Buying your car based on the Free Maintenance Programs

Car Tips | March 27th, 2009 by 18
lexus luxury care

This is a topic that came up in many of the debates I had with my friends or other car fans. As many of you know, BMW is one of the few companies left to offer a Car Free Maintenance Program for any vehicles still under the original factory warranty. In a recent article, we spoke about the options you have when your BMW warranty expires, but that’s a whole different story and you can read upon it.

Before we go ahead and compare some of the maintenance programs offered by other luxury brands, allow me to express my opinion on this. As I have always told my friends, one of the many reasons why I chose a BMW was the Free Maintenance Program which made me more comfortable that all the scheduled maintenance and not only, would be taken care of, without extra charges on my end. With maintenance part of the initial car warranty (Get a FREE, No Obligation, Extended Auto Warranty Quote in Less than a Minute!), all I have to worry about is making the monthly payments.

BMW calls its maintenance plan “BMW Ultimate Service” which goes for the first 4 years of ownership, or the first 50,000 miles.

Now, let’s see who are the contestants this time around: the long-time competitor, Mercedes-Benz, the runner up Audi and the  king of car luxury sales in the U.S, Lexus.

Even thought Mercedes was one of the first to offer a free maintenance plan, back in 2005, they decided to eliminate their free maintenance and offer their customers the option to choose from a variety of prepaid plans.

mercedes benz maintenance plan 498x541

The decision to remove the free maintenance plan was solely based on cost issues and Mercedes-Benz does not feel that the customers have jumped ship based on this. Their Prepaid Maintenance Plan offers solutions for all the pockets without having the customer think they’re giving up an “arm and a leg” for scheduled maintenance.

Audi gets a little better and while they still don’t offer a full 4 year plan, they do offer the first scheduled maintenance service at 5,000 miles or 12 months, whichever comes first, free of charge. Until 2007, Audi of America offered a  4-year/50,000-mile program, called Audi Advantage, which was established in the late 1980s as a way to restore consumer confidence and jump-start the brand in the United States.

To stay within the Audi/VW Group, Volkswagen provides owners of new, 2009 models with free scheduled maintenance for three years or 36,000 miles, along with regular checkups every 6,000 miles or 90 days.

Lexus is the U.S. leader in luxury car sales but unfortunately for their owners, they do not offer a full free maintenance program. Lexus only provides your first scheduled maintenance service at no charge. The service is performed at 30 days or 1,000 miles, whichever occurs first. Lexus also provides your second scheduled maintenance service at no charge. The service is performed at six months or 5,000 miles, whichever occurs first.  The scheduled maintenance plan is called Lexus Luxury Care and matches several personal budgets or fits your lifestyle.  Terms are available for 2, 3, 4 or 5 years.

lexus luxury care 498x512

We hope this article answers some of the questions you had and in the end, without taking sides or being biased, we would like to show you BMW’s research in determining the average cost of maintaining other vehicles during the first four years of ownership.


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18 responses to “Buying your car based on the Free Maintenance Programs”

  1. Well I ordered a 135i which is coming in the 1st week of may, and here BMW offers the program for reasonable amount , around 3K $ for 5 years or 100K KMs , that’s here in the middle east. My guess BMWs program isn’t really free but actually calculated within the price of the car, and since you guys get 4yr/50k Miles which is less than what we get then I’m guessing that it would cost less the 3k of the total car price .

  2. I love the BMW Maintenance service! Previously I had an 03 745li and I bought the extended warranty from my local dealership for $1298! It extended my warranty till October 31 2008. On October 27, 2008 I traded it in for an 06 750li. Between both cars, I still don’t know how much an oil change costs, or brakes, or any other maintenance that needs to be done. Is it a wonder why there are so many BMWs on the road?

  3. Also, I had an 01 540i before and I remember having to pay $175 for oil changes back in the day. The only thing I actually paid for the 7’s were tires and they can set you back about $400 from BMW for Pirelli PZeros.

  4. Gil says:

    Irrelevant of cost (my good dealer told me “somebody pays for it somewhere”; and besides, buying a luxury car voids your rights to whine about costly maintenance :) ).

    I think the BMW Ultimate Service is there to help themselves in resale value: Make it easy and painless for owners to have their vehicles serviced. This way, they do keep their vehicles in top condition and properly maintained. I mean, why not? It’s zero dollars! And a vehicle that’s been meticulously maintained = higher resale value. It *is* nice to buy a CPO car that has a full history. Verifiable dealership history, at that.

    Nothing worse than buying a used luxury car and you don’t even know if the oil has been changed once, twice, or never.

  5. Tuesmq says:

    We all know that with the free maintenance program BMW skips a lot of services that used to be recommended by BMW. No more breakin fluid change, and oil change now at 15k miles.

    It’s fine for those who lease or trade every 5 yrs, but not if you plan to keep the car for a long time. I’d also be leery of purchasing a used BMW that’s serviced like this. At the end of the day, it’s marketing.

  6. @Tuesmq: Thats where you are wrong in alot of places in the world BMW doesn’t offer the free maintenance and it still changed the service intervals. Here in Saudi they only offered this service at 2004. Before that we had no free service program and we still had the same intervals.

  7. Carlos Perez says:

    In Mexico they charge you for the “Ultimate Service” mmm it would be around $ 3-4k for 5 years or 500k km in a a 3 series more or less, still is more useful to pay each one service individually well that’s how most of the people do it(In mexico).

    • Horatiu B. says:

      I apologize guys, I should have mentioned U.S, but I need to start thinking more globally. I just didn’t want to talk about countries since I wasn’t sure what maintenance plans they have there. It would be interesting one day to compare the U.S market to others, based on pricing, options etc..

  8. Carlos Perez says:

    @Horatiu B.:
    Its ok i actually understood that, i didn’t put it as a complais it was more a kind of comment to show how’s BMW in other countries, good work Horatiu keep it up

  9. Nick Iliff says:

    I was going to say… it’s been around since long before 2005. My dad’s ’98 528i had free maintenance.

  10. When the last time I took my VW for its schedule maintenance, I took it to a VW service provider where the technician asked me several questions about the car and took it for a test drive. It took him hardly three hours to fix the problems that it had. And, after that service I was surprised to find that my car was running as smoothly as any new car. So, I feel that before the technicians fix any problem, they should ask the owner about the problems associated with that car so that they can find out the actual cause of trouble.

  11. T says:

    We switched from Mercedes-Benz to BMW after having to replace the brakes once and tires twice within the first 39,000 miles of ownership. The Mercedes-Benz dealship was always friendly but kept telling me that they were special tires and brakes etc. I lived / worked in Italy and Germany for over 10 years between 1976 and 1992 and drove all kinds of European cars but NEVER had so many problems as I did with the ML350. WE now drive a BMW X5 and are VERY HAPPY with it and the servise we get ALL over the US.

  12. Fearnuhn says:

    Thanks guys…soon as I leave Iraq i’m getting me a BMW!!

  13. anonymous says:

    Kia Rio, >>> free maintenance for 5 years.

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