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Auto Service Contracts, Warranties and Preventative Maintenance

If you’re looking to purchase another vehicle, there are a few items to consider before the purchase besides the basics of model selection and negotiation. During the purchase process, you’ll be asked about your choices regarding the warranty and service contracts; however, the preventative maintenance schedule and requirements are often only discovered after the purchase. Below are pre-purchase considerations regarding service contracts, notable warranty specifics, and preventative maintenance requirements.

Service Contracts
Service contracts are usually offered to you at the time you purchase your vehicle. They are considered a separate item and are not inherent with the purchase of your car, as are warranties.  A dealer may offer to sell you a service contract at an additional cost; however, it is not mandatory that you buy it.  It is an option. When you’ve decided on a car you want to buy, check out the warranty that comes with the vehicle very carefully to see if you believe the additional service contract would be of value to you.

Warranty
Most vehicles come with a warranty of some kind.  Warranties are automatically included in the price of your car. However, they vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and from model to model. It is important to carefully read the warranty. It could be a critical decision in whether you purchase one vehicle or another.  Once in the purchase process, make sure you obtain the warranty in writing and make note of the specifics.  The specifics will list not only what is covered and for how long, but also exclusions, limitations and yearly maintenance requirements.

Preventative Maintenance
Your new vehicle will come with an owner’s manual that will state what preventative maintenance is suggested and how often.  Check your manual against your warranty to see what maintenance is required for the warranty to remain valid. For example: Your warranty covers repairs to seals but you haven’t had the car serviced as spelled out in the preventative maintenance section of the vehicle manual.  If the seals begin to leak because you have not had such maintenance performed and on schedule, the warranty may not cover the repair.  Depending on how many seals are leaking, their location in the engine and the amount of leakage, this repair could be quite costly. Keep in mind that all parts of an engine are vital to smooth, trouble-free operation.