand can set prices higher or lower depending on variables surrounding parts and accessories for your car.

Let’s say you’re due to get your fluids topped up at your next service; but the price of transmission fluid for your car has changed – the manufacturer can revise the price on the ‘menu’ to reflect the difference.

While menu pricing may seem like you’re at the mercy of the manufacturer, the price changes are often only incremental and menu pricing usually extends for longer than set pricing – as a result the amount you pay remains lower than negotiating the price of parts and servicing by yourself.

Prepaid Services

Another approach to providing capped price servicing (with only a few schemes in Australia) is prepaid servicing. 

It does what it says on the tin – you pay a set amount upfront (which can be written into the price of your car) and it gives you the option to just drive in at your convenience at the service intervals.

The main disadvantage of this type of scheme is that it may lock you into a specific service centre, plus the added cost upfront to your vehicle purchase.

Summary

Some manufacturers combine set price and menu pricing, while others offer just one option; the team at Motorama are experts in our seven brands – all of which offer a capped price servicing scheme – and can help you out with any questions.

The good news with all capped price servicing schemes is that they will cover labour costs and costs of sourcing parts required for regular servicing. They don’t often cover replacement tyres or batteries, damage sustained in accidents or fixing any aftermarket parts or accessories.

And don’t worry if you’re thinking of buying used or a demo – capped price servicing is attached to the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) rather than the owner, so the scheme will usually carry over once the car is in your name.

Be sure to ask your sales or service consultant on your next visit if you have any further queries.