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The Complete Cost Of Maintaining A Volkswagen

The Complete Cost Of Maintaining A Volkswagen

When you’re in the market for a new or used Volkswagen, you’ll eventually wonder what a Volkswagen generally costs in maintenance. In this blog, we’ve done our absolute best to give you a complete rundown of the costs and what you can expect for different models and model years. Let’s start with a quick answer:

Volkswagen have average annual maintenance cost of $679 per year. This is slightly higher than the average $646 for all car brands. However, Volkswagens are more expensive to maintain than similar brands such as Chrysler ($608), Buick ($608), and Acura ($501).

However, that certainly doesn’t tell the whole story. Below, we’ll start by looking at the annual maintenance cost of the most popular models and their corresponding model years. Furthermore, We’ll look at the eight most common service points and discuss what a Volkswagen costs you in this regard. We’ll also compare the annual maintenance costs of a Volkswagen to 23 other car brands and discuss why a Volkswagen is considered cheap or expensive in maintenance. Read on!

How Expensive Are Volkswagen Models To Maintain?

First of all, we feel it’s essential to understand how much each model, and different model years, cost per year in terms of maintenance. For this, we’ve taken data from Repairpal. We’ve compiled this data in the table below.

What becomes clear by looking at this table is that there are some differences between the certain cars that are sold in the United States. For example, both the Tiguan and the Touareg seem to have higher maintenance costs than the other cars. However, this is logical because these cars are SUVs, whereas the other cars are sedans/hatchbacks.

When we look at the cost of the Tiguan, we see that these start quite reasonable and remain like that for quite some time. Paying $500 – $700 in annual maintenance costs for an SUV is entirely normal. However, the later model years end up in the $800 – $950 region, which is quite expensive.

On the other hand, the Touareg is quite expensive to begin with, and never seems to drop down substantially. This does seem something to be aware of when you’re in the market for a Volkswagen SUV.

2019 x x x x x x
2018 $580 x x x x x
2017 $451 $587 $441 $484 $   777 $565
2016 $531 $535 $469 $485 $   842 $573
2015 $558 $577 $553 $556 $   974 $649
2014 $620 $613 $609 $606 $   861 $627
2013 $701 $655 $652 $724 $1,059 $601
2012 $828 $630 $652 $656 $   977 $687
2011 $890 x $612 $797 $   894 $677
2010 $909 $592 $636 $886 $   794 $587
2009 $937 $668 $637 $635 $   712 x
2008 x $521 $523 $557 $   775 x
2007 x $456 $449 x x x

Then there are the sedans/hatchbacks, which make up the most significant part of the Volkswagen line-up. We can conclude from this that the Volkswagen sedans are on the higher end of what we would expect to pay. For example, neither the Beetle nor the Golf is a very large car, but you’ll still pay $500 – $700 per year.

The same pattern can be seen with the Passat and the Jetta. In this case, these cars start reasonably well at the $450 – $550 mark, but in some cases, the Passat ends up in the $800 range, which is outrageously expensive for a sedan.

Are Parts And Services Expensive For A Volkswagen?

Furthermore, it’s essential to discuss the average cost of general maintenance tasks. This way, you know what to expect from your Volkswagen, and you’ll be able to see if specific maintenance is more expensive than others.

Oil Change

An oil change on a Volkswagen will generally cost you $131 – $173. On average, an oil change costs $40 – $60 for conventional oil and $60 – 120 for full synthetic oil for a car. Therefore, Volkswagens are more expensive than average.

Brake Pads

Replacing the brake pads on a Volkswagen costs between $193 – $323 per axle. On average, brake pad replacement costs between $150 – $300 per axle. Therefore, most Volkswagens have a standard price for this maintenance task.


Replacing filters is also a task you’ll encounter from time to time. The fuel filter is generally the most expensive filter to replace. Replacing a fuel filter in a Volkswagen will cost $105 – $358. Replacing a cabin air filter is $56 – 76 and replacing an air filter is $53 – $87.

Typically, replacing a fuel filter costs between $80 – $150. This means replacing the fuel filter on a Volkswagen is much more expensive. It seems that the Touareg is the one driving up the cost here, and maybe the fuel filter on this car lasts longer, which means replacing it is more expensive, but we weren’t able to verify this.

Replacing a cabin air filter costs typically between $60 – $80, meaning Volkswagen is about average. Replacing the air filter costs usually $50 – $70, which means Volkswagen is average or slightly more expensive.


The average price to replace a Volkswagen battery is $228 – $448. On average, replacing a car battery costs between $120 – $240. This means that Volkswagen has much higher costs for this, and especially the battery of the Touareg will set you back well over $400.

Timing Belt/Chain

Another replacement that you’ll come across when owning a car is a timing belt/chain replacement. Timing belts/chains need to be replaced around the 100,000 miles mark. Some Volkswagens have a timing belt, and some have a chain; this can also differ within models and depends on the engine used.

On average, replacing a timing belt on a Volkswagen will cost between $500 and $1,000, whereas replacing a timing chain will cost $1,000 – $1,300.

Tire Rotation And Replacement

Replacing a set of tires on a Volkswagen will cost $250 – $600. The Touareg will set you back $400 – $600 for a set, whereas a smaller car like the Jetta will cost between $250 – $400.

On average, a single tire costs $50 on the low end for sedans and smaller cars, whereas it can cost up to $500 per tire for SUVs and trucks that require a premium tire. Volkswagen is, therefore, about average but not on the premium side of things.

Spark Plugs

Replacing a set of spark plugs costs between $158 – $258 per set for a Volkswagen. On average, it costs $75 – $250 to replace a set of spark plugs. This means that replacing spark plugs on a Volkswagen has an average cost.

Headlight Bulbs

On average, it costs between $89 – $259 to replace a set of headlight bulbs on a Volkswagen. On average, replacing headlight bulbs costs between $100 – $150 for a set. Volkswagen is therefore average or more expensive. In this case, it’s again the Touareg that drives up the price considerably.

Is Volkswagen More Or Less Expensive Compared To Other Brands?

Knowing everything we know now, it’s essential to have a final look at Volkswagen as a brand. For this, we’ve compiled data from 23 other carmakers. The average annual maintenance costs of each carmaker are in the table below. By comparing all brands to each other, we understand how expensive a brand truly is in maintenance.

The table below shows that Volkswagens have average annual maintenance costs of $676 per year. This means they end up on the higher end of the spectrum, just below the car manufacturers that mainly produce larger vehicles and those that focus on luxury cars. Considering that all carmakers’ average annual maintenance costs end up at $646, this means Volkswagen is slightly more expensive than average.

However, Volkswagen does end up being much more expensive than many other brands, especially the Asian carmakers, who seem to have a cost advantage. In the following subheading, we’ll discuss why Volkswagen has the price it has.

BrandAverage Annual Maintenance Costs
Honda $428
Toyota $441
Mazda $462
Hyundai $468
Kia $474
Nissan $500
Acura $501
Mitsubishi $535
Lexus $551
Buick  $608
Chrysler $608
Subaru $617
Dodge $634
Jeep $634
Infiniti $638
Chevrolet $649
Volkswagen $676
GMC $744
Volvo $769
Ford $775
Cadillac  $783
RAM $858
Lincoln $879
Mercedes $908
 BMW  $968

Why Are Volkswagen So Expensive To Maintain?

The final question we need to answer is why Volkswagen seems to be quite expensive in terms of maintenance when comparing the brand to all the other car makers. Volkswagen does produce good cars in general, but it’s not like they’re manufacturing incredibly large cars or that they push the boundaries of performance and/or luxury.

We could give you a very long conclusion, but in a nutshell, it boils down to the fact that Volkswagens end up at the garage much more often, with more serious problems, compared to other brands.

If you think Volkswagen is best compared to brands like Honda and Nissan, then the numbers look as follows:

  • Hondas end up at the garage for unexpected maintenance around 0.31 times per year with a 10% chance of having a severe problem.
  • Nissans end up at the garage for unexpected maintenance around 0.31 times per year with a 13% chance of a severe problem.

Meanwhile, Volkswagens end up at the garage around 0.49 times per year and have a 13% chance of having a severe problem. The main differentiator here is that Volkswagens need to go to the garage more often, which drives up the price.

However, let’s say you feel Volkswagen is best compared to Chrysler, Buick, and Acura (more upper-end brands). Then the numbers look as follows:

  • Chrysler: 0.3 times per year with a 12% chance of serious problems.
  • Buick: 0.32 times per year with a 13% chance of serious problems.
  • Acura: 0.39 times per year with an 8% chance of serious problems.

Again, we see that Volkswagens end up at the garage more often, which drives up the bill considerably. It’s not like you pay an outrageous amount to maintain a Volkswagen; it’s just that there are financially better options out there.


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