Volkswagens are popular cars, and for good reason. No matter the type or brand of vehicle we’re in the market for, there are several key attributes we all have high on the list: safety and quality of build, comfort, aesthetic appeal. Your typical VW ticks all of these boxes. Cost, of course, is another factor, both in the initial outlay and over the course of the car’s life. Therefore, it’s reasonable to ask:
Are Volkswagen’s expensive to maintain?
As frustrating as the answer may be, it depends. Regardless of the type of car you have, much of its reliability comes down to driving habits, the environmental conditions in which it’s driven, how you store your car and – crucially – how often it sees a mechanic.
Of course, the quality of build and components also has a big say in a car’s reliability and longevity. This is one reason why Volkswagens are so popular – they have a reputation as reliable cars. However, it’s also a common belief that Volkswagen’s are expensive to maintain.
Yes, it’s generally true that German cars have more expensive parts. Not only are they usually of higher quality, but there’s also the shipping expenses to factor in as most have to be bought from overseas.
But the cost of a one-off repair or part replacement shouldn’t be your guiding factor in determining the cost of maintenance. What really matters is the cost over the vehicle’s life. For instance, replacing the motor that moves the side mirrors may be more expensive in a Volkswagen than a Mazda, but you might never actually have to do this with a VW. In other words, premium parts generally last longer or need never be replaced.
You don’t have to get your car serviced at a dealership
It’s a common misunderstanding that you need to have your car serviced at the dealership. No dealership can legally compel you to have your car serviced with them in order to keep your warranty valid. You can have your car serviced at any licensed repair shop without voiding the warranty, as long as your car’s log book is always up to date. Essentially, as soon as you drive your brand new Volkswagen off the lot, it’s up to you where you decide to have it cared for from that time forward.
The modern Volkswagen has its fair share of cutting edge technology, with all the latest software and diagnostic computer engineering. This leads many to believe that they must have their VW serviced at the dealership because only they have the specialised tools necessary to service it. Simply not true.
As a service centre that focuses on German cars, BM Tech has all the software, specialised tools, and specific training necessary to service Volkswagens. Not only does this allow for a more precise and higher quality service, it also avoids misdiagnosing a problem, which would otherwise mean more work and more cost.
There’s also another important thing everyone now needs to know: from 1st July 2022, it’s been legislated in Australia that every car manufacturer must, by law, provide technical repair information and factory diagnostic equipment to all independent mechanics if or when they need it. This now guarantees that all mechanics will have the same access and repair capabilities as do the dealerships.
Always get a second opinion – that part may have some life in it yet!
Many of our long term clients first came to us because their dealership told them a part needed replacing. Wisely, they sought us out for a second opinion. In many cases, we found the part in question to have life in it yet – sometimes as much as six months or more.
We never want to keep using components that have past their use-by-date, but that doesn’t mean we should replace them early, either. Volkswagens are premium vehicles, but their cost of maintenance overall can be the same as a Ford’s or a Mazda’s if the parts are replaced only when needed – and they are cared for in the correct manner. More on that now.
Regular maintenance means cheaper maintenance
You hear doctors talk about it all the time – preventative medicine. It’s the key to a long and healthy life. As mechanics, we agree. If you want your Volkswagen to go the distance without hurting your hip pocket, then it needs to be seen by a professional on a regular basis. This doesn’t mean a full service every six months, but it does mean check-ups that occur often enough to nip potentially big problems in the bud. And, yes, regular servicing will be cheaper overall than having to replace major parts due to neglect.
It may sound too good to be true, but you can own a premium vehicle like a Volkswagen and maintain it for a similar price to that of a cheaper car. Drive sensibly, do as your mechanic says, and you can have your cake and eat it, too.