Edmunds: New car maintenance perks aren’t what they used to be

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Auto manufacturers appear to be reining in their maintenance plans for new cars, according to an industry follower.

Edmunds reported that a new BMW in 2016 came with 50,000 miles of free maintenance. That’s now been reduced to 36,000 miles and excludes some parts the regularly wear out, like brake pads and rotors. Multiple news outlets published Edmunds’ look at maintenance plans this week.

Edmunds also found that General Motors cut back on maintenance plans for Buick, Cadillac and Chevrolet brands, and the dollar savings don’t add up like they used to. Savings through Chevrolet’s offered maintenance plans, for example, went from $752 in 2018 to $173 this year, according to Edmunds’ calculations.

“Free maintenance programs are expensive endeavors for automakers and may not be providing the differentiation that manufacturers had hoped they would,” Edmunds analyst Jeremy Acevedo said. “With these programs having been available for some time now, automakers can revisit them to assess where the value is for shoppers and what expensive elements can be eliminated.”

Some companies still offer robust maintenance offerings with new vehicles, Edmunds noted. Others restrict plans to certain models or high-end brands. Edmunds said that the bottom line when looking for a new car is to focus more on the vehicle itself rather than perks.

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