Prepaid car maintenance plans are one of the most common items a dealership finance and insurance manager will offer you when you buy a new car. The sales pitch promises the advantage of "locking in" maintenance prices at today's rates for a little extra amount added to your monthly payment. Then, whenever you need scheduled maintenance, just roll in, get the service done, and roll out without ever opening your wallet.
The pitch sounds tempting. But what exactly do these plans cover? And are they a smart use of your money?
IDENTIFY THE TYPE OF PLAN
There are two types of prepaid maintenance: one offered by the automaker (or a company it has approved) and another from the dealership.