Car maintenance: The most expensive and cheapest cars to maintain


Posted by: Jane Osuagwu

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Before you decide to buy your dream car,also consider the cost of maintaining it. Check out the most expensive and cheapest cars to maintain now!

Becoming a car owner goes way beyond buying a car. It comes with a price too. Car maintenance is a duty every driver must perform for the proper performance of his car and also extending its lifespan. And while the cost of maintaining a car adds up as the car ages, the fuel consumption rates of each car differs as well as the cost of keeping the car running.


Toyota has left an indelible mark on users' minds as a brand of reliability, a mobile car repair provider, made some analysis with the data of different car make and models they've serviced in America, and the type of maintenance done on the cars. The data was used to ascertain which car often breaks down and whose maintenance costs the most. And also, to know the type of car maintenance that's common to a car brand.

They explained here,

First, we looked at which major brands cost the most to maintain over the first 10 years of a car’s life. We grouped all years of all models by brand to compute their median cost by brand. In order to estimate annual maintenance costs, we found the amount spent on every two oil changes (as oil changes are generally done every six months)

So here on, we'll be presenting the data to you. See them below.

Which car brands are the most expensive to maintain?

This data is based on an estimate of a car's total maintenance for 10 years.

The most expensive car brands to maintain   
 Rank  Car Brand  Cost
 1  BMW  $17,800
 2  Mercedes-Benz  $12,900
 3  Cadillac  $12,500
 4  Volvo  $12,500
 5  Audi  $12,400
 6  Saturn  $12,400
 7  Mercury  $12,000
 8  Pontiac  $11,800
 9  Chrysler  $10,600
 10  Dodge  $10,600
 11  Acura  $9,800
 12  Infiniti  $9,300
 13  Ford  $9,100
 14  Kia  $8,800
 15  Land Rover  $8,800
 16  Chevrolet  $8,800
 17  Buick  $8,600
 18  Jeep  $8,300
 19  Subaru  $8,200
 20  Hyundai  $8,200
 21  GMC  $7,800
 22  Volkswagen  $7,800
 23  Nissan  $7,600
 24  Mazda  $7,500
 25  Mini  $7,500
 26  Mitsubishi  $7,400
 27  Honda  $7,200
 28  Lexus  $7,000
 29  Scion  $6,400
 30  Toyota  $5,500

Luxury vehicles imported from Germany like the Mercedes-Benz and BMW, together with Cadillac, a domestic luxury brand, ranks the most expensive cars to maintain.

For the Toyota brand, the cost of maintenance over 10 years is less than $10,000 compared to others.This makes Toyota the most economical car manufacturer. Following Toyota as the second and third least inexpensive cars are Scion and Lexus. Both brands are made by Toyota. All three of them are below the average cost by 10%.

In the table above, domestic car brands Dodge and Ford happens to be in the middle.

Luxury cars were expected to be the most expensive to maintain, however many budget-friendly cars ranked higher. An entry-level car brand Kia, surprisingly had a maintenance cost that's 1.3 times more than the average cost. Here, sticker prices were excluded from maintenance costs.


Kia, though put alongside other entry-level car brand, is the one with 1.3 times higher cost for maintenance

It's quite informative to know brands relative maintenance cost. However, considering how the maintenance cost of a car changes with age is also important. The table looked at the median yearly car maintenance cost across all the brands.

As the car ages, maintenance cost increases. There is an increase of $150 in cost, which was consistent each year from the 1st year to the 10th year. Between 11-12 years, there was a distinct jump. And after 13 years of age, the cost came flat to $2,000 per year. The reason could be that people stopped spending on their car when the maintenance cost became higher than the car's worth.

When you come down to a car brand, their cars aren't produced equally. So, how do you compare specific models to one another?

The table below was drilled down and specific car models were examined to know their maintenance costs in 10 years.

Which car models are the most expensive to maintain?

Let's see the cars below.

The most expensive car models to maintain   
 Rank  Car Brand  Cost
 1  Chrysler Sebring  $17,100
 2  BMW 328i  $15,600
 3  Nissan Murano  $14,700
 4  Mercedes-Benz E350  $14,700
 5  Chevrolet Cobalt  $14,500
 6  Dodge Grand Caravan  $14,500
 7  Dodge Ram 1500  $13,300
 8  Audi A4 Quattro  $12,800
 9  Mazda 6  $12,700
 10  Subaro Forester  $12,200
 11  Acura TL  $12,100
 12  Nissan Maxima  $12,000
 13  Chrysler 300  $12,000
 14  Ford Mustang  $11,900
 15  Audi A4  $11,800
 16  Volkswagen Passat  $11,600
 17  Ford Focus  $11,600
 18  Chevrolet Impala  $11,500
 19  Honda Pilot  $11,200
 20  Mini Cooper  $11,200


For the 20 most expensive car models, their minimum maintenance cost requires a staggering amount of $11,000 in 10 years. The estimates included were costs made once, like transmission rebuild which placed the mean higher.'s data discovered that the car model with the most expensive maintenance cost is the Chrysler Sebring. This could be the reason it got a revamp in 2010. Following Chrysler in the most expensive to maintain cars are the BMW 328i, the Mercedes Benz E350 and other luxurious models like the Audi Quattro.


The Chrysler Sebring tops the list of the most expensive models to maintain

Now you know which cars can dig a hole in your account. Let's check out cars that you can rely on as a thrifty choice.

Which are the cheapest cars to maintain?

Check them out in the table.

The cheapest car models to maintain   
 Rank  Car Brand  Cost
 1  Toyota Prius  $4,300
 2  Kia Soul  $4,700
 3 Toyota Camry $5,200
 4 Honda Fit $5,500
 5 Toyota Tacoma $5,800
 6 Toyota Corolla $5,800
 7 Nissan Versa $5,900
 8 Toyota Yaris $6,100
 9 Scion xB $6,300
 10 Kia Optima $6,400
11 Lexus IS250 $6,500
12 Nissan Rogue $6,500
13 Toyota Highlander $6,600
14 Honda Civic $6,600
15 Honda Accord $6,600
16 Volkswagen Jetta $6,800
17 Lexus RS350 $6,900
18 Ford Fusion $7,000
19 Nissan Sentra $7,200
20 Subaru Impreza $7,500

The table shows Toyota and other Asian cars taking the lead as the cheapest cars to maintain, while the Prius maintains its reputation for reliability. The Honda Fit and Kia Soul are also following many Toyota models in the low-cost lead. The low-cost leading board also has Toyota Tacoma and Highlander on it too. Although mid-sized and compact sedans dominated the list, Toyota was careful to avoid making the list for the most expensive models.


The Toyota Highlander is among the cheapest cars to maintain

To be specific, why are some car brands more expensive when compared to other brands?

Some car brands are known to have a higher occurrence of routine maintenance. However, some car brands are also prone to break down the same way too.

The brands whose maintenance requirements occur unusually for that specific brand were examined. The frequency of the issue common to the brand was compared across all the cars serviced.

Unusually common car issues

See the issues and their number of frequency.

Issues discovered by YourMechanic and number of frequency  
 Car Brand  Car Issue  Issue Frequency
 Mercury  Fuel pump replacement  28x
 Chrysler  Exhaust gas recirculation/EGR valve replacement  24x
 Infiniti  Camshaft position sensor replacement  21x
 Cadillac  Intake manifold gasket replacement  19x
 Jaguar  Check engine light is on inspection  19x
 Pontiac  Intake manifold gasket replacement  19x
 Dodge  Exhaust gas recirculation/EGR valve replacement  19x
 Plymouth  Not starting inspection  19x
 Honda  Valve clearance adjustment  18x
 BMW  Window regular replacement  18x
 Ford  PCV valve hose replacement  18x
 BMW  Idler pulley replacement  18x
 Chrysler  Overheating inspection  17x
 Saturn  Wheel bearing replacement  17x
 Oldsmobile  Not starting inspection  17x
 Mitsubishi  Timing belt replacement  17x
 BMW  Drive belt tensioner replacement  16x
 Chrysler  Camshaft position sensor replacement  16x
 Jaguar  Battery service  16x
 Cadillac  Leaking coolant  16x
 Jeep  Crankshaft position sensor replacement  15x
 Chrysler  Engine mount replacement  15x
 Mercedes Benz  Crankshaft position sensor  15x

The brand Mercury suffered the most frequent issue with its fuel pump. And it was a design flaw. And for that reason, its manufacturer Ford discontinued its production completely, in 2011. Also from the table, the same manufacturer had the same issue from car brand to brand. Chrysler and Dodge, all from the same empire Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, had issues with their exhaust gas recirculation valves. Their ERGs needed to be repaired 20 times in other to be the national average.


Audi is one of the most reliable car brands

Among all the car dramas, customers care about one problem the most: which of these cars will not likely start?

This question is answered in the table below. And the comparison is limited to cars that are 10 years old or below.

Car brands that are not likely to start the most

Here, the table shows the car brand name and the number of frequency.

Car brands not likely to start the most  
 Rank  Car Brand  The frequency of car not starting
 1  Hummer  9x
 2  Mercury  6x
 3  Chrysler  6x
 4  Saturn  5x
 5  Dodge  5x
 6  Mitsubishi  4x
 7  BMW  4x
 8  Suzuki  4x
 9  Buick  4x
 10  Pontiac  4x
 11  Land Rover  3x
 12  Mercedes-Benz  3x
 13  Jeep  3x
 14  Chevrolet  3x
 15  Ford  3x
 16  Acura  3x
 17  GMC  3x
 18  Cadillac  2x
 19  Lincoln  2x
 20  Scion  2x
 21  Nissan  2x
 22  Mazda  2x
 23  Volvo  2x
 24  Infiniti  2x
 25  Kia  2x

The list in the table could be as a result of the car's build quality and the diligence of some car owners. The results on the table are quite critical. Out of the 5 brands that ranked the highest, 3 has been discontinued. Also ranked at the top with the cars that have ceased to exist, are brands like the Land Rover, Mercedes Benz, and BMW. Car brands that have been noted to be among the cheapest cars to maintain like Honda, Toyota, and Hyundai, didn't make the list.

Every detail about a car was not revealed by the brand so the next table will be looking into the models with the greatest frequency of not starting.

Car models that are not likely to start the most

Below are the car models and their number of frequency.

Car models not likely to start the most   
 Rank  Car Model  The frequency of car not starting
 1  Hyundai Tiburon  26x
 2  Dodge Caravan  26x
 3  Ford F-250 Super Duty  21x
 4  Ford Taurus  19x
 5  Chrysler PT Cruiser  18x
 6  Cadillac DTS  17x
 7  Hummer H3  11x
 8  Nissan Titan  10x
 9  Chrysler Sebring  10x
 10  Dodge Ram 1500  10x
 11  BMW 325i  9x
 12  Mitsubishi Eclipse  9x
 13  Dodge Charger  8x
 14  Chevrolet Aveo  8x
 15  Chevrolet Cobalt  7x
 16  Mazda MX-5 Miata  7x
 17  Mercedes-Benz ML350  6x
 18  Chevrolet HHR  6x
 19  Mitsubishi Galant  6x
 20  Volvo S40  6x
 21  BMW X3  6x
 22  Pontiac G6  6x
 23  Dodge Caliber  6x
 24  Nissan Pathfinder  6x
 25  Saturn Ion  6x

The worst cars that made the list couldn't start 26 times the way an average car should start. Probably why models like Hummer H3, Chrysler Sebring and Hyundai Tiburon were all discontinued. Isn't it shameful that the BMW and many Mercedes-Benz models made the list?


A Hyundai Tiburon would be 26 times more likely to encounter the starting problems than an average model

This data is sure an eye-opener to the car brands that are living up to expectation and their consistency in flying their reliability and reputation higher. Toyota happens to be the car of the moment. And for brands sacrificing reliability for prestige, the Mercedes-Benz and BMW made the chart. Coming down to car models that should be discontinued, Hummer 3 perfectly fits it.

Aside from the average cost of maintaining a car, car maintenance is affected by some factors notwithstanding. Like the car's maintenance frequency, the road it plies, how often it hits the road and the driving habit of the car driverNaijauto is always here to bring important car information and maintenance tips across your way to keep you updated.

Before you buy your dream car, be sure to know how much it will cost you to maintain it

Jane Osuagwu
Jane Osuagwu

Jane Osuagwu

Car prices

Jane Osuagwu is an automotive writer at She's a car enthusiast who loves creating educative and informative topics on cars, ranging from maintenance tips to updates on the latest trend in the auto industry in concise and friendly writing. 

Jane is also a blogger and loves reading, inspiring people and getting involved in personal development projects.

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