Are Volkswagens Expensive to Maintain?

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Volkswagens are speedy, safe, a little quirky—and they are pretty reliable. They rank 12th out of 32nd for reliability compared to other car brands. The average annual repair cost for a Volkswagen is $676.
How much does a Volkswagen cost? Well, the purchase price is just the tip of the iceberg. You’ll also need to budget for regular maintenance to keep your Volkswagen running smoothly. Plus, some models cost more than others to maintain.
To help you understand what to expect with your new (or new-to-you) Volkswagen, the car insurance comparison shopping and broker app Jerry has compiled everything you need to know about whether Volkswagens are expensive to maintain.

How much maintenance does my Volkswagen require?

When you hear “Volkswagen,” you may think of vintage Vanagons or their clever advertising campaigns. But Volkswagens are also very reliable vehicles. Although VW maintenance costs are a touch higher than the national average, you can expect your Volkswagen to require less maintenance than other cars. 
According to RepairPal, Volkswagens tend to visit the repair shop about 0.5 times per year for unscheduled maintenance, and only 11% of those repairs are considered severe. This rate is better than the national average of 12% across all models. 

How much does maintenance for a Volkswagen cost?

On average, a Volkswagen costs about $676 per year for standard maintenance.
Your specific cost, however, will depend on how you use your vehicle (i.e. high mileage vs. low mileage) as well as which model you own. For instance, a Jetta and a Golf have different maintenance costs. 
Let’s look a bit closer. Here are a few examples of average annual maintenance costs for popular Volkswagen models.

Budget: Volkswagen Jetta 

  • Reliability: 4/5 (average)
  • Annual maintenance cost: $469 (average)
  • Repair frequency: ~10,000 miles

Mid-range: Volkswagen Beetle

  • Reliability:4.5/5 (average)
  • Annual Maintenance cost: $535 (average)
  • Repair Frequency: 0.4 times per year (average) 

Splurge: Volkswagen Golf R

  • Reliability: 4.5/5 (average)
  • Annual maintenance cost: $1,051(average)
  • Repair frequency: 0.3 times per year (average)
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Why you should maintain your Volkswagen

Regular maintenance is the best way to know that you are driving a safe vehicle. It’s also a good strategy for saving money, as it prevents problems due to build-up and neglect.
A well-maintained vehicle:
  • Increases your safety while driving
  • Saves you money by preventing expensive problems
  • Keeps your car performing at its best
  • Keeps the value of your car high
We know it’s not fun to perform routine maintenance. But remember, a poorly maintained Volkswagen puts you at risk of driving an unsafe vehicle and having an expensive breakdown. Why risk it?
Key Takeaway: In general, Volkswagens are more reliable than the average vehicle. However, some models—like the Jetta—are more reliable and affordable to maintain than others. 

How often does a Volkswagen require maintenance?

MileageServiceAverage cost
Every 10,000 milesOil change, tire rotation$65 to $115
Every 20,000 milesChange brake fluid$80 to $120
Every 50,000 milesReplace spark plugs$157 to $218

Oil changes

  • When: Usually required every 10,000 miles
  • Cost: $25 to $75
  • Why: Removes excess dirt that can build up in your engine from daily use
  • DIY?: Perhaps—if you have the right tools and skills

Tire replacement

  • When: NHTSA recommends that tires be replaced every six years, regardless of the number of miles driven
  • Cost: $200 to $500
  • Why: Worn-out tires are unsafe and can lead to hydroplaning in wet weather
  • DIY?: No—allow a professional to ensure a balanced installation for even wear and a smooth ride

Engine replacement

  • When: If the engine block is cracked, damaged in a collision, or simply worn out due to high-mileage
  • Cost: $4,000 to $7,000
  • Why: Your engine is the key to prolonging the life of your Volkswagen
  • DIY?: No—take the car to a reputable mechanic for an engine replacement

Windshield replacement

  • When: If the crack is longer than your hand, extends to the outer edge of the windshield, or deep enough that it goes halfway into the windshield
  • Cost: ~$350
  • Why: If you can’t see clearly, it’s dangerous to drive 
  • DIY?: No—avoid attempting to install a new windshield yourself

Paint

  • When: Visible discoloration or paint peeling
  • Cost: $1,000 to $4,500
  • Why: It’s not just vanity! You can prevent corrosion and improve resale value with a good paint job
  • DIY?: Possible—only attempt this if you have a safe place to apply paint and professional-grade tools 

Oil slush build up in the engine

  • When: If your vehicle is performing poorly or rough idling
  • Cost: $469 to $565
  • Why: Sludgy oil can inhibit your engine’s performance (and thus, safety and efficiency)
  • DIY?: No—go to an auto shop for this service

Finding cheap car insurance

It’s important to perform regular maintenance—but no matter how well you maintain your Volkswagen, you can’t predict the future. That’s why a good car insurance policy is a smart way to protect yourself and your vehicle from unpredictable situations.
Find cheap rates quickly using the free Jerry app. Jerry specializes in unlocking discounts and you won’t have to make small talk with salespeople. It takes only 60 seconds and Jerry handles all the paperwork if you decide to switch to another provider.
Ready for the best part? The average user finds nearly $900 in annual savings. 
“When using Jerry, I just put in a bit of information, and they found lots of different quotes for me. I was paying $305 a month for 2 brand-new cars, but now I’m paying $150 a month for both with full coverage!” ––Robin U.
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