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Volkswagen maintenance: cost, plans and service schedule

Are Volkswagens expensive to maintain?

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    BMW and Toyota
    motor oil for vehicles being poured into an engine

    If you drive a Volkswagen or are considering buying one, it’s important to understand how much keeping your vehicle running will cost you. That way, you can make a budget and prepare for any surprise expenses.

    Keep reading to find out how much maintenance your Volkswagen may need, what you can expect to spend on repairs and maintenance and what you can do to save money in the long run.

    Key insights

    • Volkswagen vehicles average $676 per year in maintenance and repairs, according to RepairPal. That’s about average for the industry.
    • Volkswagen has different maintenance schedules for every model it makes.
    • Volkswagen’s new-car warranty can keep you from paying for covered repairs for four years or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first.
    • After that, you might want to consider an extended warranty to help you avoid a catastrophic repair bill.

    Volkswagen service schedule

    Volkswagen designs a different maintenance schedule for each model it produces, even if the majority of its recommendations are the same. We recommend checking your owners manual, VW’s website site or resources from your local dealership to find the appropriate schedule for your vehicle.

    Example: 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan maintenance schedule

    Here’s the recommended maintenance for a 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan — just to show what your maintenance schedule might look like.

    Minor maintenance, including engine oil and filter change, tire rotation and brake check Every 12 months or 10,000 miles
    Standard maintenance, including fluid level inspection and checking lights and transmission Every 24 months or 20,000 miles
    Check sunroof drains, if applicable Every 24 months or 20,000 miles
    Grease panorama sliding sunroof rails, if applicable Every 24 months or 40,000 miles
    Replace dust and pollen filter Every 24 months or 40,000 miles
    Check AWD fluid, if applicable Every 36 months
    Change brake fluid After 36 months, and then every 24 months
    Extended maintenance, including inspecting ball joints, exhaust and underbody Every 48 months or 40,000 miles

    Scheduled maintenance for severe driving conditions

    Not everyone drives their VW on smooth highways every day. If you are one of the many drivers that pushes your vehicle to extremes, you may require more frequent maintenance intervals.

    Consider getting extra maintenance if:

    • You regularly tow or haul heavy loads
    • You regularly take your vehicle off-road
    • Most of your driving is in stop-and-go traffic
    • You regularly drive down roads that are dusty, muddy or dirty
    • Your location is excessively hot, humid or cold

    If you are unsure whether more frequent maintenance is right for your Volkswagen, speak to your local dealership for guidance.

    Are Volkswagens expensive to maintain?

    Volkswagen upkeep doesn’t cost as much as you might think. RepairPal estimates that VWs average $676 per year in repairs and maintenance. That’s not much more than the industry average of $652 per year.

    MakeAverage maintenance and repair costs*
    Volkswagen $676 per year
    Honda $428 per year
    Toyota $441 per year
    Ford $775 per year
    BMW $968 per year
    *According to RepairPal

    RepairPal gives Volkswagen a reliability rating of 3.5 out of 5, placing it 12th out of 32 brands. Volkswagen vehicles also supposedly average 0.5 visits to the repair shop every year, which is a little above average, but the probability of the issue being severe is slightly below the industry average (11% vs. 12%), according to RepairPal. All in all, it makes sense that VW’s upkeep costs would be in the middle of the pack.

    It’s worth noting that these figures combine statistics for every model and year in each automaker’s lineup, though. In reality, expected maintenance and repair costs vary considerably.

    Check out the chart below to see an example of how much these costs can differ for three popular Volkswagen models.

    ModelAverage maintenance and repair costs*
    Volkswagen Tiguan $730 per year
    Volkswagen Passat $639 per year
    Volkswagen Jetta $609 per year
    *According to RepairPal

    These figures also conflate maintenance and repair costs. That makes sense when you’re trying to see how much people spend on vehicle upkeep over time, but it doesn’t paint an accurate picture of how people actually pay for these services.

    While maintenance is usually done on a regular schedule, repairs are ad hoc and often much more expensive. That means the average VW owner might spend under $676 in a year when nothing goes wrong and well over $676 in a year when their vehicle needs a big repair.

    Volkswagen maintenance costs

    Maintenance costs are generally easier to calculate than repair costs because you can map out the cost of each service on your maintenance schedule ahead of time.

    Example: 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan maintenance costs

    To give you an idea of what regular maintenance might cost you, we got estimates for various maintenance services on a 2019 Tiguan. Your costs may vary based on your location and vehicle.

    Tire rotation $67-$85
    Oil change $160-$191
    Transmission fluid change $155-$173
    10,000-mile service $144-$170
    30,000-mile service $144-$170
    60,000-mile service $541-$679
    Front and rear brake pad replacement $564-$665
    Spark plug replacement $270-$316
    *According to RepairPal for a 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan in the 78705 ZIP code

    Volkswagen doesn’t leave customers to fend for themselves entirely, though. All new VW vehicles include Carefree Coverage, which provides two years or 20,000 miles of free maintenance.

    Volkswagen repair costs

    Repairs are harder to budget for because you don’t know what’s going to break on your VW ahead of time. However, you can get a better idea by seeing how much the most common repairs for your vehicle cost.

    Example: 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan repair costs

    If we again look at the Volkswagen Tiguan, we see that common issues include carbon buildup in the intake system, fuel pressure sensor failure and muffler failure.

    IssueService neededEstimated cost*
    Carbon buildup in the intake system Intake manifold gasket replacement $845-$983
    Fuel pressure sensor failure Fuel pressure sensor replacement $137-$160
    Muffler failure Exhaust muffler replacement $776-$817
    *According to RepairPal for a 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan in the 78705 ZIP code

    These repairs aren’t a huge deal compared with engine or transmission replacements. However, the problem with Volkswagens is that a specialized technician is often required to fix them.

    Author’s note: As a professional mechanic, I’ve worked on many VW models that ended up needing to go to the dealer or someone who specializes in European models simply because the problem required special diagnostic tools. If this is the case with whatever repair you face, the cost could go up significantly.

    The good news is that new Volkswagens come with a 4-year/50,000-mile factory warranty. That means if a covered component breaks during this period, you won’t have to pay for parts or labor.

    A warranty doesn’t always take care of all of your expenses, though.

    “We were stranded in the middle of a 1,200-mile road trip due to a faulty turbo system in the 2022 Tiguan we had purchased 2 months prior,” wrote Jerry, a ConsumerAffairs reviewer from North Carolina.

    “The VW dealership we stopped at said the parts necessary would take weeks to months to come in. We were 600 miles from home with a new car that could not be driven or repaired, and VW would not provide a loaner, rental, or any assistance whatsoever. This was the absolute worst customer service I have ever encountered,” they continued.

    » LEARN: What is a manufacturer’s warranty?

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      How can an extended warranty or maintenance plan help?

      Eventually, the complimentary maintenance plan and factory warranty on your Volkswagen will end, and once that happens, you’re on the hook for the full cost of maintaining your vehicle and repairing it when it breaks down. However, there are ways you can potentially take some of that financial burden off your shoulders.

      Volkswagen offers Volkswagen Care Maintenance Plans for 2014 and newer vehicles, letting you prepay for maintenance services. This can potentially save you money by locking in your maintenance costs early as a hedge against inflation or rising prices.

      If you’re more concerned about receiving a large repair bill for your out-of-warranty Volkswagen, an extended warranty might be a better option. These plans have their pros and cons, but they can help you avoid otherwise catastrophic repair bills. You can even come out ahead if you get an extended warranty for less than you would have otherwise spent on repair bills.

      Your VW dealership may offer extended warranty plans, but it’s a good idea to shop around and compare quotes from multiple extended car warranty companies before you buy. That way, you can make an educated decision about which warranty provider is right for you.

      » MORE: Car warranty vs. car insurance

      ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. To learn more about the content on our site, visit our FAQ page. Specific sources for this article include:
      1. Volkswagen, “Find your Maintenance Schedule and Warranties.” Accessed March 8, 2023.
      2. Volkswagen, “Carefree Coverage.” Accessed March 8, 2023.
      3. RepairPal, “Volkswagen Tiguan Problems.” Accessed March 8, 2023.
      4. Volkswagen, “Volkswagen Care Maintenance Plans.” Accessed March 8, 2023.
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