New cars have gotten more reliable and require less routine maintenance, but they still require regular care. Keeping up with a new car’s scheduled maintenance is important for reliable and safe operation — and to avoid jeopardizing warranty coverage for any problems that show up.
Still, a lot of owners fall behind. A 2015 AAA survey found that 35% of drivers have skipped or delayed recommended service. And with the inflation these days, it’s not getting any cheaper to keep up, either, even if you know you’re risking bigger expenses down the road.
But some automakers make it easier by offering buyers free scheduled maintenance. The freebies are a perk for buyers and a way for automakers and dealers to establish a profitable ongoing relationship. But the items and length of coverage vary widely — from just the first visit (typically an oil change and inspection, with maybe a tire rotation) to as much as five years of scheduled care. Some automakers limit the free maintenance plans to specific models or trim levels, or offer them only in specific markets. And such offers can change at any time. As with all aspects of an auto purchase, you need to read the fine print.
Note that these programs are separate from the prepaid service plans that some automakers offer when you buy the car. They’re also separate from the free service plans offered by some dealers that are good only at that dealer.
Here are vehicle brands offering retail buyers some level of complimentary scheduled maintenance for the 2022 model year (excluding exotic and high-end niche brands). Note that for the policies that impose mileage or time limits, expiration might be whichever limit comes first.
Alfa provides the first scheduled service free within the first year or 10,000 miles for the Giulia sedan and Stelvio SUV.
BMW provides regularly scheduled maintenance for three years or 36,000 miles, and for the 2022 model year, the benefit now is transferable to later owners if the limits have yet to be met.
BMW Group’s Mini division also provides regularly scheduled maintenance for three years or 36,000 miles.
Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC
All four GM brands provide new 2022 vehicles with the first scheduled maintenance visit free within the first year.
Ford and its luxury brand Lincoln have app-based retail loyalty plans that offer rewards points for a vehicle purchase (new or certified pre-owned), as well as for purchases of other goods and services from the company and its dealerships. The initial purchase points for a Ford-brand vehicle vary by powertrain (42,000 for gas, 75,000 for diesel and 22,000 for the electric Mach-E) and for Lincoln by trim level. Buyers can choose to use their points at participating dealers to “buy” free maintenance rather than for other purchases. The 42,000 points that come with a new Ford gasoline-powered vehicle would, for example, generally cover three scheduled maintenance visits.
Meanwhile, Lincoln provides separate benefits to buyers of its higher-tier Black Label trim levels. Those benefits include four complimentary scheduled service visits within four years or 50,000 miles.
Hyundai and its premium Genesis brand provide three years or 36,000 miles of free scheduled maintenance. An added perk for Genesis vehicles is a service valet to pick up and drop off the vehicle.
By far the leading brand for free scheduled maintenance is Jaguar, which provides it for five years or 60,000 miles.
All Jeep vehicles have three years of complimentary membership in the Jeep Wave loyalty program. Among the program benefits are three free oil changes and tire rotations during the 36 months of ownership.
Toyota provides two years or 25,000 miles of complimentary scheduled maintenance.
Lexus provides two complimentary scheduled maintenance visits — one at six months or 5,000 miles and again at one year or 10,000 miles.
Volkswagen provides complimentary scheduled maintenance for two years or 20,000 miles.
The automaker’s Porsche brand, meanwhile, provides the first scheduled maintenance visit — generally due at one year or 10,000 miles — for free, excluding battery-electric vehicles.
Most trim levels of Ram’s pickup trucks sold in Texas, the largest U.S. pickup market, include two years of Ram Care membership and service. Among benefits are four free oil changes and tire rotations over the first 24 months.
Subaru has a Maintain the Love program of complimentary scheduled maintenance for two years or 24,000 miles, but it’s offered only for buyers in select markets, mostly in Sun Belt states (check with local dealers), to be more competitive in areas where Subaru’s all-wheel-drive cachet might pose less of a draw.
Volvo provides complimentary scheduled maintenance for three years or 36,000 miles.
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