Are Volkswagen Expensive to Maintain? Costs less than you think


Volkswagen is a German brand known for its versatile, reliable, and high-quality vehicles. However, many people believe Volkswagens are expensive to maintain, and parts are hard to find. These are just assumptions.

The cost of maintaining a Volkswagen is around $675 a year, or roughly $56 per month. That’s less than Mercedes Benz, Ford, GMC, and Subaru. In fact, out of 30 car models, 21 of them had higher service costs over a ten-year period than Volkswagen.

If you’re wondering whether a VW is too expensive to own, this post will answer all your questions. We will cover everything you need to know about Volkswagen maintenance costs.

General Running Costs of a Volkswagen

Although the purchase price is the main determining factor in a vehicle’s affordability, the running costs are also a major point to consider. The cost of fuel, parts, and service heavily contribute to the overall cost of your vehicle in the long run. Here’s what you can expect to spend on gasoline fuel for the following models.

ModelMPG Cost per Mile1K Miles
Golf29 combined city and highway$0.11$1100
Jetta34 combined city and highway$0.09$900
Passat28 combined city and highway$0.11$1100
Tiguan25 combined city and highway$0.13$1300
VW on workshop hoist

Volkswagen Maintenance Costs Comparison By Model

Different Volkswagen models have varying maintenance costs. Even the same models of different years have their cost differences. Let’s look at the average annual cost of maintenance by model.

  • Jetta $609
  • Beetle $612
  • Golf $630
  • Passat $639
  • Tiguan $730
  • CC $880

As you can see, the Jetta, Golf, Beetle, and Passat models are in the same maintenance cost range. The VW CC model costs the most to maintain, even though it isn’t the most expensive to purchase in the above list.

General Volkswagen Maintenance Cost

Generally, the standard maintenance items of a VW are quite similar to that of other car brands. Here’s what you can expect to spend depending on the model:

  • Oil change – Between $128 and $154
  • Tire rotation – Between $158 and $74
  • Spark Plugs – Between 184 and $252
  • Filters – Between $64 and $108

While replacing a damaged component may cost more on a Volkswagen than a domestic car, you may never have to replace that part of your VW. That’s why it’s important to look at the cost over time instead of looking at the price of a single repair.

What Factors Affect Volkswagen Maintenance Cost?

Apart from model and vehicle size, here are some factors that can affect the price of maintenance:

  • How you drive. Drivers who are more careful and disciplined generally incur lower maintenance costs.
  • Where you live. In some states, you could get much higher auto repair estimates. States like West Virginia, Vermont, and Iowa have lower average car repair costs.
  • The car service you use. The auto shop you visit can affect how much you spend on maintenance in the long run. That’s why you should always entrust your vehicle to a reputable mechanic.

Why Do People Assume Volkswagen Maintenance is Expensive?

VW garage

There are some commonly held beliefs when it comes to owning a Volkswagen. First, most people think that since VWs are well-made German cars, repairs are expensive, and the cost of ownership is high. Others think it’s tough to find parts. 

However, these are just assumptions. Although parts may sometimes cost more due to their need to be imported, overall, the cost of maintaining your VW is at least on par with any other brand.

How Volkswagen Has Reduced the Total Cost of Ownership

Volkswagen has launched programs to make it more affordable to own one of their cars.

  • First, they have a transparent after-sales and service program that allows you to calculate the long-term costs of maintenance of your target car before you even make a purchase.
  • Its website has a service cost calculator that helps you quickly preview your upcoming maintenance bill, allowing you to plan your finances accordingly.
  • Volkswagen has excellent warranties, recently offering a four-year/50,000-mile transferrable warranty on all 2020 and newer models.

How to Keep Maintenance Costs for a Volkswagen Low

These steps will help you lower the cost of maintaining your car in the future:

Keep Up With Preventative Maintenance

If you look after your car well, you’ll avoid hefty repair bills in the future. As a general rule, Volkswagen vehicles should be services every 10,000 miles. Here are the services you need to secure each time you hit this milestone:

  • Oil and filter change
  • Tire rotation
  • Airbag system inspection
  • Fluid checks and replenishing
  • Brake pad inspection
  • Wiper blade inspection
vw

When you pass the 20K, 60K, and 100K, the technician will conduct more comprehensive checks that include:

  • Battery inspection
  • Tire inspection
  • Brake system evaluation
  • Fuel filter change
  • Dust and pollen filter replacement

Consider Extended Warranties

Extended service contracts, commonly referred to as extended warranties, can help slash some maintenance costs when the manufacturer warranty expires. It’s basically an insurance policy that safeguards against expensive repairs. You can pick the level of coverage you want, and if you need a repair that’s covered under the plan, you’ll only need to pay a small deductible.

Have your Vehicle Serviced at a Qualified Auto Shop

You don’t have to take your VW to a dealership for maintenance. However, it’s always safe to work with a reputable mechanic that is certified to provide Volkswagen auto repairs. Such technicians can do the job as well as anyone and for a fraction of the cost. Just be sure to document every maintenance visit and keep your receipts to ensure your warranty isn’t voided.

Is Volkswagen a Reliable Car Brand?

Most consumers believe vehicles manufactured by German-owned companies are automatically reliable. Is this true for VW? In most surveys, VW has an average reliability score. In a 2021 reliability study done by RepairPal, Volkswagen ranks 12th out of 32 for all car brands, an indicator that it’s reasonably dependable.

What are the Most Common Volkswagen Issues?

Dash lights

Although relatively reliable, VWs still have their problems. Here are some typical Volkswagen issues:

  • Faulty timing chains.
  • Check engine light may come on too often, sometimes due to sensor or software issues.
  • Older models had oil issues, requiring frequent changes. Newer models can also succumb to an oil sludge build-up if you delay oil changes.
  • The collision avoidance technology may detect objects that don’t exist.
  • Airbag malfunction light may occur when you get near the 100k miles mark.

Conclusion

So, are Volkswagen cars expensive to maintain? The answer is no. In the long term, the prices for VW maintenance are actually well below average. As long as you take good care of your ride, your VW won’t take a big bite out of your bank balance whenever they need some maintenance.

Before buying any vehicle, it’s always worth investing a few dollars to check the VIN number against a database. An audit with a company like VinAudit (links to VinAudit) will guard against Mileage fraud, Salvage rebuilds, Title washing, and Vin cloning.

Check the Edmunds.com link below to see what Hot deals are on offer right now, but be warned, I sometimes lose an hour or more to all the eye candy on offer.

Volkswagen

You may also find the following posts useful:

Is Volkswagen a good first car?

Are Volkswagens Reliable?

Are Mercedes Good Cars? (Owners view)

John Cunningham

John Cunningham is an Automotive Technician and writer on Rustyautos.com. I've been a mechanic for over twenty years, I use my knowledge and experience to write articles that help fellow gear-heads with all aspects of classic car ownership, from tires to roof aerials and everything in between.

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