Volkswagen Free And Prepaid Maintenance Plans
All new Volkswagens come with 2 years or 20,000 miles of free scheduled maintenance under the Carefree Maintenance program. This includes the first and second services at 10,000 miles and 20,000 miles.
The Carefree Maintenance program is relatively new as it began in 2020. Up until the model year 2019, new Volkswagens did not come with free maintenance. However, the Volkswagen warranty was 6 years/72,000 miles. New cars from 2020 and after come with a 4-year/50,000-mile warranty, instead.
Volkswagen Prepaid Maintenance
Once the 2-year/20,000-mile Carefree Maintenance program is over, drivers have the opportunity to purchase prepaid maintenance packages from the Volkswagen Care program. Here’s what they look like:
Because Carefree Maintenance covers the first two services for vehicles beginning in 2020, the first prepaid plan, Care Basic, is only applicable to vehicle model years 2017, 2018, and 2019.
The basic idea behind prepaid maintenance is you can save a little bit of money on dealership services by paying for them in advance. With Volkswagen, you might want to go to the dealer for maintenance, but you can also find competent European auto shops that could do the work for less. You’ll just have to decide if paying for maintenance ahead of time is worth it for the convenience.
Volkswagen recommends different maintenance items at different intervals. Below is an example maintenance schedule, but consult the VW website or your owner’s manual for a more accurate schedule.
How Much Does Volkswagen Maintenance Cost?
According to RepairPal, the annual Volkswagen maintenance cost is $676, or about $56 per month. But with all repair prices, your cost will vary depending on where you live, the make and model of your vehicle, and the engine type.
Standard maintenance items are pretty similar across different car brands. They include things like changing the oil, rotating the tires, and replacing things that wear out on a regular basis. Below are some common maintenance costs that you can find with a Volkswagen Jetta (via RepairPal):
With Volkswagen’s free maintenance program, items like oil changes and air filters are covered during the first two years of ownership. (Spark plugs last much longer than two years, so they aren’t covered under free maintenance).
One thing that contributes to Volkswagen’s maintenance cost is the company often uses parts that require specialized tools to remove. Not every auto shop that you pass on the street could work on a Volkswagen, or at least in a timely and skilled manner. As with any kind of specialization in the marketplace, you’re paying for skills and tools that are beyond what most mass-market cars require.
In the past, Volkswagen wasn’t necessarily known for having cheap maintenance costs. However, many of the 2021 models have beat out similar models by Asian brands according to a study by Vincentric. Here’s what the study found.
- The 2021 Jetta ranks for lowest cost of maintenance compared to other compact sedans.
- The 2021 Passat and Arteon have lower maintenance costs than similar midsize sedans by Toyota, Honda, or Hyundai.
- The 2021 Atlas Cross Sport has the lowest maintenance costs of the midsize SUV category.
- The 2021 Tiguan has lower maintenance costs than other compact SUVs by Honda, Toyota, and Subaru.
From this study, it’s clear Volkswagen has made improvements in its service schedule and maintenance requirements.
Not everyone buys a new car, so what would you pay if you bought a used Volkswagen outside of the free maintenance window? Going from RepairPal’s average annual cost, you may pay $3,400 over a 5-year period. This number includes both scheduled maintenance and unscheduled repairs.
Again, maintenance costs can vary widely depending on how you drive your vehicle. If you keep your car well-maintained, you may pay less than that. On the other hand, if you regularly push your Golf GTI to the limit, you may end up putting more money into it over that period.
Volkswagen Repair Costs
Repair costs are really where things can start to get tricky. The frequency and severity of repairs are, of course, dependent upon how you drive and how you maintain your vehicle. But even the most conservative driver is going to come across expensive repairs now and then. Here are a few examples, with data from RepairPal.
You’ll start to experience more repairs after a Volkswagen ages beyond 100,000 miles. Our team asked the Director of Marketing at Endurance Warranty, Jessica Campbell, what the most common repairs are on older vehicles. Here’s what she said:
“Transmissions are the most common repair claim, followed by water pumps. Repair costs can vary widely depending on several factors, including vehicle type, model, age, and the complexity of the individual repair.”
Volkswagen Maintenance Costs Comparison By Model
Volkswagen has a particular reputation as a brand, but it’s also important to look a little deeper. Each model will have its own average repair costs – even down to the specific year and exact car. Now, we won’t get that detailed, but let’s look at the average cost of maintenance and repairs by model (data from RepairPal).
We can see that the Jetta, Golf, Beetle, and Passat have generally similar annual repair costs. The costs are still higher than many other brands at this level. Repair costs go up more for the Tiguan, but so does the starting sale price. These numbers are based on 2019 data and don’t take free maintenance into account.
Comparing Volkswagen Maintenance Cost To Other Brands
There are about 30 different auto manufacturers on the market in the U.S. If you’re looking for a new car, you’re probably not considering all 30, but it’s definitely good to look at a few different brands. To that end, let’s see how Volkswagen maintenance costs stack up against different car maintenance costs by brand (data from RepairPal).
Where To Take Your Volkswagen For Repairs
We mentioned above that you can’t take your Volkswagen to any old shop. So, where can you take it? You have two choices: the dealer or a European/import auto shop. The main thing is to find a shop that has experience with Volkswagens. A quick search online for “Volkswagen repair” will show you a number of shops in your area. Read reviews and also look for certifications as you search.
How Do Extended Warranties Help With Costs?
When you’re shopping for a car, it’s easy to just look at the sticker price and forget about everything else that comes along with it.
Extended service contracts, commonly called extended warranties, can help with breakdown and repair costs. You can usually choose the level of coverage you want – whether you want to cover the car bumper to bumper, just the powertrain, or a level in between.
For example, instead of paying $1,200 for a head gasket replacement on your Jetta, you could just pay a small deductible – usually $0 to $100. Some drivers are able to save for those types of repairs, but others aren’t. An extended car warranty for a Volkswagen can help you keep your monthly budget even when repairs like these come up.
Our team launched a survey in December 2023 to better understand vehicle owners’ experiences with extended warranties from vehicle manufacturers. When we polled Volkswagen drivers, they reported paying between $1,000 and $3,000 for varying levels of coverage. About 80 percent of drivers were satisfied with their coverage, and 66 percent would purchase extended coverage from Volkswagen again.
One driver with a VW Tiguan with between 50,000 and 100,000 miles reported being very satisfied with his plan. “I had [an] engine-related issue with my vehicle and needed to have it repaired immediately,” he said. “The warranty provider [towed] my vehicle to the dealership and covered all necessary repairs.”
Our Top Picks For Extended Warranties
There are dozens of companies to choose from, but there are definitely a few that rise to the top of the list. Here are a few things that you can find with the top providers:
- A wide range of plans that can cover vehicles up to 250,000 miles
- Extra perks like roadside assistance, trip interruption, and rental car benefits
- Coverage that can be added on at any time
- Repair shop paid directly by the warranty company
- Choice of any certified repair shop – including dealerships
We surveyed 1,000 extended warranty customers in 2023 from across the country and asked them what matters most when they choose a warranty. Overall, 53 percent said coverage was the most important factor. These respondents said comprehensive coverage, high mileage limits, and extra perks are also important.
Signing a warranty contract is a big decision, and the best companies will walk you through it slowly and give you time to ask questions. Find out what plans are available to you and compare quotes from our recommended providers below.
Bottom Line On Volkswagen Maintenance Costs
Volkswagen maintenance costs are about average for the industry. Volkswagen covers maintenance for the first two years on new vehicles, but repairs can get expensive as vehicles age. Compare Volkswagen’s extended warranty with third-party companies to find the best option.
In an effort to provide accurate and unbiased information to consumers, our expert review team collects data from dozens of extended auto warranty companies to formulate rankings of the best providers. Companies receive a score in each of the following categories, as well as an overall weighted score out of 5.0 stars.
- Industry Standing: Warranty providers with a history of strong business practices and endorsements from experts receive the highest scores in this category.
- Coverage: This rating is based on types of extended warranty plans available, coverage terms, and added benefits like roadside assistance.
- Cost: Our research team reviews sample quotes for a variety of plans and vehicles. Companies with lower prices per year of coverage receive the best scores.
- Transparency: This score takes into account contract transparency and the availability of a money-back guarantee.
- Customer Service: We comb through customer reviews and perform our own shopper analysis to get a sense of the responsiveness and helpfulness of each warranty company.
*Data accurate at time of publication.