CARS.COM — Regular maintenance is an essential part of responsible vehicle ownership — but it can cost you. A 2016 study by AAA found maintenance costs alone averaged $792 a year, or 9.3 percent of the annual cost to own a car. Complimentary maintenance programs aim to take some of the sting out of that, and they've proliferated over the past decade. Still, not all free maintenance programs are equal: Some programs cover just one or two oil changes, while others offer years of coverage with no cap on visits as long as they're part of the schedule.
Which brands provide what? Here's the landscape for the 2017 model year, excluding exotic or ultra-luxury brands. Remember, the particular services covered in a maintenance visit will vary by brand and in some cases car, and some dealers may offer their own programs separate from the automaker. See your dealer for your car's specific benefits.
Audi covers the first maintenance visit for 2017 models, which should span 10,000 miles or one year. Sister brand Porsche will add a similar provision for 2018 (both Audi and Porsche are under the Volkswagen Group), but the Volkswagen brand's erstwhile three-year maintenance program is no more.
Alfa Romeo covers your inaugural maintenance visit in the first year or 10,000 miles on the 2017 Giulia sedan and 2017 Stelvio SUV. The 4C doesn't get this benefit, 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) provide three years or 36,000 miles of free scheduled maintenance on all 2017 model-year cars. The program isn't transferable to subsequent owners, however, so you can't use it as a selling point to pad the resale value on your lightly used example.
Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC
GM's four U.S. brands all offer complimentary maintenance for 2017 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; GM covers three free visits for Corvette owners to account for the break-in oil change. Buick gets two years or 24,000 miles with no cap on visits as long as they're part of regularly scheduled maintenance. Cadillac provides 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 free maintenance for 2017 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 free car maintenance for 2017 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 2017 models. The perk is only for Lincoln vehicles, not any cars from parent company Ford.
Subaru offers two years or 24,000 miles of free maintenance on 2017 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 provide free maintenance.
Toyota and Lexus
Toyota and its Lexus luxury division both offer free maintenance for 2017 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 2017 models, which should amount to two or three years of coverage depending how much you drive per year.
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