There are many different factors the typical person takes into consideration when looking to purchase a new vehicle. Everyone has their own individual needs, but it’s safe to say we all generally look for the same things: space/size, mileage, durability, able to withstand local climate, price, and work-related needs. We want to get the most bang for our buck, so to speak, and a big factor in the decision we have to make when purchasing a vehicle is how much it’ll cost us over the course of the vehicle’s lifetime. After all, a relatively low price upfront can easily be offset over the years if you’re in constant need of repairs and costly ones at that.
There are two things to keep in mind when trying to calculate how expensive a car will be to maintain over the years you plan on keeping it: the frequency of repairs and how much these repairs actually cost. Repairs are inevitable, though of course, you want to keep them to a minimum. However, it’s important to acknowledge regular maintenance is what will keep your vehicle running well for longer. Secondly, some vehicles cost more to repair than others due to the specific parts, complexity, etc. You could find yourself in a scenario where a similar repair in two vehicles could cost more for one of them due to the nature of their build.
No one but you can say what motivates you the most when buying a vehicle. It could be status and luxury. But if you’re like many people, the bottom line is what will motivate you to make your decision. The question then becomes what brands cost the least to maintain? How about which ones are the most expensive? Do Honda repairs cost less than Lexus repairs on average? How about Toyota repairs? Are Audi repairs as expensive as one would think? We have a fairly good idea of what the answers are to those questions due to the wide variety of vehicles that have come through the shop over the years.
If you’ve been wondering which auto makes will help you stretch your dollar the most, we’ve got the information you need. Let’s take a look at some brands.
The Most Expensive Auto Makes to Maintain
In the grand tradition of the “bad news or good news first?” conundrum, we’re opting for the not so great news first so we can soften the blow in the next section. Now, if you own a vehicle by one of these brands, we’re not saying you’re going to need to dip into your children’s college fund to keep them running. But, know that on average these auto makes tend to cost a bit more to maintain relatively speaking.
If you have a preference for German cars, unfortunately, you’ll also be dealing with high repair costs due to German cars in the aggregate costing the most to maintain overall.
BMW tends to lead the pack here when talking about costs in the long term. It is true that maintenance and repair costs are low for BMWs if you’re talking about the first five years. During this initial period of ownership, the company offers free maintenance under warranty. However, once that warranty expires, you’ll begin to see costs pile up. On average, BMWs cost significantly more per year to maintain than other brands.
Mercedes-Benz and Audi are up there as well. But, not to pile too much on German manufacturers, Cadillac is high up on the list as well.
What luxury car models all have in common that make them so expensive to maintain is that they are more complex in their construction, making parts and labor more costly. For example, in the case of Audis, consider that while many cars allow you to replace the brake pads with minimal issues, an Audi model will have computerized sensors on the brakes which require a longer amount of time to navigate. Making this repair is more complicated.
Another important thing to note is that it’s not just luxury models. While nowhere near the highest in terms of cost, in fact it’s in the middle of the pack, brands like Kia can cost a good amount to maintain overall despite being some of the lowest cost vehicles up front. In fact, it’s the brands with the lowest sticker costs that cost the most to maintain after the luxury brands.
The Least Expensive Auto Makes to Maintain
If you didn’t see your particular auto make in the above section, you might be lucky enough to find it in this one. Here are some of the more cost effective brands when it comes to repairs. It may not surprise you to hear that Japanese cars tend to cost the least to maintain.
Honda repairs make the list for the least costly. Interestingly it isn’t so much because the parts and labor are extraordinarily cheap when it comes to the competition. Rather, Honda makes the list because of their remarkable durability and less of a need for repairs overall throughout their life cycles. Hondas are known to not only be durable but also great at retaining their value. This is why you can find even older Hondas with some clear wear and tear on them still fetching some incredible prices on the independent seller market.
Toyota repairs also cost less overall. In fact, they are considered one of the cheapest auto makes to maintain over a period of ten years and beyond. The reason for this is threefold. They consistently get high marks for the fewest incidences of “check engine” related lamp problems, their repairs aren’t as involved as some of their luxury counterparts, and generally, the parts needed aren’t very costly. Less of a need to perform repairs combined with lower repair costs when they do happen, make Toyota a popular brand with the budget conscious.
Nissan, while not in the lowest priced tier, is still relatively cost effective. It approaches Kia territory of the middle of the pack, while not being quite as expensive to maintain during the advanced years of ownership. As a brand, what makes them not quite as competitive as Honda or Toyota is the increase in repairs needed in some of the older Nissan models that are still on the road which aren’t quite as durable as models from recent years.
Whether you have a vehicle that is on the most expensive least or the least expensive, a big contributor to keeping costs down in the long run is performing regular preventative maintenance. By being serious about the upkeep of your vehicle, you can mitigate some of the bigger expenses that come up down the road with years and miles of wear and tear.
At Independent Motors we value our ability to deliver professional auto services at a fair price. We know that saving money when possible is important to you as a customer. We specialize in many different types of auto makes and we’ll perform the repairs needed to keep your car running reliably. Call us today and schedule a time to bring your vehicle in. Our experienced technicians will give you honest answers about the kind of repairs your vehicle needs and will perform them at competitive prices.