Top 10 Most Expensive Cars to Maintain Over 10 Years

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Top 10 Most Expensive Cars to Maintain Over 10 Years

Not all cars are created equal and as a result, some cost significantly more to maintain than others.

YourMechanic has used its massive dataset of cars serviced to understand which cars break down the most and have the highest maintenance costs. We’re sure you’ve experienced a family member or friend warning you not to purchase a car from a particular brand because “those cars are notorious for being too expensive to maintain.” But which cars really are expensive to maintain?

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Cheapest Cars to Maintain Over 10 Years

According to YourMechanic, the top 20 most expensive car models all cost more than $10,000 to maintain over 10 years. Those estimates include expensive one-off costs, such as a transmission rebuild that skew the average higher. Still, it’s worth taking a look at the top 10 most expensive car models to maintain over 10 years in case you want to avoid some of them. Keep in mind, however, that this uses data on vehicles that are at least 10 years old, so improvements could have been made to those models since.

10. Subaru Forester

subaru-forester

The Subaru Forester costs an average of $12,200 to maintain over 10 years. YourMechanic also grouped all years of all mdoels by brand to compute an automaker’s average cost to maintain over 10 years and Subaru came in 19th place overall (out of 30 automakers ranked) with an estimated $8,200 maintenance cost over 10 years.


9. Mazda6

mazda6

With a cost of $12,700 to maintain over 10 years, the Mazda6 lands in 9th place. The Japanese automaker finished 24th overall however, as one of the cheapest automakers to maintain with a cost of $7,500.


8. Audi A4 Quattro

audi-a4-quattro

The Audi A4 Quattro comes in eighth place with a maintenance costs of $12,800 over 10 years. Not surprisingly, the German automaker ranked fifth overall among brands, costing $12,400 for maintain over 10 years.


7. Ram 1500

ram-1500

The Ram 1500 is the only pickup truck in the top 20, costing $13,300 to maintain over 10 years. YourMechanic didn’t have a breakdown for the Ram brand itself, but it’s a possibility that it was grouped in with Dodge, which came in 10th place overall with a maintenance cost of $10,600.


6. Dodge Grand Caravan

dodge-grand-caravan

The Dodge Grand Caravan may be on its way out now that the Chrysler Pacifica has arrived and it will be interesting to see if the Pacifica is cheaper to maintain over its lifetime. Hopefully maintenance costs don’t carry over to the new minivan, since the Grand Caravan costs $14,500 to maintain over 10 years.


5. Chevrolet Cobalt

chevrolet-cobalt

The Chevrolet Cobalt is no longer around, but that doesn’t mean current owners aren’t paying $14,500 to maintain it over 10 years. Chevrolet as a brand landed right in the middle tied for 15th place with a cost of $8,800.


4. Mercedes-Benz E350

mercedes-benz-e-class

Like the Audi A4 Quattro, German luxury cars have a reputation of being costly to maintain. In this case, it’s the Mercedes-Benz E350 with a cost of $14,700 to maintain over 10 years. Mercedes finished second overall with a cost of $12,900.


3. Nissan Murano

nissan-murano

The Nissan Murano might be a bit of a surprise to some and its high maintenance costs might be attributed to earlier models. But still, owners are shelling out $14,700 to maintain the SUV over 10 years. The brand ranked 23rd overall with a cost of $7,600.


2. BMW 328i

bmw-3-series

You know all those advertisements that claim BMW vehicles are cheaper to maintain than its German competitors? We’re not saying that’s a lie, but YourMechanic has the BMW 328i in second place with a cost of $15,600 to maintain over 10 years. But perhaps what’s even more telling is that BMW is the most expensive automaker to maintain with a cost of $17,800 – that’s $4,900 more than second-place Mercedes.


1. Chrysler Sebring

chrysler-sebring

And the most expensive car to maintain over 10 years according to YourMechanic is the Chrysler Sebring. Maybe that’s why it’s no longer available. The cost to maintain the Sebring comes out to $17,100 over 10 years. To put that into perspective, the model was priced around $22,000 when it was offered brand new.

The Chrysler brand finished ninth place overall with a cost of $10,600.

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[Source: YourMechanic]

Discuss this story on our Chrysler Forum

  • smartacus

    yes, but you are paying for the prestige of the Chrysler badge.

  • mirza samra Kal El

    indeed

  • Shiratori1

    lol. Yeah right.

  • Butch

    Strange. I traded in my 2002 Forseter with 280,000 miles for a new Outback because it was the most reliable vehicle I ever owned.

  • Prez

    Not sure where this statistical data is coming from but I had two Mazdas in the last 11 years. A 2005 Mazda3s and a 2006 Mazda6. I sold the 3 this year and the only thing that required my attention was a small sensor in the transmission that died mostly due to my ignorance and reluctance to change the transmission fluid. Normal wear and tear like tires, brakes and wipers cost me less that $2000 over the 10 years I owned the car. The Mazda 6 had no issues whatsoever over the 8 years we had it. I swapped the old 6 for the 2014 and could not be happier. Best cars I ever owned.

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  • Yoo Jastle

    So much for superior German engineering

  • Skye

    I see BMW’s on top of flatbeds every day. Repair costs are astronomical.

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  • Merc1

    Being costly to own doesn’t negate the differences in that engineering. German cars are still better than most other shit on the road, and you pay for the engineering and those differences.

    M

  • Merc1

    What BS. I’ve seen a Lexus on a flatbed too, WTF does that mean? Do you know why any car was on a flatbed?

    M

  • Merc1

    The list is stupid because there are far costlier German and Japanese and even American cars that would easily cost more to own over 10 years. Any 12-cylinder Audi, BMW, MB or any Porsche would cost more to own than a damn Chrysler Sebring to own over 10 year. That POS Chrysler can be worked on by anyone, the Germans not so.

    M

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  • Queen of Stinky Hipsters

    goose step much

  • D.Orlando

    Do it yourself!
    2014 Mazda6 “10 years” of Maintenance (15,000 miles per year driven)
    Oil Changes: 20 = $700
    Air Filter (Cabin and Interior): 5 sets $200
    Spark Plugs: 2 sets (dealer item) = $220
    Coolant: Once = $200 Dealer item
    Brakes: ~every 60K $189/axle = $756
    Tires: ~3 sets @ $650 = $1950
    Transmission = Fluid for life = $0

    $4026 over 10 years! 2.7 cents per mile! This is dirt cheap!

    Show your numbers Autoguide! Even if I didn’t do it myself I might at most spend twice this and even still it would be cheap.

    You guys need to get your poop in a group!

  • Mike

    Bullshiite.

  • Mike

    Prestige? Whatever.

  • Stevie

    Shocked me too to see the Forester on the on list. Maybe they are factoring in the cost of servicing AWD or the boxster engine. I don’t have a Subaru but been looking at the Outback for sometime now.

  • Stevie

    “Imported from Detroit” Union pride you know.

  • playsoftball

    You can find BMW and a couple others offering ‘free’ maintenance , even if you’re really paying for it. However the best warranties out there are KIA and Hyundai, same mother company at 100k.
    Just shady sales people IMO. I have 3 Elantra’s ’02,’13 owned and a ’13 lease due up in about a month. I plan to move on to better mpg car.

  • Douglas Hamner

    I lol at this….If you mean engineering as in more complex than it needs to be than maybe your right….

  • Marshal Stomm

    It’s a good thing that Hyundais/Kias have that warranty, because boy do you need it. I luckily don’t own one, but my Fiance has given up getting her Sonata’s minor issues repaired, only focusing on the critical ones, because the dang thing was spending too much time in the shop. So now you can’t use the passenger arm rest- resting your arm on it will cause the interior lights to flicker on/off and/or toggle all the door locks. Quality Engineering there.

  • Inexplicable_1

    Your numbers are for the Mazda 6 shown in the pic, and I agree with you that their numbers are way to high for the car shown in the pic. You’re low, however, on your tire number, as you should not put cheap tires on a driver’s car like the 6. Now, MY ’04 Mazda 6 has been somewhat expensive because it’s a V6, yet I’ve done a lot of work myself. In a 10 year period any Mazda will also need new struts/shocks, an expensive one time hit, along with a new clutch if it’s a manual transmission. Even though I’m at 12 years and 175K miles, I’m due for a transmission rebuild. Despite all this, my 10 year costs were not at all this high.

  • Blake Boschetti

    Superior engineering =/= less expensive. I’d like to see any model American car able to hit 300-500k+ miles

  • Blake Boschetti

    Ignorance is bliss, m8

  • Prat

    You can get some really good tires for $650 a set…

  • John Rhodes

    The rear side windows on the Yukons make it look like a hearse.

  • Brian Shanabrough

    Bunch of
    Money
    Wasted

  • Nathan Guice

    Would like to know how #6 caravan/town and country compare to the same models prior to the 3.6 engine.
    We’ve had an ’02 and an ’05 and have put more than 200k on each without anything major other than tires and brake pads. The ’02 had the 3.8 and the ’05 the 3.3, but pushrod v6 models. Very simple engines and easy to work on. But the 3.6 is a DOHC engine that had quite a few issues on initial release. I wonder if the more complicated engine is a source of that extra cost of ownership.

  • Stretch90

    That’s bullshit. I have a 328i and I’ve barley spent anything on maintenance and repairs for 7 years now. I’ve done 2 repairs in that time and I’m about to do another one and all of that will cost me less than $2k in total. My spend on maintenance has barley been anything since it’s been out of warranty for only 3 years.

    Maybe the people who own BMWs abuse them and that’s why they’re needing to repair them so often.

  • Stretch90

    Don’t know how reliable this list is. I remember a few years ago the BMW 3 series was rated the most reliable car in the UK.

  • Oingo

    Your choices were pretty spot on IMHO except for the Fiat, proportionally very odd but not really the ugliest, the japanese hold that spot down.Oh BTW the Chevrolet Lumina mentioned as being from the 80s was not produced until 1990 model year.

  • Poops

    Assuming you have the space, tools and your time is not worth anything, sure.

  • aawgawg

    A sample size of one is not exactly statistically significant. Just because Jimmy won the lottery does not mean you will.

  • Lynn Henry

    I have a 16 year old Ram 1500. In that time, I’ve put a new wiper motor on it($110), replaced the front stereo speakers($75), replaced ball joints($750), and painted the top of the cab($300). Other than the usual insurance, gas, oil, filters, and tires, that’s all I’ve spent on that truck.

  • Robert Dwyer

    Lincoln Town cars do 500k all the time. Not that I’d own one but you did say any American car.

  • D.Orlando

    My 19″ Ultra High Performance All-Seasons made in JAPAN are $650 a set. Worst case I might pay $800 for very sticky all-seasons for a family sedan, either way my cost estimate is not far from the truth.

  • D.Orlando

    The brakes, tires, coolant, and spark plugs are all done at the dealer above. If you have all the oil changes, tire rotations, and cabin filters also done at the dealer you’re only looking at $1,000 more spent at the dealer over 10 years. That’s still cheap. What’s your point?

  • WilloughbyBucksworth

    Silly question but any idea how they came to these figures? Or can I/we simply assume certain make and model’s have more expensive consumables eg filters, gaskets, etc..?

  • MAM

    But with BMW you get 4 yrs 50,000 mi no cost maintenance—German cars are ridiculous when it comes to maintenance..

  • daharbin

    More detail needed on what costs so much money, and if it’s relevant to the car that’s sold today. The Mazda 6 from 2004 probably doesn’t share any parts with the current car. The Dodge Grand Caravan used to be known for bad transmissions, but I’m not sure that is still the case.

  • MCSWEG’D

    can someone explain to me how to prius didn’t make top spot? its honestly god awful looking.

  • Zoltan Lasak

    I own a 2015 Mazda 6 GT which I purchased in 2014 and have had no issues whatsoever. I’m pretty sure that rating is for either gen 1 or 2 models and not the gen 3 like mine.

  • Dmitri94

    It’s still true about Dodge vans and transmissions. I work for a car rental agency and we’ve often dealt with people whose Caravans are getting transmissions replaced. One guy we had in, his brand new 2015 Grand Caravan needed a new transmission around 10,000KM, then when he picked it up, he got 500 feet down the road when THAT transmission suddenly died and needed to be replaced. Plus a lot of our fleet Grand Caravans have had their transmissions replaced before even 20,000KM. If I had to buy a minivan, I’d go for the Toyota Sienna or Honda Odyssey. The latter I’ve never driven but both of those are so much more reliable.

  • Boris Terekidi

    The article talks about 10 years, not 1.5 years. Wait a few years, when the warranty is over. Then we’ll talk.

  • Boris Terekidi

    This list doesn’t talk about reliability, but overall maintenance/ownership costs. Here in Canada for example an oil change on a BMW 3-series costs around $100, run-flat tires cost $300+ each (Goodyear Eagle LS-2 are around $400 each), brakes/pads + sensors cost $800 on 1 side only (rear or back)… The maintenance costs are more than double (in some cases triple) compared to lets say Toyota or Honda.

  • Marc Dambrosio

    Paid for by Volkswagen.

  • milehisnk

    This is a garbage report without a breakdown of what costs so much. I mean, if this is the case, all the Nissan GT-R’s that had $30,000 transmissions go out should easily make it the #1.

    As for me, I have one on this list. And it won’t cost me a dime. Lifetime warranty on my Ram 1500.

  • milehisnk

    My Ram has a lifetime warranty.

  • milehisnk

    The Mazda6 isn’t a drivers car. It’s a boring sedan.

  • milehisnk

    Dodges do it frequently.

  • milehisnk

    That’s why it’s funny seeing people argue that he’s wrong…simplicity is best.

  • Gavin Varitech

    So how did they come up with this about an all new car that has only been on the road for less than 3 years?

    They are obviously taking into consideration older models, including the pre-2014 Mazda6’s, which we more than 50% Ford (the new ones are 100% Mazda).

  • Gavin Varitech

    I have a 2003 Mazda6S and a 2015 Grand Touring. Same experience with both. Never had a major repair of any kind.

  • Dying_in_this_Crap_World

    Subaru is a joke.

  • hankgs

    Ummm, Subaru’s have the highest resale value of any of the above mentioned makes…

  • Alex_nma

    Stupid beyond belief. How about posting facts to back up the claim.

  • the great master

    The post about the 328i broke my heart.

  • the great master

    VW?? Guess you’re not familiar with Audi.

  • Drew

    Audi is owned by the Volkswagen group

  • Pablo Paredes

    The F30 328i hasn’t even been out for 10 years lol

  • Shawn_S

    Yea, they had to pay just to not have all 1-10 VW/Audi products.

  • zoomzoomer

    Because the article is about cost to maintain, not difficulty to look at.

  • Adam S (Dolby109)

    For most of these items you would actually spend more time by going to the dealership than doing it yourself.
    An oil change takes me about an hour including the time to run and get the oil/filter. The ONE time I took my car to the dealer for a scheduled oil change I wasn’t home for 2 hours.

  • David Gardner

    Until something breaks that isn’t covered in the fine print. My lifetime warranty was buying a Lexus.

  • Michael D.

    I’m wondering what they mean as the cost of maintaining over ten years….would it be regular oil changes, brakes etc….or is it regular maintenance and repairs???

  • WilloughbyBucksworth

    What exactly makes up cost? Frequency of maintenance? Time and work involved? Only proprietary parts to be used?

  • WilloughbyBucksworth

    Exactly, this is very vague.

  • VSanity

    So I assume warranty length is factored into this? IE The Sebring has a 5 year 100,000 mile warranty (powertrain) 3, year 36,000 mile warranty (full). So you shouldn’t be spending a dime on maintenance outside of oil changes and alignments (if you care about that) until 3 years or 36k miles, and really you shouldn’t have any repair bills until after 5 years 100k miles.

    Frankly when you buy a car like the sebring (or any FCA product) most people don’t look at them as 10 year + cars. BMW however, those are definitely long term buys for a lot of people.

  • Dre Mosley

    Lots of Chrysler vehicles. . . .shocking!

  • Dion Kerfont

    Lifetime warranty? How did you swing that? Definitely not from the factory, as they’d never do that.

  • Mike

    I just bought a 1999 C5 Corvette and can’t believe Corvette is not on the list. Seems like no matter what part you buy is between $300 – $2500. The cars have TONS of electrical issues. The engine is fairly bullet proof and runs great but you have to deal with so many electrical problems.

  • Justin Richards

    I was looking at a website for TDI owners and the settlement and laughing my ass off. People was talking about just parking them because they can’t keep them out of the shop.
    Regular VW’s have a motor that is made of plastic mostly. I couldn’t see that being cheap to maintain

  • CarScott

    My experience with two Subaru Foresters over 15 years has been absolutely positive. I’ve not had $4000 maintenance costs between the two of them. They should have listed the common issues that increase the cost. Also, this list is highly suspect as it fails to list even one model from Land Rover, vehicles notorious for frequently expensive repairs.

  • pbug56

    My 2003 Forester XS – if I remove the cost of repairing the car after my daughter crashed it, it gets nowhere near the figure listed even when I include the timing belt + water pump + head gasket (all done at the same time). It could use a new rear view mirror with compass again! I also got much better tires then it came with and upgraded the radio to add bluetooth and FM HD. Still don’t hit this figure.

  • pbug56

    And pretty much the whole range of FCA products.

  • pbug56

    Biggest problems on my 2003 Forester XS have been my daughter crashing it, plus the head gasket (not as big a deal when dealt with at the same time as timing belt and water pump.

  • pbug56

    Avoid the Ody at all costs – if you don’t sooner or later you’ll need a new, very expensive tranny, especially on older ones. Honda CVT’s may or may not be ok, but their regular V6 based autos are a living nightmare. Brand new ones in recent years – new car shakes and bucks as you drive it home from the dealership according to some reports. And from 1999 through 2008 that trannie was built, IMHO, defective, with a part they knew didn’t work properly – but Honda made a fortune from selling replacement rebuilt trannies to suckers – including me. The sad part – replacing one $100 part, adding a good external cooler and Magnefine filter, changing filter and fluid once per year does wonders for that trannie. But that would void your limited warranty!

  • pbug56

    If you have typical dealers changing your oil, and $20k to your 10 year cost to account for all the bogus problems they find while the car is up on the lift. When my wife took our Ody in for the air bag recall, the dealer told her it would take an hour. 3 hours later, bag done, and she was handed a long list of very expensive repairs that were ‘urgently’ needed. We declined, and our mechanic eventually did all the items when they really needed to be done several months later, using Honda parts, at a small fraction of the cost quoted by the thief (aka dealer). So presumably the estimated repair costs include the extreme overcharges from so many dishonest dealers.

  • Reg

    I guess I was extremely lucky as I owned a 2005 Pontiac pursuit which is the same as a Chev Cobalt. We’ve put well over 200,000 km on this vehicle and other than oil changes(did my own), tires (on 3rd set)few light bulbs, the amp for the radio went. I say my maintenance cost was more in the $2,500.00 range and it was that high because of the cost for tires,

  • Darth Vader

    Toyota/Lexus designers sure have wacky taste for car design. The ugly nose jobs are getting worst. What a pity since they are very strong in the reliability department. On the other hand Kia and Hyundai are gorgeous. Wake up Toyota.

  • dickerin

    Thanks for putting “10 years” in quotes, since the car is only three years old.

  • dickerin

    YourMechanic is a mobile mechanic service that is going to appeal to a certain type of customer. So, the data is going to be limited and skewed and not a very good comparison of all vehicles.

  • VSanity

    Seriously? There are tons of them that do.

    Also, I’d love to see a german car make it anywhere near 150k miles without being properly maintained…

    It’s all about maintenance, luxury cars tend to be maintained because their buyers have the money to do so and the dealers are very good about reaching out to them and reminding them. Non-luxury cars are almost never maintained more than simple oil changes. They cost less so it’s not really worth it for people to spend a grand every year to keep it running well.