Consumer Reports: 4 of 5 least expensive car brands to maintain are American

πŸ“’ Consumer Reports reveals that 4 of the 5 least expensive car brands to maintain are American! πŸ’ΈπŸ’ͺ #CarMaintenance #ConsumerReports

Car ownership costs can go far beyond what consumers pay for a vehicle. A key question is whether customers can afford the drip, drip, drip of maintenance and repairs as their vehicle gets older.

Consumer Reports, seeking to understand how costs increase over time and differ by brand, asked members in its 2023 Annual Auto Survey how much they paid out-of-pocket for maintenance (oil changes, etc.) and repairs during the previous 12 months.

In comparing cumulative costs by brand for years one through five and six through 10, CR found that Tesla had the lowest maintenance costs, followed by Buick, Toyota, Lincoln and Ford.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, several German automakers are clustered as the most expensive, namely Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche.

Consumer Reports said it found significant differences in costs as cars age, underscoring how maintenance and repair expenses can rise over time.

The new-car comparison can be a bit muddy because several brands, including BMW and Toyota, offer free maintenance periods. Additionally, cars usually need little work in the first couple of years beyond oil changes and tire rotation. Most new-car warranties last at least three years and repairs are covered if needed.

Why it matters

CR’s analysis shows that costs can skyrocket when the warranty and free maintenance periods are over.

Knowing the typical ownership costs for each brand can help consumers save money in the long run, either by choosing a less expensive brand to maintain or budgeting accordingly.

“The difference to maintain a car on average between some brands can be thousands over a 10-year time frame,” Steven Elek, Consumer Reports’ program leader for auto data analytics, said.

“Also, expensive luxury vehicles are often quite expensive to maintain as well over time.”

He added: “If you are considering a luxury model, it may be wise to purchase one from a domestic brand that may have lower maintenance and repair costs. For example, over 10 years, Mercedes-Benz models are more than double the cost to maintain and repair as those from Lincoln.”

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