Comparing Car Maintenance Expenses Across Brands
Buying a new or used car can be incredibly exciting and can take your life in new directions that you didn’t see coming. With a vehicle that you love and can rely on, you can take summer road trips, commute with confidence, and drive around town in comfort and style. One thing to keep in mind, though, is the fact that the purchase price is most likely going to be the cheapest part of the process. The cost of maintenance and repairs contributes to the true cost of ownership for the vehicle and will have an impact on how much you spend to keep your new vehicle running.
Before you decide to buy a new car, it is important to know what to expect when it comes to maintenance and repair costs. While every individual vehicle will have its own costs, it is possible to estimate the yearly price of maintenance based on a vehicle’s automaker. Many different factors determine car maintenance costs, and knowing what they are and what the average price is will help you make the right choice at the dealership.
Factors that Influence Car Maintenance Costs
Maintaining your car will cost more or less depending on the type of vehicle you have and its specific requirements. Some vehicles are cheaper to maintain and need very little in the way of upkeep, while others are very high-maintenance and need consistent service to keep running smoothly. The main factor that will influence the cost of maintenance for your vehicle is the simplicity of the engine. Cars with turbochargers, many cylinders, and complex cooling and exhaust systems will cost a lot more to keep running. All of these individual systems need to be maintained, and this can add up over time.
In some cases, your vehicle may need the same maintenance procedures as another car but will simply need them more often. If, for example, your car tends to burn oil at a higher volume than another car, it will need more consistent oil changes and top-ups. If you have an all-wheel-drive vehicle, you will need to rotate the tires more often because all the tires will wear down since they are all spinning when the vehicle is in motion. Understanding the maintenance needs of a vehicle before you buy it will help you decide if the cost over time will be worth it in the long run.
Comparison of Car Brands
While some types of vehicles are more expensive to maintain than others, some automakers also have more expensive cars when it comes to their upkeep. Maintenance costs will change from model to model, but some vehicle brands are known for having a high cost of ownership. According to AAA, the average American driver spends $792 per year on service and maintenance for their vehicle. By knowing what you can expect to pay on a yearly basis to keep cars made by certain brands running, you can narrow down your search and make the best decision for your particular budget.
Honda has long been known as one of the most economically-oriented automakers on the market. Their eco-friendly and dependable cars are a go-to for people who want a simple vehicle to get them from point A to point B. According to RepairPal, Honda vehicles have an average annual maintenance cost of $428. This is fairly far below the national average, which means that if you are looking for a vehicle that has a low cost of ownership, like a Civic or a CR-V, Honda could be a great choice.
That being said, Honda vehicles still tend to have issues just like any other car. The most expensive of these issues is a camshaft replacement on the Honda Accord, which can cost anywhere between $794 and $875. Honda vehicles have a 4 out of 5 reliability rating, though, so the odds that you will have to bring your car in for a serious mechanical issue is relatively low.
Ford is one of the most recognizable automakers in the world and has been synonymous with American ingenuity and iconic muscle cars. They offer vehicles ranging from the sporty Mustang to the F-150 pickup, which is the best-selling truck of all time. Ford vehicles have an average annual maintenance cost of $775, which puts them right about at the national average. If you are interested in owning a car with the Ford nameplate and aren’t worried about keeping your maintenance costs below what is expected, they might be a good choice.
One of the issues with Ford vehicles, though, is that they are slightly less reliable than other cars on the market. With a 3.5 out of 5 reliability rating, they have a few more problems that can end up being serious and costly. The Ford Explorer, for example, tends to need an engine coolant temperature sensor replacement and a headlamp control module replacement, both of which can cost hundreds of dollars.
Just like Honda, Toyota is a hallmark of reliable, economical vehicles currently on the market. With popular trucks and SUVs like the Tacoma and RAV4, they are a favorite of people who like to do a little bit of off-roading whenever possible. Toyota vehicles have an annual average repair and maintenance cost of $441, which puts them at around the same level as Honda.
Toyota vehicles have an excellent reliability rating of 4 out of 5, which makes them a great choice if you need a car that you know will start every time you get behind the wheel. Most of their common issues are also relatively inexpensive. These include things like an oil cooler line replacement, which costs between $116 and $127, and a battery test, which is only $35 to $44.
BMW is an automaker that has consistently walked the line between performance and luxury. As a high-end luxury car brand, they have produced some of the most sought-after cars on the market. Their top-tier status, however, also makes them one of the more expensive brands to maintain. With an average cost of $968 per year, they are well above the national average.
BMW cars also have a very low 2.5 out of 5 rating for reliability, which means you can expect bigger, more expensive repairs down the line. Because of their high-quality parts and luxury brand status, repairs can be pricey. For example, one of the most common issues, an oil pan gasket replacement, can cost between $1,023 and $1,253. If you are looking to buy a vehicle that will not cost you much over the years, a BMW may not be the right choice.
Subaru vehicles are both versatile and capable, and they are an excellent choice for people who like to be able to drive their cars anywhere. With their signature all-wheel-drive and horizontally-opposed boxer engines, you can use a Subaru vehicle for almost anything. They also have an average annual vehicle maintenance cost of $617, which puts them below the national average and makes them a fairly affordable choice.
Subaru’s cars have a reliability ranking of 3.5 out of 5, which means they are slightly less likely to develop serious issues over time than other comparable vehicles. Their common issues are also very inexpensive, so you can expect to pay less for the problems that come up than you would if you drove a different automaker’s vehicle. The car repairs you are most likely to have to make include battery terminal cleaning and tire balancing, both of which cost between $26 and $33.
The Impact of Vehicle Model and Age on Maintenance Costs
Two of the changing factors that will determine the cost of maintenance for a vehicle are the model and the age of the car. While some automakers are known for having relatively low maintenance costs, some specific models may be more expensive than others. The best thing you can do is look up reviews from people who have owned a particular model that you are thinking of purchasing. If car owners have had a bad experience with a model, they will be more than happy to share that information.
The age and mileage of a car can also have a big impact on the cost of car ownership. As a vehicle ages, it may require more oil changes, tire rotations, and transmission service than it did when it was brand new. As vehicles age, parts wear down, and some systems, such as cooling, will be less effective than they once were. This means that you will have to increase the frequency with which you bring your car in for routine maintenance. This is relatively common across the board, though, and is something you can plan for as the years go by.
Tips to Reduce Car Maintenance Expenses
Believe it or not, the best thing you can do to keep the cost of owning your vehicle down is to bring it in for maintenance as often as possible. Well-maintained cars will almost always be cheaper to own in the long run. Even though you will have to pay for the maintenance up front, you will be preventing the bigger, more expensive issues that can come up due to a lack of upkeep. This also applies when purchasing a used vehicle. Make sure that any car you buy has a history of good maintenance and has been kept in the best possible shape.
Your driving habits can also have a big impact on your maintenance expenses. Try to be as gentle with your vehicle as you possibly can. Hard braking and steering can create issues with the components and cause them to wear out faster. You can also plan your trips around highway driving, which is relatively low-impact compared to surface street driving. Driving responsibly and safely will almost always be cheaper in the long run and will keep your car in good condition for many years to come.
Getting outside help with repairs or maintenance can also be a big help. A vehicle service contract, or VSC, is a great way to get help paying for service for your vehicle. With a coverage plan in place, you can take care of the smaller issues right away instead of having to save up for repairs. This reduces the chance that a small problem will turn into a big one and will help you keep your vehicle running smoothly.
Get Help With Your Vehicle’s Cost With Endurance
Buying a new or used car can be exciting, but it is important to know what you are signing up for. Understanding the costs associated with owning certain vehicles can help you make the most of your purchase and save as much money as possible. If you want to help keep your vehicle in the best condition, a VSC from Endurance is your best option.
Endurance has coverage plans for vehicles of all kinds, from basic powertrain coverage all the way up to plans for high-end luxury vehicles. Endurance also has coverage options available for cars that other providers won’t cover, such as Canadian Gray Market vehicles, cars with a rebuilt or salvage title, and vehicles used for commercial purposes like rideshare or delivery.
Every Endurance plan also comes with standard benefits like 24/7 roadside assistance, towing and lockout services, trip-interruption coverage, and rental car reimbursements. Plus, for a very small activation fee, you get a year’s worth of Endurance Elite Benefits, including extra perks and savings like key fob replacements, tire repairs or replacements, collision discounts, and total loss protection.
Experience our award-winning customer service firsthand by calling our dedicated team at (800) 253-8203 to request a FREE quote. Alternatively, explore our online store for an instant price preview and shop with confidence.
You can also find more resources on the Endurance blog, including articles on topics ranging from extended warranty coverage comparisons to vehicle buying guides, car insurance info, FAQs, DIY maintenance tips and tricks, and more.
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