GTI Owner Unimpressed By VW's "Carefree Maintenance"

Justin Berkowitz
by Justin Berkowitz
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gti owner unimpressed by vw s carefree maintenance

Wow Volkswagen. Just when I thought you couldn't do anything more to get a VeeDub into the service bay, you really step it up. Right now, I just bring my GTI in every other month when the check engine light illuminates my face with fury. But the new "carefree maintenance program" announced Wednesday is next-generation stupid. For the first 36k miles of ownership, VW will do all your scheduled maintenance for free. What is the scheduled maintenance you ask? Changing the oil (which VW claims is only necessary every 10k miles on 2009s onward, thanks to synthetic oil) and uh, checking a whole bunch of fluid levels. VW's press release [via the great press release funnel otherwise known as Autoblog] touts the new program as a "great way to improve our owner loyalty for the brand, as well as increase consumer consideration." Uh no and no. This isn't going to sell cars, and the opportunity to save $20 bucks on the free oil change isn't going to make up for all the dealer-service department scamming guaranteed to take place. In fact, if I was a VW NA corporate suit (poor sods), I'd be doing everything I could to keep people AWAY from the dealers, to minimize the amount of rip-off-itude.

Justin Berkowitz
Justin Berkowitz

Immensely bored law student. I've also got 3 dogs.

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  • Paradigm_shift Paradigm_shift on Apr 24, 2008
    Go to and order yourself a copy of VAG-COM. You mean this one? that costs $600!??
  • CT Guy CT Guy on Apr 24, 2008

    This is going to do nothing for sales. Make the warranty shorter and make us go to dealers for a "free" oil change ? I've owned VW's since 1982 and dread going to the dealers.My 96 Passat TDI is my last, I think. I usually know more about my car than the "service advisor"-some punk kid who looks like he never touched a wrench in his life.I don't mind paying for a car assembled by Germans (or anyone)who gives a damn about pride of work but am in no way going to pay the same or more for one assembled by Mexicans who are paid about 25% of the German wage.EVERYONE I know with a Beetle has had electrical problems.Hey, VW want to increase sales ? 1)increase the warranty-prove to me you have confidence in your product. 2)train your sales/service staff to respect your customers-most of them know more about your product than 90% of dealer employees.3) Bring over more German market vehicles-Polo/Lupo/Caddy. 4) V6 TDI Toureg.5) TDI Tiguan.6)Dump the 5 cylinder engine and put a 4 back in cars as a base engine-optional turbo for more power-optional TDI for more mileage.To paraphrase the movie Field of Dreams-"If you build them,they (customers) will come"

  • Marcj Marcj on Apr 25, 2008

    VW has taken superhuman steps to lower the perceived total cost of ownership. This includes overestimating the timing belt change interval so it falls just outside the end of the warranty period (which is nice cause a new TB is easily $1500 at the stealership) and claiming the autobox tranny is "maintenance free" (fluid is not change-able by conventional means, and usually fails only when the warranty period is over). This 'deferred maintenance' means that used VWs are a lousy value unless you know what you're getting into (i.e., you know how to work on VWs).

  • Snowstaria Snowstaria on Aug 14, 2009

    I have never taken my 08 beetle to the dealership for an oil change and fluid check. I go directly to my local machanic...just driving to the closest VW shop would cost me about $20.00 in gas. The cost of an oilchange, fluid check, the local mechanic is $67.00..that is with the synthetic oil and his fee. However, like many self-reliant individuals...I know it's a lot easier to get the auto manual for the codes to get the indicator lights to clear off, and to learn how to change the starter, oil change, timing belt, etc...especially when that lovely check engine light comes on and the VW shop says we are booked currently and have no openings until 3 weeks from today..would you like for us to check if another VW shop has any openings...(usually 3 hours from where I live...and the manual says that you need to drive slower to the VW ASAP...hello...does it make sense then to wait 3 weeks to get it fixed??? On the positive I do like the free car wash and I'm going today to the VW shop to take advantage of the free services.