5 Car Brands With the Highest Maintenance Costs Over Time

Cars are giant pieces of mechanical equipment with a thousand and one moving parts. Using cars regularly means that they need to be maintained properly to avoid them breaking down. 

Usage, over a period of time, requires maintenance, and maintenance costs money. Maintenance includes the cost of fuel, repairs, and replacements in the car that allows the car to perform optimally. Maintenance costs are usually very relative and depend on a lot of variables such as the brand you drive, where you live, your usual terrain, and so on. 

There are two kinds of costs you encounter as a car owner

  • Fixed cost: This includes the total purchase price, car insurance, license and registration fees, depreciation and others in that class. 
  • Operating costs: This includes fuel and vehicle maintenance/repair costs, parking fees, replacement costs and so on. 

Together, these costs contribute to the total cost of owning a car in the long run. Yourmechanic.com reports that on average, Americans spend 5% of their yearly income on the purchase of a car and then spend another 5% on maintenance costs. It was also reported that cars are the second most expensive things owned by Americans, coming in closely behind their houses. 

On Yourmechanic’s website, they stated that “At YourMechanic, we have a massive dataset of the make and model of the cars we have serviced and the type of maintenance done. We decided to use our data to understand which cars break down the most and have the highest maintenance costs. 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 the brand to compute their average 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).”

Yourmechanic.com, from their large pool of data, were able to draw out conclusions on the cost of maintenance of various brands over 75,000 miles, 150,000 miles, and over the span of 10 years. On average, car owners drive about 13,500 miles every year. Many Americans also limit the usage of the car to about 10 years, after which they believe the cost of maintenance is no longer worth the present-day price of the car. 

Cost of maintenance Over 75,000 miles:

Photo by Josh Berquist on Unsplash
  • BMW: $13,000
  • Pontiac: $11,300
  • Mercedes Benz, Cadillac and Saturn: $11,000
  • Lincoln: $10,300
  • Audi: $8,800
Photo by Jakob Rosen on Unsplash

Over a distance of 150,000 miles, here is the maintenance cost:

  • BMW: $28,600
  • Lincoln: $28,100
  • Cadillac: $25,600
  • Pontiac: $24,200
  • Mercedes Benz: $23,600
Photo by Oleh Syzov on Unsplash

Over the average time of usage in America (10 years):

  • BMW: $17,800
  • Mercedes Benz: $12,900
  • Cadillac: $12,500
  • Volvo, Audi and Saturn: $12,400
  • Pontiac: $11,800

From the list, luxury brands like BMW and Mercedes Benz always find their way into the most expensive cars to maintain of all time. To enjoy luxury rides, one has to be prepared for the extra costs of maintenance. 

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