If you plan to buy a new General Motors car soon, be prepared for some changes to their complimentary maintenance policies. The Buick, Cadillac, GMC, and Chevrolet manufacturer will now only provide one free maintenance visit during the first year instead of three years.
Changes are coming
In the past, when you bought a new GM vehicle, you could expect to get complimentary maintenance for three years. However, starting with the 2019 models, the company has cut this down to just one year. In addition, you only get one free visit that includes a tire rotation, oil change, and multipoint vehicle inspection. Moreover, you have to redeem the free visit within first 12 months of owning the car, or you risk losing it.
General Motors appears to be copying some of the other car manufacturers that offer fewer complimentary maintenance visits for new car owners. For example, like GM, Audi only gives one year of free service. On the other hand, brands like BMW still provide three years of complimentary visits.
Why did GM decide to cut its popular complimentary visits policy? The answer seems to be simple: saving money. In the first quarter of 2019, the company reported higher than expected earnings. Eliminating free maintenance services helps the company save money long-term without seriously affecting car buyers.
When you look at the auto industry as a whole, you can see there’s a trend of disappearing or decreasing complimentary maintenance for new cars. Free service visits were a popular standard for several years that attracted buyers. However, the industry is slowly shifting away from these free features, and General Motors isn’t the only company to do it.
For instance, BMW used to offer four years or 50,000 miles of complimentary maintenance for new vehicles. Today, this has been reduced to three years or 36,000 miles, and the coverage is lower. BMW no longer offers to replace items due to wear. The list of covered items has shrunk considerably, and it limits the maintenance to just a few items.
Not only are car manufacturers reducing the years for their free service, but they’re also making it harder to use. Many companies limit the models that get complimentary maintenance. Some don’t allow you to transfer the free service visits when you sell the car to another owner.
Another trend that’s appearing in the industry is the limitation of complimentary maintenance for luxury vehicles. For instance, BMW and Jaguar still have somewhat generous policies compared to other brands. As brands continue to make changes, it’s possible that luxury vehicles will be the only ones to have free service visits in the future.
Although more brands are shifting their complimentary maintenance policies, they’re replacing them with another option for car owners. Loyalty programs like GM’s My Chevrolet Rewards let you earn points that you can later redeem for paid services or items. Getting regular service visits and paying for parts or accessories is one of the ways you can earn points. Once you’ve accumulated enough points, you can redeem them to pay for service visits at the participating dealerships or other things.
Loyalty programs require customers to pay for something before they earn points, so they’re not the same as free maintenance. However, as companies search for ways to cut costs, you may see more loyalty programs in the future and fewer free offers.