Take a look at the big picture of Volkswagen maintenance costs

 

Volkswagens are German cars, but most of them aren't luxury vehicles. At the same time, they cost more to maintain than other cars in their class. So, what's the deal? Well, the average driver spends about $676 per year on Volkswagen maintenance cost, according to RepairPal. That’s higher than many other brands.

We’ll get into the specifics of Volkswagen’s costs and consult Edmunds.com’s True Cost to Own calculator. If the costs below freak you out, don’t worry. You can always shop for extended auto warranties to help out with repairs.

In our research, we’ve reviewed a number of the best extended car warranty companies and settled on a handful of recommendations. Our top picks all have great customer service ratings and industry reputations – compare quotes from each of them below.

 

In This Article:

Volkswagen Free And Prepaid Maintenance

In 2020, Volkswagen shortened its factory warranty to 4 years/50,000 miles from 6 years/72,000 miles. At the same time, it started the Carefree Maintenance program. This program covers the first two services at 10,000 and 20,000 miles for free. After that time is up, drivers then have the opportunity to purchase prepaid maintenance packages from the Volkswagen Care program. Here’s what they look like:

Plan

Details

Volkswagen Care Basic (up to 2019 vehicles)

Provides services at 10,000 and 20,000 miles

Volkswagen Care Extra

Provides service at 30,000 miles

Volkswagen Care Packages 1–5

5 different packages provide services from 30,000 to 80,000 miles

Because Carefree Maintenance covers the first two services for 2020 vehicles, the first prepaid plan, Care Basic, is only applicable to vehicles up to the model year 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.

 


 

How Much Does A Volkswagen Plan Cost?

According to RepairPal, the annual cost of a Volkswagen maintenance plan is $676, or about $56 per month. But with all warranty prices, your cost will vary depending on where you live, the make and model of your vehicle, and the engine type.

General Volkswagen Maintenance Cost

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 Volkswagen vehicles (via RepairPal):

Maintenance Item

Cost

Oil change

$128 to $154

Tire rotation

$58 to $74

Spark plugs

$184 to $252

Cabin air filter

$64 to $108

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. Now, if you own a BMW or Mercedes-Benz, you'd expect this. However, if you see a Volkswagen next to a Nissan in a used car lot, you might think maintenance costs should be the same for either car. We’re not saying that Volkswagen maintenance costs are the most expensive, but a number of other brands are cheaper.

5-Year VW Scheduled Maintenance Cost

Next, we’ll look at five-year maintenance costs for 2016-model VW cars. These are the costs that you would pay for the next five years if you bought a 2016 model today. The True Cost to Own calculator by Edmunds.com assumes that drivers put 15,000 miles on their cars per year. The prices are also dependent on local data. We used a Portland, Oregon zip code, so you might find different prices with your information.

Model

Average Sale Price

5-Year Maintenance Cost

2016 Volkswagen Jetta 1.4 T SE Sedan

$11,508

$7,417

2016 Volkswagen Passat SE 1.8 T

$14,293

$6,298

2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI

$18,328

$6,492

 
 

Here you can clearly see that Volkswagen Jetta maintenance costs are the most expensive, especially when you compare them to the car’s average sale price.

The Volkswagen Passat’s maintenance cost is quite a bit less than the Jetta’s, plus the car costs a bit more.

The VW Golf’s maintenance cost is the lowest compared to its sale price out of these three models.

 


 

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.

Repair 

Cost

Volkswagen Jetta head gasket replacement

$926 to $1,218

Volkswagen Jetta strut bearing replacement

$233 to $285

Volkswagen Golf oil pump replacement

$465 to $643

Volkswagen Golf window switch replacement

$144 to $213

Volkswagen Passat ignition coil replacement

$295 to $638 

Volkswagen Passat timing belt replacement

$698 to $840

 
 

 


 

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).

Volkswagen Model

Annual Repair Costs

Jetta

$609

Beetle

$612

Golf

$630

Passat

$639

Tiguan

$730

CC

$880

 
 

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 even more for the Tiguan, but so does the starting sale price.

Volkswagen hit a foul ball with the CC model. After its introduction in the U.S. in 2011, sales declined each year until the brand discontinued the model in 2019. If you’re thinking about snagging a used one, you might want to think again. The Volkswagen CC is the most expensive to maintain out of the models above even though it’s not the most expensive car on the list.

 


 

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).

Brand

Annual Repair Costs

Honda

$428

Toyota

$441

Subaru

$617

Volkswagen

$676

Volvo

$769

Audi

$987

 
 

While Volkswagen doesn’t have the worst reliability, it’s certainly not the best. Pretty much any Japanese or Korean brand performs better in reliability surveys. There’s a clear winner between Volkswagen maintenance cost vs. Honda, especially. In this comparison, Volvo and Audi’s annual costs are both more expensive than Volkswagen’s maintenance cost. European luxury brands like Mercedes-Benz and BMW will also be more expensive.

 


 

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. Tough situations can come up if you forget about repairs – especially if you have a slightly less reliable car like a Volkswagen.

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 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:

  • 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

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.