Study Reveals Least Expensive Car Brands and Models to Maintain

A vehicle’s reliability and maintenance costs are still a top priority for many shoppers. In fact, seeing the increased prices at service departments and independent repair shops, you could definitely say they’ve never had more weight in the purchase decision.

But how can you know which brands or models are the least expensive to maintain? Or maybe some you should avoid? Let’s be honest, salespeople at dealerships are not the ones you should ask these questions.

CarEdge, a U.S. website that’s been analyzing millions of car listings and other automotive data points for years, recently conducted a study to get the answers. Here’s what it found.

Cheapest Brands to Maintain

EV leader Tesla sits atop the ranking of car brands with the lowest maintenance costs. According to CarEdge, Tesla owners can expect to pay an average of $5,867 over 10 years. Toyota is virtually in a tie, mind you, with decade-long costs of $5,996. Next up are Lexus ($7,786), Mitsubishi ($7,787), Honda ($7,827), Mazda ($8,035) and Nissan ($8,088)—all of them Japanese brands.

Photo: Toyota

But then we find MINI ($8,155), a brand that’s been making notable strides when it comes to safety in recent years. Close behind are Volkswagen ($8,166), GMC ($8,429), Kia ($8,442) and Hyundai ($8,714).

As for the highest maintenance costs over 10 years, four Stellantis divisions beat all the other mainstream brands—Ram ($16,802), Jeep ($11,476), Chrysler ($11,304) and Dodge ($11,079). Ford ($9,860) and Chevrolet ($9,625) are a bit cheaper to maintain on average.

On the luxury side, Porsche ($22,075), BMW ($19,312), Land Rover ($18,569) and Jaguar ($17,636) are the most expensive brands to maintain. If you want to save money here, other than Lexus, you should consider Acura ($10,730) or Infiniti ($11,830).

Cheapest Vehicles to Maintain

Now, as far as individual models are concerned, three Teslas can brag about having the lowest maintenance costs over 10 years. They are the Model 3 ($3,587), Model S ($4,566) and Model Y ($4,732), according to the CarEdge study.

Photo: Tesla

Six Toyota models come next including the Prius ($4,008), Yaris ($4,027), Corolla ($4,087), Prius Prime ($4,098), Camry ($4,203) and Avalon (4,407). They’re followed by a pair of Japanese small cars, namely the Honda Fit ($4,915) and Mitsubishi Mirage ($4,939).

At the other end of the ranking, nobody should be surprised to learn that heavy-duty full-size pickups are the most expensive vehicles to maintain, particularly Ram’s trucks, along with luxury SUVs from Porsche and BMW.

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