While necessary and a good investment, car maintenance can be expensive, particularly if you own a high-maintenance car or an older vehicle that needs more attention. But that’s why Honda’s recent unveiling of its brand-new Honda Service Pass free maintenance plan was so well-received. The brand announced this news at the same time as they announced the all-new 2023 Honda Odyssey Sport trim level. We do love a package deal, and Honda Service Pass may be a pretty sweet package.
2023 Honda cars will have free maintenance in 2022
It’s not new for car dealers to offer free maintenance plans on their new cars, but this will be a first for Honda. This is a good thing—Honda cars aren’t known for having the cheapest maintenance costs, and the cost of car ownership is rising.
What is covered under the Honda Service Pass maintenance plan? Per Cars.com, “covered services include oil and filter changes, tire rotations, and multi-point inspections for all 2023 Honda vehicles during the active time period” when completed at a participating Honda dealership. (The active time period is two years or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first.)
If you’ve been jonesing for a free oil change for your Honda, you’ll be a big fan of this new Service Pass.
What is complimentary scheduled service?
Complimentary scheduled service is pretty self-explanatory—though you do need to remember to schedule the appointments yourself. You may be more used to seeing free maintenance plans on a car lease, but more and more automakers are starting to offer these complimentary service plans on new car leases or purchases.
Free maintenance plans and complimentary scheduled service are different from prepaid car maintenance plans like Honda Care Maintenance. In prepaid plans, the dealership takes the expected price of a certain number of service visits over a certain period of time and rolls that into the overall cost of the car. Typically, you do end up saving a little bit of money.
These plans are also great for the dealership’s service center. It can keep customers coming back, who often spend more than the plan covers (things like tire changes are not included in the plan price). It also gets to maintain careful service records on these vehicles, which may come back in the future to be traded in and then re-sold on the used car lot.
Are free maintenance plans actually a good deal?
There are already quite a few car companies with free maintenance. These include BMW, Hyundai and Genesis, Jaguar, Jeep (as part of a loyalty program), Toyota and Lexus, and others. The maintenance plans and the length of time they cover service vary by brand.
In theory, it seems like a fantastic deal. Free service plans can give cars a huge advantage over other vehicles in the competitive sales market. However, it’s worth wondering how dealerships can afford to give away car service—one of their biggest moneymakers—for free.
Let’s take a look at the 2023 Honda Odyssey, which will offer this free maintenance plan. The 2022 model started at $33,040. The new 2023 Odyssey model will start at $37,340 for the base model. That’s a difference of $4,300. Even accounting for some good old inflation and a regular price boost of, say, $1,200, that’s still a roughly $3,000 price hike for the Odyssey with a free service plan.
According to Cars.com and AAA, average maintenance costs for a vehicle driving 15,000 miles per year are $1,433. And that is much less than the $3,000 price increase on the Odyssey.
Is it possible that Honda and other car companies simply pad the price of vehicles and then claim to offer free goodies? There’s no solid evidence of that being the case, but the math tracks. It’ll be interesting to see price differences for other new 2023 Honda cars with the free maintenance plan vs. 2022 Honda cars without one.
Is Honda Service Pass worth it?
Overall, yes. If you’re going to buy a 2023 Honda car or SUV anyway, the vehicle will likely include this service plan regardless. The convenience of not paying for car maintenance is a nice little perk when you go in for your routine service.
You could turn down the offer, but you wouldn’t be saving any money—in fact, you’d be throwing money away. The cost of the service is more than likely built into the price that you’ll pay for your Honda Odyssey, Civic, CR-V, or Accord.
However, if you don’t live close to the Honda dealership you’re purchasing from—or any Honda dealership—and would need to make a significant trip just to get service, Honda’s complimentary maintenance plan may actually end up costing you.