CARS.COM — Regular maintenance and repair is an essential part of responsible vehicle ownership — but it can cost you. A 2016 study by AAA found vehicle upkeep alone averaged $792 a year, or 9.3 percent of the annual cost to own a car. Complimentary vehicle maintenance programs are a benefit that aims to take some of the sting out of that, and they’ve proliferated over the past decade. Still, not all free vehicle upkeep offers are created equal: Some programs cover just one or two engine oil changes, while others offer years of vehicle coverage with no cap on visits as long as they’re part of the schedule.
Which brands offer what benefits on their vehicles? Here’s the landscape for the 2018 model year, excluding exotic and ultra-luxury brands. Remember, the particular services covered in a maintenance visit will vary by brand, and some dealers may offer their own programs separate from the automaker. See your dealer for specifics.
Audi and Porsche, both brands under the Volkswagen Group, cover the first maintenance visit for model-year 2018 vehicles, which should span 10,000 miles or one year. They’re the only VW Group brands to do so, as the automaker has phased out the erstwhile three-year program of its namesake brand.
Alfa Romeo covers your inaugural maintenance visit in the first year or 10,000 miles on the 2018 Giulia sedan and 2018 Stelvio SUV. The 4C doesn’t get this program, nor do any cars from sister brands at Alfa’s parent automaker, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
BMW and Mini
BMW and Mini (both brands of BMW Group) cover three years or 36,000 miles of regularly scheduled maintenance on 2018 model-year cars. The program isn’t transferable to subsequent owners, however, so you can’t use it as a selling point if you’re looking to offload a lightly used example.
Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC
GM’s four U.S. brands all offer complimentary maintenance for 2018 models, but the specifics vary. Buy a Chevrolet or GMC and you get the first two maintenance visits over two years or 24,000 miles. Buick provides two years or 24,000 miles with no cap on visits as long as they’re part of regularly scheduled maintenance. Cadillac has the same provision but for an extra year — so, three years or 36,000 miles. Finally, the Cadillac XT5 SUV has its own policy, with regular maintenance covered for an impressive four years or 50,000 miles.
Genesis, Hyundai’s new luxury brand, offers three years or 36,000 miles of complimentary maintenance for 2018 models, with no cap on visits as long as it’s part of the regular maintenance schedule.
Jaguar has the longest provision, with five years or 60,000 miles of complimentary maintenance for 2018 models and no cap on visits as long as they’re part of the regular schedule. That’s as good as it gets.
Lincoln covers the first oil change for new 2018 models. The perk is only for Lincoln vehicles, not any cars from parent company Ford.
Subaru offers two years or 24,000 miles of complimentary maintenance on 2018 models in certain markets to compete where the automaker doesn’t have a big footprint, a spokesman told us. Those include certain parts of many Sun Belt states, from Southern California to South Carolina. In other regions, Subaru does not offer free maintenance.
Toyota and Lexus
Toyota and its Lexus luxury division both offer complimentary maintenance for 2018 models. The automaker’s namesake brand gets two years or 25,000 miles of free maintenance with no cap as long as it’s part of the regular schedule, while Lexus models have the first two visits covered. That’s typically enough to span the first year or 10,000 miles for Lexus owners, though individual cars may have different schedules, the automaker confirmed.
Volvo covers the first three maintenance visits — respectively at 10,000, 20,000 and 30,000 miles — on 2018 models, which should amount to two or three years of coverage depending on your annual mileage.
Read more Cars.com coverage of vehicle maintenance and repair issues here.
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