A common assumption among many people is that Volkswagens are challenging to maintain and repair. Drivers have always loved the performance and fun-to-drive factor of VWs. But a general belief has been that parts are hard to find and that there would be a long wait for them.
Another belief is that VW’s “complicated German engineering” requires a mechanic with highly specialized knowledge to fix the car. And if your VW went in for repairs, forget it. It could take weeks before someone figured out the problem.
The reality behind the assumption
In retrospect, some truth hides underneath these ideas. Years ago, certain VW parts were indeed hard to find because they had to be imported from Germany or Mexico.
In the early 2000s, some diagnostic codes on VW Jettas and Passats couldn’t be picked up by electronic code readers. VW mechanics had to rely on their specialized training to troubleshoot these cars mechanically. This labor-intensive process cost owners valuable time and, if the car was off warranty, considerable money.
And until 2006, Volkswagen used a boxer engine configuration in most of its cars. Some do-it-yourselfers (and some mechanics) felt that this configuration was hard to access and repair.
But Volkswagen has taken a quantum leap forward in dispelling these long-instilled beliefs. Maintenance on its cars has become easier and more economical, just as it has with a Toyota. The reason for this is because, like Toyota, VW is now one of the world’s largest vehicle makers.
Volkswagen goes global
In 2018 alone, Volkswagen has sold 10.8 million vehicles. It surpassed Toyota last year and has outranked giants such as Hyundai, General Motors, and Ford in sales volume for the past few years.
Volkswagen has expanded through the acquisition of several vehicle brands over the years. It began with the purchase of Audi in 1966 and went on to acquire Bentley, Lamborghini, and Bugatti in 1998.
The vehicle maker snapped up Porsche and Ducati in 2012 as well as European brands Skoda and SEAT. It’s also been making a strong showing in China and other Asian markets in the 2010s.
6 reasons why it’s now easier and cheaper to maintain and fix a Volkswagen
In 2015, however, Volkswagen was entangled in an emission scandal that seriously threatened its reputation. Since then VW has worked hard to win back car buyers. Simplifying maintenance and repair was one major way to appeal to potential customers.
Here are six reasons why this automaker is able to do this.
Widely available parts
If you do your own maintenance, Volkswagen now has 650 dealerships where you can purchase parts. You can also buy VW parts online from Volkswagen’s website, automotive retailers such as Advance Auto Parts, and specialty automotive e-commerce sites. You might be able to save money if you shop around.
Lower chance of a repair being severe
According to RepairPal.com, Volkswagens are slightly less likely to need urgent repairs as compared to other cars. Fewer severe repairs can save you money, not mention the inconvenience.
Volkswagen offers a six-year/72,000-mile bumper-to-bumper transferable warranty on all new models except the e-Golf. But if you’re thinking of buying a VW you should do it now because VW will be cutting it back to a four-year/50,000-mile warranty for 2020 models.
Most VW models rate higher than average for reliability. For example, the Tiguan has a J.D. Power reliability score of 4 out of 5, according to U.S. News & World Report.
Non-dealership certified VW mechanics
You don’t have to go to a dealership to have your VW repaired as long as the mechanic you go to is Volkswagen-certified. This may save you some money on labor as compared to going to the dealership.
Cheaper to maintain over the long haul
On the YourMechanic.com website, estimates of total car maintenance over 10 years show that Volkswagen is one of the more economical cars to maintain.
It costs $7,800 to maintain a VW over this time period, which is only $600 more than a Honda. For comparison, the BMW is the most expensive at $17,800.
Of course, you can save yourself money and grief if you maintain your Atlas or Arteon according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Also, fun driving that pushes your GTI or Beetle a little harder means that you’ll need to be more attentive than usual for maintenance.
But with Volkswagen making it easier and more affordable to take care of your new VW these days, so you can enjoy it with fewer worries.