When you put your car in to the mechanics – especially if it’s outside of its regular scheduled service – extra maintenance items on the car can shock you.

Luckily, there’s a way to pay for your service, and gets you back on the road faster - interest free.

Capped price servicing programs are good, and they help to customers budget for their next scheduled service. But the capped price doesn’t cover everything, and regular maintenance items like tyres and brake pads need to be serviced outside of the scheduled service times. So how can you avoid blowing out your bank account when you come in to change your tyres or if you have to service your car suddenly, out of its schedule?

When your service advisor gives you your quote, the cost may shock you if you’ve only budgeted for a certain amount. For example, if you’ve come in for your regular service, and the advisor notices that your tyres are getting a little old and tells you that you might need to replace them pretty soon. If you’ve only got a few hundred dollars on your card, you don’t have the money to change to four new tyres – so you put it off at this service and plan to get them later. Not only are you risking an accident with tyres that aren’t giving you the best grip or stopping power on the road, you’re going to have to replace your tyres at some point – so why not do it when you’re servicing the rest of your car? Then you'll know roughly when you’re due to get new tyres again.

Motorama has signed up with Openpay to offer a way of getting what you need for your car – without putting a dent into your savings or onto the credit card. Openpay is an interest free payment system to split your service invoice into manageable payments across three, six or nine months. Paying weekly or fortnightly, Openpay gives you the option to pay off all those items you’ve needed to get done on your car – but could never find the cash for.

How does it work?

When you get your quote, let’s say you need a set of new tyres for $900. On top of your regular service, the total might come to $1200. Now, not a lot of people just have that kind of cash to spare on car servicing, so instead of putting it off until you’ve saved up (and more things may be affected on your car), you can set up a payment plan through the Openpay system to pay off the balance over three-, six- or nine-months.

The best thing is, unlike putting the bill on your credit card, Openpay is interest free for the entire period of your plan.

To set up your Openpay payment plan, you do have to pay a percentage of the total amount and an establishment fee. Then your credit card or Mastercard/Visa debit card that you used to set up your account will be charged at every repayment, unless you arrange an alternate payment method with Openpay. If your account still can’t process the payment on the due date, you’ll receive a small dishonour fee from Openpay, alongside any charges from your bank.

The fine print

When you sign up for Openpay, your service advisor will have to put a check on your credit file. This is just to see if you have had or are having any problems repaying bills or loans, and to let other lenders know that you have an obligation to pay Openpay – and once you pay it off, how successful you’ve been at staying on top of your repayments. If you are signing up for the first time, a one-off establishment fee applies, and depending on what payment frequency you sign up for, there is a small processing fee added to each payment. Once you’ve signed up, you’ll receive an email to confirm the payment schedule and plan details.

There are no early exit fees, however, you will have to pay the processing fee as a lump sum. For example, if you’re down to your last three weekly instalments and just want to pay it off early – you can pay the final three amounts, plus the processing fees that are left over. You can redraw on any money that you’ve paid back, or increase your credit line to carry out any further work – but a fee applies each time you do this.

To find out more, speak to your service advisor next time you come in for a service – maybe you’ll decide its for you, and get those little jobs done to make your car safer, smoother and nicer to drive.