Factory-backed protection plans vs. third-party service contracts: What you need to know

The differences between factory-backed protection plans and third-party service contracts

When you want to protect your vehicle beyond the warranty that it originally came with, you have a lot of options. When you’re deciding how to protect your investment, it’s helpful to break your options into two major categories: factory-backed protection plans and third-party service contracts.

As the name implies, a factory-backed protection plan is provided by and administered through the original equipment manufacturer. A third-party service contract is provided by and administered through a vendor unrelated to the brand of vehicle you own.

The benefits of a factory-backed plan become immediately evident when you investigate what it actually provides:

Manufacturer backing

Simply put, they know your vehicle. The original equipment manufacturer built the vehicle you’re driving, so naturally, you’d like the same company to stand behind the product and provide you peace of mind years down the road.

Genuine parts

This is one of the major advantages of a factory-backed plan: the parts used are made for your specific brand of vehicle. When you choose a third-party service plan, there’s no guarantee that your car is going to be serviced using factory parts. Those parts can come from anywhere, and the chances are good that they’re coming from the lowest bidder.

Genuine parts used in a factory-backed plan are designed for use on your vehicle, and have been tested and proven by the manufacturer.

Service throughout the dealer network

One “advantage” that third-party service plans tout is the ability to have your vehicle serviced at a network of “authorized repair facilities” throughout the United States. That may sound great initially, but who knows what steps those facilities have to take in order to be “authorized”? Is your car going to be serviced at a dealership that has no experience working on your brand of vehicle? Can any gas station be “authorized” to provide service? It’s tough to tell as a consumer.

With a factory-backed plan, your vehicle will be serviced by dealerships with a franchise agreement with the manufacturer. They know your car, they have factory training, they have access to tools and software specific to your vehicle, and they’re represented from coast-to-coast, no matter where you find yourself.

Certified technicians

Consumers may not realize this, but vehicle manufacturers like Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) heavily invest in training their service staff at all franchised dealerships.

For students who want to become Mopar technicians, FCA operates a program called the Mopar Career Automotive Program (MCAP) that provides future technicians with advanced classroom instruction, along with hands-on experience at the dealership. Students in these programs study for a total of 20 months and earn 80 credits both in classroom instruction and in the shop.

And that’s just a start to supply Mopar dealerships with a constant feed of well-trained incoming technicians. From there, FCA provides training that ramps retailer service technicians from Level 0 (essentially an incoming employee with limited experience) to Level 1 and 2 (complex training on Engine Repair and Performance, Automatic Transmission Service, Driveline, Chassis Systems, Electrical and Body Systems, A/C and Heating, Diesel) to Level 3 (the highest level of training provided by the FCA Performance Institute).

With a third-party service contract, there’s simply no guarantee who’s going to be working on your car, and what kind of training they’ve been provided.

Factory-backed service contracts are simply the better choice for your specific brand of vehicle.

Chrysler Warranty Direct was started to help current owners of Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram brand vehicles find the right extended, factory-backed service contracts at the absolute lowest cost without compromising quality. For more information or to get a free instant quote on your vehicle, visit our website.