2021 Shoppers Take Note: These Vehicle Brands Offer Valuable Included Maintenance
Automakers for both mainstream, high-volume models like the Toyota RAV4 and Hyundai Kona, as well as specialty vehicles like the Jaguar I-Pace now offer included maintenance. This is maintenance for a period of time that is included in the purchase price. Toyota has long offered two years of included maintenance, and Hyundai recently added a program lasting three years. Such programs can have a value of hundreds of dollars to a new vehicle owner. In this story, we will detail the included maintenance for all the U.S. vehicle brands for 2021.
What Is Included Maintenance Exactly?
All vehicles, whether they are a Tesla or a Toyota, require routine maintenance. Depending upon the model, that maintenance could be twice per year, or it could be once per year. It depends upon the vehicle design and the conditions in which the vehicle is driven. Conventional vehicles generally require oil changes once or twice per year, and all vehicles require tire rotations on a regular basis. All vehicles also require brake fluid maintenance and filters for the cabin. Brands with included maintenance include this work for a set period of time and miles. In all cases, the duration is the lesser of the miles or months.
Damage and expected wear services like tire repair, tire replacement, glass damage, and small consumable parts like wiper blades may be excluded from such programs. Jaguar specifically excludes brake pad wear. However, almost every included maintenance plan includes a free car wash during servicing.
In addition to things like oil changes, tire rotations, cabin air filters, engine air filters, alignment, and brake fluid changes, many automakers also tie roadside assistance to their included maintenance programs. This will save you money on a AAA membership, which can be as much as $165 per year.
Why Do Some Automakers Include Maintenance?
As a way to entice shoppers to their brand, some automakers now include maintenance in the price of the vehicle. These brands are doing this for two reasons. First, it is intended to be part of a sales pitch. “We have something valuable that the competition does not.” Second, the automakers want you to develop the habit of using their authorized dealers. Dealers charge more money to do the same work compared to local shops, so the automakers want you to become “addicted” to the dealer so that you will spend more money with the dealer over time. One additional reason that some brands include the maintenance is so that owners who lease will have a “fixed cost of ownership” for the duration of the lease period.
Which Vehicle Brands Include Maintenance For 2021?
Some popular brands that include maintenance for new 2021 model year cars, SUVs, crossover, and trucks include Toyota, Hyundai, Volkswagen, Jeep, Genesis, BMW, and Jaguar. The programs vary quite a bit. The duration can range from two years to as many as five. We created the chart above to help shoppers see which brands offer included maintenance for 2021. When you view that chart, bear in mind that the last service covered may last a while.
Which Brands Have the Best Included Maintenance Plans?
Based on our research, Jaguar has the very best included maintenance plan of any automaker. With a full five-years or 60,000-miles (whichever comes first) of coverage, Jaguar’s plan has a value of approximately $1,200. Called Elite Care, the plan is not new. It was introduced a few years ago. Those who lease a Jaguar have a fixed cost of ownership, and those who own for five years do as well.
Genesis has the second-best plan. One reason we like the Genesis plan is that the brand will also come and fetch your vehicle for you. You don’t even have to go to the dealership for service.
Among affordable value brands, Hyundai offers the best plan. Its duration is the longest and it is also tied to the best warranty in America.
Related: 30K Service Rip-Off - Why A Mazda CX-5’s 30K Service Can Cost Half What A Similar Crossover’s Does
Limited Included Maintenance Programs
Subaru recently announced included maintenance for two years or 24,000 miles, but it is only in limited places where Subaru vehicles are unpopular. The entire snowbelt is excluded. As a long-time Subaru owner in New England, this makes me feel like a second-class customer. You can learn more about Subaru’s limited-coverage maintenance plans at your local dealer.
Some brands also have halo models that sit at the top of their lineup. We have not included those specific models in our analysis since they are very low volume. Kia and Dodge offer such plans on certain special models.
Which Automakers Do Not Include Maintenance?
Some notable vehicle brands do not include routine maintenance. Surprisingly, Tesla does not. There are no oil changes with Tesla models, of course, but Tesla vehicles have recommended tire service intervals of as few as 6,250 miles and brake service requirements of as little as 12,500 miles. Kia, although part of parent company Hyundai, does not include maintenance. Premium brands Infiniti and Acura do not, which is unusual given their competitors almost all have some included service.
Some Dealers And Brands May Offer A Complimentary First Visit
Although many brands do not include any meaningful included maintenance plan, some will offer you a first visit at no charge. This is usually a very low-cost visit to do inspections and perhaps an oil change. We’ve done our best to list these brands at the bottom of our chart. Some individual dealers may also run a first-visit promotion for those who buy a vehicle from them.
When you shop for your next new truck, crossover, SUV, or car, be certain to factor in the value of included maintenance in your purchase decision.
John Goreham is a long-time New England Motor Press Association member and recovering engineer. Following his engineering program, John also completed a marketing program at Northeastern University and worked with automotive component manufacturers. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American newspapers and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin