While the decades-old jokes and debates usually relate to boat upkeep (Bring Out Another Thousand), a flashy car with expensive parts can be no less of a financial strain long after the initial purchase has been paid off.
Maintenance costs are also not always directly related to the flashiness of the car itself — a recent analysis of maintenance and parts data by car resale platform ClunkerJunker found that cargo vans like Stellantis’ (FCAU) – Get Free Report RAM Promaster City and the Kia (KIMTF) Rio 5 have some of the highest maintenance costs in the 10 years after purchase due to the specialized nature of their components.
A Promaster City owner can expect to spend over 62% of the car’s retail price (about $25,000 as of January 2023) within ten years of purchase.
“Many of the most expensive parts to maintain are large cargo trucks and vans often requiring specialty parts and high-grade materials,” the study’s authors write in the report.
Which Cars Should I Avoid If I Don’t Want to Go Broke With Maintenance?
When it comes to everyday cars, Toyota (TOYOF) is the brand with the lowest overall upkeep — an average car from the Japanese carmaker will cost just 13.41% of the value in maintenance over a 10-year period while models like the Land Cruiser and Sequoia will command a respective 7.29% and 8.50%.
But at 7.09%, Tesla (TSLA) – Get Free Report tops the list both for luxury cars and vehicles overall due to the infrequent necessity of repairs. By contrast, an average BMW (BMWYY) will cost its owners 25.34% of its value over the course of 10 years.
“Tesla’s range is the cheapest to maintain, with the entry-level hatchback Model S costing just 4.6% of its value to maintain over a decade, slightly less than the SUV Model X,” write the study’s authors. “Interestingly, several high-performance vehicles are among the least expensive models. The Nissan GT-R (5.2%), Audi S8, Chevrolet Corvette (both 7.5%) and Porsche 911 (8.7%) cost less than a tenth of their showroom value to keep running for over 10 years, despite their powerful engines.”
Car Prices Are Going Up So Maintenance Affordability Is Important
Other luxury makers to top the list for high maintenance costs include Volvo (VLVOF) , Tata Motors’ (TENHF) Jaguar and Land Rover.
Lexus and Porsche (POAHY) , meanwhile, have relatively low maintenance prices at a respective 12.28% and 17.27%. The cheapest models for average-priced cars also include the Toyota Supra (8.56%) and GMC (GMC) ‘s Yukon XL (9.95%) while GMC and Nissan have the most affordable maintenance overall after Toyota — a typical car from these makers will cost one an average of 14.32% and 17.42% of its value in a 10-year period.
“With its origins dating back to the Korean War in the 1950s, Toyota’s Land Cruiser has always been a byword for reliability,” the report’s authors write. “In 2019, the brand sold its 10 millionth model of their famous SUV, and it’s a vehicle that is relied upon by drivers all over the world for their reliability and longevity.”
As prices for both new and used cars rise, longevity is a factor that is already starting to factor more and more into many people’s purchasing decisions — along with long wait times for new models amid a global semiconductor shortage, those who bought a new car in November 2022 paid on average $2,250 more than they would have a year ago.
Car parts have been prone to inflation and shortages as well.