NEWS

Which Used Cars Still Have Free Maintenance?

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If you’re shopping for a used car, reliability and maintenance are likely priorities. Some automakers furnish complimentary maintenance programs that last anywhere from one to five years from when the car was new, which means some of those programs might still be in effect when you buy the car secondhand.

Related: Which New Cars Have Free Maintenance?

Read the fine print, though: Many programs limit the benefits to only the first owner, with some providing transferability within the owner’s family. Starting with the 2022 model year, BMW will allow transferability to subsequent owners regardless of relationship, an apparent reinstatement on a policy the automaker reportedly offered before mid-2014. That appears to be rare, though. Many other complimentary maintenance programs we’ve surveyed limit their benefits to the original owner.

With those caveats, here’s the lay of the land over the past five (2017-21) model years, excluding niche or exotic brands:

Alfa Romeo

For the entire 2017-21 span, Alfa Romeo covered the inaugural maintenance visit in the first year or 10,000 miles on the Giulia sedan and Stelvio SUV, though the 4C sports car was excluded.

Audi, Porsche

For earlier model years in the 2017-21 span, Audi covered the first maintenance visit, which should run 10,000 miles or one year. The program is no more, however. Porsche, a sibling brand under the Volkswagen Group, added a year of complimentary maintenance beginning in the 2018 model year. It remained in effect for 2021.

BMW, Mini

BMW and Mini, both brands of the BMW Group, provided three years or 36,000 miles of free scheduled maintenance for the entire 2017-21 span.

Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC

GM’s four U.S. brands all offered some form of complimentary maintenance through the 2017-21 span, but specifics varied. Initially, Chevrolet and GMC granted the first two maintenance visits over two years or 24,000 miles free of charge, with a third year for Corvette owners to account for the break-in oil change. Buick got two years or 24,000 miles with no cap on visits as long as they were part of regularly scheduled maintenance, and Cadillac provided the same provision for three years or 36,000 miles with the exception of the XT5 SUV, which got four years or 50,000 miles. Those policies generally carried over for 2018, but GM reportedly dialed that back in 2019 to just one year across all four brands; the same policy remained in effect for 2021.

Ford, Lincoln

Ford’s luxury brand, Lincoln, offered the first oil change at no charge for 2017-18 models. Starting in 2019, Lincoln rolled out a rewards program that enabled new-vehicle purchasers to earn points redeemable for free service appointments. The same year, Ford introduced a similar program. These nontraditional rewards plans are linked to the brands’ apps — similar to other retail loyalty programs — that offer, in effect, a free maintenance plan. Points are earned with the vehicle purchase as well as with other spending at dealerships. Buyers of new or certified pre-owned vehicles get an initial bucket of rewards points they can choose to use for free maintenance.

The initial points for Fords vary by powertrain (gas, diesel, electric) and for Lincoln by trim levels. The 42,000 points that come with a new Ford gasoline-powered vehicle would, for example, cover the first three scheduled visits (such as through the 40,000-mile service period for a 2021 Explorer). For select periods, buyers of Lincoln’s premium-trim Black Label vehicles got an exclusive package of benefits that included four free scheduled service visits within four years or 50,000 miles.

Hyundai, Genesis

Hyundai’s luxury brand, Genesis, offered three years or 36,000 miles of free maintenance throughout the 2017-21 span. The Hyundai brand adopted the same policy for the 2020-21 model year starting in February 2020.

Jaguar

Jaguar’s policy is as good as it gets, with five years or 60,000 miles for 2017-21 models.

Subaru

Subaru offered two years or 24,000 miles of free maintenance for the entire 2017-21 span in certain markets — mostly Sun Belt states, from Southern California to South Carolina. In other regions, Subaru did not provide free maintenance.

Toyota, Lexus

Toyota and its Lexus luxury division both offered free maintenance for the entire 2017-21 span, though specifics varied. The automaker’s namesake brand got two years or 25,000 miles of free maintenance with no cap as long as it was part of the regular schedule. Lexus models had the first two visits covered, but that was typically enough to span the first year or 10,000 miles for owners, Lexus told us at the time. Individual cars may have different schedules.

Volvo

Through the entire 2017-21 span, Volvo included complimentary maintenance for the first three visits or 30,000 miles, which typically covered the first three years of ownership.

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