Types of Coverage
Coverage varies greatly from one automaker to the other and can range from a free tire rotation to full maintenance coverage for up to five years. To help you sort through the options, the Edmunds data team has compiled a detailed chart of all the automakers that offer free maintenance. It lists the services covered and includes any time or mileage limitations. We also have calculated the estimated average savings to be had from the free vehicle maintenance plans. A word of advice: Don't get too hung up on the savings figures. It's more important to look at the actual services that are covered by the free maintenance program.
Click on the link below to see a comprehensive listing of free car maintenance programs.
Free Car Maintenance Programs
It's best to think of these maintenance programs as a type of warranty. The programs apply whether you buy or lease the car and are transferrable to subsequent owners. It's important to note that in some cases there are time and mileage limitations. For example, some automakers require that the free car maintenance be performed within 1,500-2,000 miles of the recommended service intervals. They are also subject to change from one model year to the next.
Audi, Land Rover and Lexus have programs that mostly focus on the first few service visits that the car requires. These should be looked at simply as a bonus for purchasing the vehicle. Audi and Land Rover, for example, throw in the first scheduled maintenance for free. Lexus provides two scheduled maintenance visits. Among these brands, the average savings ranges from $72-$411 — hardly enough to make you choose one brand over another.
Unlike its rival BMW, Mercedes-Benz offers very limited free vehicle maintenance. Customers get a free diagnostic check, with technicians answering any questions owners may have about their vehicles, and they'll get a free tire rotation before 6,500 miles. Most dealerships include a free tire rotation in any scheduled service that's more than just an oil change, so we did not include the value of Mercedes' free tire shuffle in our chart.
Instead of free vehicle maintenance, Audi and Mercedes offer prepaid car maintenance plans that bundle a number of services and are sold at a discounted rate. Keep in mind that, like the car itself, the prices on the maintenance plans are negotiable.
Most automakers fall in this category. Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Jaguar, Kia, Lincoln, Scion, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo offer more services than the basic coverage, but don't include items that wear out, such as wiper-blade inserts, brake pads and brake rotors. Volvo's free maintenance program covers the maintenance visits at 10,000, 20,000 and 30,000 miles in all of its models.
General Motors brands (Buick, Chevrolet and GMC) offered free maintenance for two years or 24,000 miles on 2014-2015 vehicles. The coverage included up to four oil changes, tire rotation and 27-point inspection as dictated by the owner's manual and oil life monitoring system.
In March 2015, General Motors reduced its free maintenance program on 2016 and newer Buick, Chevrolet and GMC vehicles. The coverage drops to one year and only covers two service visits.
Cadillac gets GM's best coverage. The Premium Care Maintenance program debuted on the Cadillac CTS Coupe and is now standard on all new models. This program covers the car for four years or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first. Cadillac doesn't specify how many services will be covered, but a safe assumption would be that owners will get at least one scheduled maintenance per year.
Jaguar, like many other automakers, has altered its coverage over the past few years. It once offered five years of comprehensive coverage and then reduced it to one free service. For the 2016 model year, Jaguar vehicles will have five years or up to 60,000 miles of intermediate coverage. Jaguar says its service indicators come on at 16,000 miles or one year, whichever comes first. This means that a Jaguar owner would be covered for about five service visits.
"According to our latest research, after pricing, the second and third top reasons that a customer may reject a given luxury vehicle is the concern over the cost of maintenance and repairs," says Nathan Hoyt, product communications manager for Jaguar North America. Jaguar's program addresses those concerns "and gives potential new customers peace of mind," he says.
Kia's free vehicle maintenance only applies to its luxury-oriented Kia Cadenza and K900 sedans. Kia coverage lasts for 36 months or 37,500 miles. This adds up to five free service visits.
Lincoln and Toyota both have free maintenance programs that started out as promotional incentives, but were subsequently extended. Lincoln's Complimentary Maintenance program offers two years or 25,000 miles of coverage.
Toyota and Scion's coverage, two years or 25,000 miles, is notable because it includes roadside assistance. That's something Toyota had not previously offered, even though it typically comes standard with many automakers' new-car warranties.
Volvo's coverage has seen the most fluctuation since 2008 when it offered one free service, at 7,500 miles. In 2010, the comprehensive coverage went as high as five years or 60,000 miles, until 2013, when Volvo reduced the coverage to three years and did not include coverage of wearable items.
"The complimentary offer was used as an incentive to customers," says Jawanza Keita, a Volvo spokesperson. "As with all new vehicle incentives, Volvo continuously monitors customer response and adjusts our offers accordingly."