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Many buyers may only focus on the sale price of a new or used car, but maintenance costs and reliability are also vital factors to consider. A low asking price may not be worth the potential of thousands of dollars in repairs, after all. So, how do Volkswagen models fare regarding maintenance? One VW model stands out with the lowest annual maintenance costs among the brand, and it’s not the infamous Beetle.

Volkswagen models have ‘above average’ ownership costs

RepairPal ranks Volkswagen No. 12 out of 32 automotive brands for overall reliability based on data from 345 unique models from various manufacturers. That ranking is based on the average annual maintenance cost for VW models, how many visits to a repair shop they require per year, and the probability of such a repair being “severe.”

RepairPal states the average annual repair cost for Volkswagen models is $676, giving VWs “above average” ownership costs. The average model will require 0.5 trips to a repair shop per year, and there is an 11% probability a “severe” repair will be needed, the publication notes.

Volkswagen’s middle-of-the-pack ownership costs are notably higher than the leader of the group, Honda. Models from the Japanese brand average $248 per year less in maintenance costs and have a lower chance ( 10%) of a “severe” repair being required. VW’s fellow German automaker, Porsche, has the highest annual ownership costs, with an average of $1,192 required for yearly maintenance.

The VW with the lowest maintenance cost is relatively ancient

Those with their eyes set on purchasing a Volkswagen with the lowest annual maintenance costs will have to go the old-school route. According to RepairPal, the VW model with the lowest yearly ownership costs is the Fox. If that nameplate doesn’t ring a bell, it’s because the Fox was sold in the U.S. from 1987-1993 as an entry-level, two- or four-door sedan or as a two-door wagon until 1990.

The average annual maintenance cost of a VW Fox is $411, putting it below the average costs for all modern models from the brand. The most common problems reported by Fox owners are ignition wires breaking down and causing misfires, coolant, and oil leaks, a failing transmission oil cooler leading to transmission damage, and reverse gear failures in manual transmission models.

Of course, not everyone will pay a little less on maintenance costs to ride around in a 30-year-old sedan. So, how do the Fox’s maintenance costs compare with that of VW’s more modern and smallest offering, the recently discontinued Beetle?

The Volkswagen Beetle requires over $600 in annual maintenance costs

The Volkswagen Beetle was discontinued in 2019, but there is still a rash of the two-door coupes for sale on the used market at relatively affordable prices. However, its annual maintenance costs are a bit high. The average Beetle model will require $612 per year in maintenance and repair costs. Fortunately for prospective buyers, the Beetle’s most reported problems are relatively minor. The most common issue reported by owners was power windows failing, premature headlight burnout and bulb harness failure, ignition component/engine coolant temperature sensor failure, and a flasher relay causing “erratic” turn signal operation.

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