A recent study shows that car owners are likely to go back to their dealerships when they need service, including brake work and replacement of auto batteries, for their car when they have prepaid or complimentary service plans, even if the plans have expired.

The survey by DMEautomotive found that automotive plans are a good way to keep customers coming back for service, but it is also crucial that the experience at the service center is positive, in order to keep customers coming back.

"Our survey provides fresh evidence that both prepaid and OEM-provided maintenance plans have a powerful impact on dealer service retention," said Doug Van Sach, vice president of strategy & analytics at DMEautomotive. "With nearly 3 in 5 consumers reporting they are likely to continue servicing at the dealership after their plan expires - compared to average dealer post-warranty retention rates of 22 percent to 40 percent (depending on vehicle make and age) - these programs can more than double service business that typically bleeds to the aftermarket, while also having a profound impact on retaining the young, traditionally dealer-averse, service shopper's business."

The study findings showed that 22 percent of Americans have a maintenance plan, 15 percent have a complimentary plan and 7 percent have a PPM dealer plan.

More than 65 percent of respondents said they use their plan for all scheduled maintenance, but interestingly, 25 percent said they only used their plans for some of their services, even though the cost was covered. This supports the lack of convenience associated with dealership service centers.