My hope is that as you read this, you are still holding on to the fancy brochure for ‘Audi Care’ or ‘Audi Care Plus’ and haven’t pulled the trigger to purchase it just yet. Audi Care is your local dealership’s service or maintenance warranty package that covers your Audi service needs for up to 45,000 miles for the basic plan and 75,000 miles for the ‘Plus’ plan.
To be clear, You do not have to have your new Audi Serviced by the dealership to maintain your Audi’s manufacturer warranty, and don’t let them make you feel that way.
Over the years I have had more experience than one should when it comes to all sorts of warranties and service agreements. One thing to keep in mind is that you should always consider extended warranties. Don’t dismiss them as if you were buying a BluRay player at BestBuy; they do have their place and can make sense. At the risk of making a broad, generalized statement, the Audi Care plans are a great deal – As long as you own the dealership. Otherwise both the Audi Care and Audi Care Plus plans are simply a waste of money. If you have lost your brochure, and need a refresher as to what these plans provide, I’ve included the link to an online version of it:
As you can see, there are 4 different levels of this plan depending on which Audi you own. We’ll focus on the most common plan, the second tier Audi Care and Audi Care Plus plan which covers the A4, A5, A6, A7, Q5, and Q7 models. This is the most purchased plan simply due to the fact that Audi sells more of these vehicles than any other in their product line. The first fundamental problem I have with these plans is that you cannot purchase one or the other from the start. You seem to be only able to purchase the ‘Plus’ plan once you hit a certain mileage, and then get approval to buy it. No need to worry however, as you aren’t going to want either of them.
What does it cost?
Audi Care – $860
Audi Care Plus – $1,190.
Total – $2,050
What does it cover?
This is where the fine print gets fancy. Once you read through all the ‘coverage’ you are able to see what this plan actually provides when you bring your car in for service. Here’s a short break-down as to what you will actually get when you use your plan, and what it should actually cost, leaving out all of the ‘extras’ that you should never pay for like checking tire pressure or making sure you have enough coolant:
1. 15,000 miles – You get an oil change. Now, if you are serious about your Audi ‘Care’, this should be your third oil change. What it should cost – $65-85
2. 25,000 miles – You get another oil change, if you’re lucky you might get a new air filter. What it should cost – $85-105
3. 35,000 miles – Oil change once again and the replacement of your spark plugs. What it should cost – $180-250
4. 45,000 miles – Final oil change under the plan, and possibly another air filter and cabin filter. What it should cost – $85-115
What should this cost? On the high end, assuming that you have the V6, you’re looking at about $550, on the low end you’d be at $415. If you’ve got a base A4, congratulations as you’ve just paid double for the service that you’ve received, and worse still, you’ve paid it up front, allowing Audi to make some interest off of you for the last 4 years or so once you hit 45,000 miles.
Audi Care Plus
1. 55,000 miles – Oil change and another set of spark plugs – What it should cost – $180-250
2. 65,000 miles – Oil change and probably another air filter – What it should cost – $85-105
3. 75,000 miles – You receive your final oil change and another set of plugs – What it should cost -$180-250
Again, on the high end these services should cost you about $605 vs the $1,190 you will pay and on the low end of the plan you’ll wind up over paying for these items by almost $700. Worse still is that in another 5,000 miles you are probably going to be due for a timing belt, and they’ve never once changed your fuel filter, among other things. Provided you have already bought both the Audi Care and Audi Care Plus plans you have spent nearly $2000 for about $900 worth of service. Bad deal.
My suggestion with any warranty or service agreement is to always consider your options. All of these warranties and plans have a decent amount of fine print which you don’t really need to read to see if it is right for you. Just look at what the coverage provides and do some research as to what the covered services would actually cost you if you were being charged a fair rate. The only reason these plans seem to make financial sense is that they are based on over-inflated service costs to begin with.
If you are still deciding on the Audi Care and Audi Care Plus plans, my advice is to find a trusted local independent service facility that you can trust and that has experience with Audi vehicle maintenance and see what these services will cost you. Take the nearly $2000 for this plan and put it in a money-market account for later use. You’ll spend a lot less money in the long run and gain a modest amount of interest at the same time!
Servicing BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz
5836 Autoport Mall
San Diego CA 92121