Turns out, you can now avoid paying for routine maintenance (everything from oil changes to windshield wiper replacements) if you buy or lease a Cadillac or Lincoln. Those luxury U.S. bands have joined BMW, Volkswagen, and others in offering free maintenance to lure buyers.
As MoneyWatch recently reported, dealer's service departments often charge more than independent mechanic shops (see Auto Repair: Save $300 by Avoiding Dealers). But getting maintenance done free at the dealer is a pretty good incentive to bring your car in there.
Cadillac, which calls its plan Cadillac Premium Care Maintenance, will provide free scheduled maintenance on all its 2011 models for four years or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first. This free maintenance includes oil changes, replacing air filters, and tire rotation. The program will take effect late this summer when the first 2011 Caddys arrive at dealers. They'll be from the CTS line, including the CTS Sport Wagon pictured here.
Lincoln takes a slightly different approach. It's offering free maintenance (for three years or 45,000 miles) on any 2010 or 2011 vehicle sold between now and Sept. 7. It also covers oil changes and air filters but adds additional items such as belts and hoses and replacing brake pads. Those brake pads could otherwise break the bank; the AutoMD car-repair advice site says they can cost $330 at a dealership.
Though the free maintenance concept originated with European luxury brands, some mid-price brands now offer it as well. Here is a rundown on car companies with free maintenance and what's covered. Except for Jaguar, all of these are providing free maintenance for their 2010 and 2011 models.
BMW covers a wide range of items including brake pads and rotors for four years or 50,000 miles.
Jaguar is starting a program for all its 2011 models covering owners on a full array of maintenance for five years or 50,000 miles, longer than its competitors.
Mini has shorter coverage than its parent BMW: three years or 36,000 miles But it does include brake pad and belt replacement.
Volkswagen covers maintenance visits for three years or 36,000 miles but does not include items such as brake pads.
Volvo covers the first four maintenance visits over three years or 36,000 miles, not including brake pads.
Photo courtesy of General Motors
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