The purchase price is just one aspect of the actual cost of owning a new car. Filling the tank, covering the vehicle against accidents and theft and – critically – keeping the car in peak driving condition are on-going expenses that owners have to cover.
Here we investigate which car marques are the most economical in terms of maintenance, and which vehicle brands are more likely to blow a hole in your bank account.
Japanese vehicle brands steal the show
According to a comprehensive survey conducted in the United States, Japanese-manufactured cars are streets ahead in terms of keeping average maintenance costs low.
Over a 10-year period, the average rate of servicing and repairing a Toyota, for example, was estimated at a little over R71 000. Thereafter, Lexus, Honda, and Mitsubishi are the next best brands, clocking up an average outlay of approximately R91 000, R93 500, and R96 000 respectively, over the first decade of ownership.
Mini and VW on the low end of the scale
The only non-Japanese marques to feature at the lower-cost end of the scale are Mini, a subsidiary of BMW, and Volkswagen, both of which are popular mid-priced German vehicle brands.
Given US statistics, the average cost of maintaining a Mini was in the region of R97 500, while the cost for a VW averaged at R101 300.
If you’re looking for individual models guaranteed to save you money over the long term, the Toyota Prius, Camry, Tacoma, Corolla, and Yaris all fall neatly within the top 10 cheapest cars to maintain.
The Kia Soul and Optima, the Honda Fit and the Nissan Versa are similarly hardy, well-built passenger cars that typically require only sporadic low-cost overhauls.
Luxury German marques lap up the cash
Three of the four most costly motor vehicle brands to maintain are luxury German brands. Buy a BMW and, according to the survey, you’ll fork out an average of R230 000, or R23k a year, to keep the car running in tip-top condition.
A Mercedes Benz averaged around R62 000 less, with an average maintenance bill of a little over R167 000 over a ten-year period. Hot on the heels are Volvo and Audi, with estimated overheads of R162 000 and R161 000, respectively.
According to those surveyed, the most expensive makes are the BMW 328i, the Mercedes Benz E350 and the Audi A4 Quatro. The Nissan Murano also made an unexpected appearance as a maintenance money guzzler.
Why do luxury brands cost so much to drive and maintain? High labour costs, sophisticated manufacturing techniques, higher grade materials, the use of expensive OEM parts and design for performance rather than maintenance are all contributing factors.
Have a car with high maintenance costs? We can help
Adhering to a regular maintenance schedule and selecting a reliable workshop that uses quality aftermarket car parts are both sound preventative measures that can save vehicle owners money in the long run.
There’s no avoiding higher maintenance costs for certain cars. However, if you drive or regularly service and repair luxury German vehicles (new or old), we can help by providing a comprehensive range of trusted BMW, Mercedes Benz and Audi spares and parts, at reasonable prices.
We deal directly with many original equipment manufacturers and suppliers (OEM and OES), and the parts we stock are often the same as those offered by local dealers – just at lower prices.