Prospecton, Durban - Toyota has been including a service plan in the price of its cars for many years, starting with the Corolla in 2002, and has always followed the industry standard of limiting both time and distance.

For instance, up to now the Corolla service plan covered you for five years or 90 000km, whichever came first. Service intervals for the Corolla are either one year or 15 000km, so drivers who do more than 18 000km a year would benefit from six free services during the five-year duration of the plan.

But Auntie Annie, who drives less than 15 000km a year, would only get one a year, and would have to carry the cost of the sixth service herself. That’s not fair, says Toyota, so from now on there’s no time limit on Toyota service plans; they cover a given number of services, either at 10 000 or 15 000km, depending on the model, or once a year if you drive less than the given distance.

In the case of our two mythical Corolla drivers, it means that each will get six free services. While Leadfoot Louis will probably go through his in less than five years, Auntie Annie will get a free service every year for six years.

When you take a look at the Hilux bakkie, which needs to go home to Mama once a year or every 10 000km, the difference is even bigger. A 90 000km service plan now specifically includes nine free services - even if it takes you nine years to use them.

And the new conditions have been backdated to cover all Toyotas with active service plans as well. You can also buy extension plans to cover services up to 200 000km or a maximum of 10 years.

Toyota service plans cover the cost of oil and air filters, spark plugs, remote batteries, oil, brake fluid and engine coolant, as well as labour according to the schedule for each model, but do not cover wear items such as fan belts, tyres, or brake pads and linings.

IOL Motoring