Volkswagen recently shortened its factory warranty but added two free oil changes.
Volkswagen recently reduced its 6-year/72,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty to 4 years/50,000 miles for 2020 and newer models. As a small compensation for the reduced Volkswagen warranty, the manufacturer now includes 2 years/20,000 miles of “Carefree Maintenance.” This perk provides the first two scheduled services at no charge. The first, at 1 year/10,000 miles (whichever comes first), is an oil and oil filter change, plus brake wear inspection. The second, at 2 years/20,000 miles, is an oil change along with a long list of “check” items and a road test.
The reduction in Volkswagen’s warranty coverage is one reason to consider buying an extended auto warranty for added peace of mind. The company offers its own Volkswagen extended warranty plans, and we'll introduce a few of the best extended car warranty companies in this article, as well.
In this article:
- Volkswagen Warranty Details
- Volkswagen’s Roadside Assistance
- Why Did VW Shorten Its Warranty?
- How Volkswagen Covers Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles
- Volkswagen Reliability
- Volkswagen Repair Costs
- Third-Party Extended Warranty Options for A Volkswagen
- Frequently Asked Questions About Volkswagen Warranties
Volkswagen Warranty Details
2020 and newer Volkswagen models are covered by the Volkswagen New Vehicle Limited Warranty. This includes 4 years/50,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper warranty coverage and powertrain coverage and covers any repairs to correct a defect in the manufacturer's material or workmanship.
The Volkswagen warranty is fully transferable if you sell the car to a private party. Other elements of coverage for a 2020-2021 Volkswagen are outlined by the chart below:
|New Vehicle Limited Warranty (includes powertrain)||4 years/50,000 miles|
|Battery||3 years/36,000 miles|
|Paint||3 years/36,000 miles|
|Corrosion perforation||7 years/100,000 miles|
|Roadside assistance||3 years/36,000 miles|
|Key fob battery||1 year/12,000 miles|
|Brake pads/shoes||1 year/12,000 miles|
|Halogen/xenon bulbs||3 years/36,000 miles|
|Other bulbs||1 year/12,000 miles|
|Mechanical adjustments||1 year/12,000 miles|
|Wiper blades||1 year/12,000 miles (6 months/6,000 miles for wear and tear)|
|Wheel and tire balance||At the time of delivery if a problem is present|
Mechanical items that fall under the 2-year/24,000-mile federal emissions warranty are covered by Volkswagen’s 4-year/50,000-mile warranty. Emission warranty coverage for other components is longer in California and the 12 states that follow its emission regulations. In all cases, the catalytic converter, gateway control module, engine control module, fuel pump control module, transmission control module, and onboard diagnostics (OBD II), are covered for 8 years/80,000 miles.
Separately, Volkswagen’s warranty states that it also covers brake discs or drums and pads or shoes for wear and tear. This is unusual among new car warranties and a welcome bonus. Here is the exact language:
“The repair or replacement of wear and tear items, which are defined as brake pads/shoes worn below manufacturer specifications, and brake discs/drums worn below manufacturer specifications, replaced for wear and tear, are covered up to one year or 12,000 miles, whichever occurs first. Wiper blades replaced for wear and tear are covered up to six months or 6,000 miles, whichever occurs first.”
What VW’s Warranty Does Not Cover
There are no surprises on this list. Firstly, tires on 2021 Volkswagen models are covered by warranties from their manufacturers. That’s pretty common among car brands, but it means visiting an authorized dealer of the particular brand of tire, not a VW dealer, if you experience a problem.
The Volkswagen warranty does not cover the following, which involve some common situations:
- Damage caused by the customer’s negligence, misuse, or alteration of the vehicle.
- Damage caused by improper fueling, such as putting diesel into a gas-burning vehicle or vice versa.
- Damage resulting from modifying the vehicle, such as tinkering with the engine computer or installing aftermarket suspension components.
- If you continue to drive after a warning dashboard light illuminates or the temperature gauge signals an overheating condition, Volkswagen may not cover any resulting damage.
Volkswagen’s Roadside Assistance
Volkswagen’s 24-Hour Roadside Assistance Program runs for just 3 years/36,000 miles, not the 4 years/50,000 miles of the warranty period. You could compensate for that gap by purchasing roadside assistance through a service like AAA, or even your own car insurance company. The VW program includes the following services:
- Battery jump start
- Flat tire service
- Emergency fuel service
- Lock-out service (up to $100 per occurrence)
- Extrication/winch service (when performed in conjunction with the tow)
- Emergency towing to nearest Volkswagen dealer or authorized service provider
- Trip interruption coverage up to $100 per day for lodging and meals for a maximum of five days for a total benefit of $500 per occurrence – if a covered repair occurs 100 miles or more from the car owner’s home
Those benefits are also included with the Volkswagen extended warranty plans, plus:
- Rental car reimbursement up to $35 per day for up to 10 days if required
- Trip interruption coverage increases to $200 per day for a maximum of five days
Why Did VW Shorten Its Warranty?
In 2015, Volkswagen was caught cheating on federal emissions tests with its popular diesel-powered models. Not surprisingly, the negative news and publicity hurt the brand (Volkswagen no longer offers diesel models in the U.S.). As a way to restore consumer confidence in its vehicles, Volkswagen doubled its new vehicle warranty, going from 3 years/36,000 miles to 6 years/72,000 miles. But that deal lasted for just two model years, as it turns out.
We like that Volkswagen did not revert to its original 3-year/36,000-mile warranty. And, in fairness, the 2020 Volkswagen warranty length now surpasses that of many mainstream brands and matches the warranty length of many luxury brands. Hyundai and Kia are the mainstream brand champs in this area, with 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper coverage and astounding 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain coverage.
Some Volkswagens Still Have The Longer Warranty
Critically, if you buy a 2019 Volkswagen from dealer stock, you’ll still get the 6-year/72,000-mile warranty, but not the 2 years of free maintenance. Any reference to the longer warranty you see on the Volkswagen website or in other marketing would be for a 2019 model, not a 2020.
If you have a choice between a 2019 Volkswagen and the same 2020 model, we think the longer warranty of the ’19 is a much better deal than the two years of free maintenance included with the ’20.
How Volkswagen Covers Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles
Vehicles sold through Volkswagen’s Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program come with one of three different comprehensive limited warranties, depending on the model and year.
|2018 and newer||1 year/12,000 miles ($50 deductible)|
|2017 and earlier gas, hybrid, and eGolf electric models||2 years/24,000 miles ($50 deductible)|
|2016 and earlier TDI (diesel)||2 years/unlimited miles ($50 deductible), plus the TDI extended emissions warranty with no deductible|
|Roadside assistance||2 years/unlimited miles, with similar benefits to new car warranty roadside assistance|
Volkswagen’s Extended Warranty
Volkswagen dealers offer the brand’s own Drive Easy Vehicle Service Protection plans that are backed by the company and administered by an outside contractor. Three levels of available coverage include:
- Platinum: This is “exclusionary coverage,” which means it includes all mechanical parts of the vehicle except for certain maintenance items such as spark plugs and wiper blades, as well as items such as trim pieces, upholstery, and body panels.
- Gold: This plan encompasses Powertrain coverage, plus front and rear suspension, climate control, fuel and electrical systems, and certain additional hybrid/electric components.
- Powertrain: As the most basic plan, this includes the vehicle’s engine, transmission, all-wheel drive transfer case, drive axles, and certain hybrid/electric components.
Terms for 2018 and newer models go up to 10 years/150,000 miles, while for 2017 and older models, the maximum term is 10 years/120,000 miles. Those periods are from the vehicle’s original in-service date.
In addition to including the same roadside assistance benefits as the new car and CPO warranties, the Volkswagen Vehicle Service Protection plans also include:
- Deductible options of $0, $100 disappearing, $100, or $250 per visit (The “disappearing” option means you don’t pay the deductible if you have the repair work done at the dealer where you bought the car.)
- Transferable for a $50 fee if you sell your vehicle to a private party
- Cancelable at any time after 30 days, for a $50 fee
Since Volkswagen has reduced its warranty to a still-excellent 4 years/50,000 miles, a look at vehicle reliability is essential. According to the 2021 edition of the J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study, which surveys problems that new car buyers have dealt with over the first three years of ownership, Volkswagen ranked 27th among 31 brands. It was lower than the industry average but ahead of Chrysler, Jaguar, and Land Rover but behind other key rivals.
Subscribers to Consumer Reports can check reliability information for individual VW models. For the 2017 Golf, for example, Consumer Reports rated “engine, minor” at three on a scale of five (five being best). Body integrity (rattles, squeaks, etc.) scored at only one on the same scale.
Volkswagen Repair Costs
RepairPal ranked Volkswagen’s overall reliability at slightly above average for the entire brand. Nevertheless, some repairs can be expensive. Here are a few samples:
|2017 Volkswagen Golf||Replace water pump||$613 to $987|
|2017 Volkswagen Golf||Replace air conditioner compressor||$942 to $1,724|
|2017 Volkswagen Passat||Replace alternator||$1,166 to $1,226|
|2017 Volkswagen Passat||Replace cylinder head gasket||$1,334 to $2,077|
Third-Party Extended Warranty Options for A Volkswagen
If you are considering a new Volkswagen, it pays to do some comparison shopping for extended warranties. The Volkswagen offering is strong, but third-party extended warranties can provide better value and may also offer more plan choices. Also, with a third-party extended warranty, you can have covered repairs performed at any of about 30,000 facilities across the country. In comparison, Volkswagen has about 650 dealers in the U.S.
Based on our research, Endurance, CarShield, and CARCHEX are the best extended warranty companies for Volkswagens.
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.
Read our guides to other warranty providers:
- Mini Cooper Warranty Review
- Infiniti Warranty Review
- Nissan Factory Warranty Review
- Ford CPO Warranty Review
- GMC Warranty Review
- Chevy Warranty Review
- Mazda’s Certified Pre-Owned Program
- Is Lincoln’s Warranty Long Enough?
- Honda’s Certified Pre-Owned Program