QOTD: How Have Car Maintenance Costs Been For You?

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Yesterday we reported on a Consumer Reports story listing the most expensive and least expensive car brands in terms of maintenance.

This, plus a Wall Street Journal article from February that details the high cost of car ownership, have me curious. What has your experience been like?

If you are a multi-car, multi-brand household, is one brand costing you more than the other? If you've been loyal to one brand, does the cost of ownership play a part? Did you switch from one brand to another and notice a difference? And so on, and so forth.

You know the drill -- sound off below.

[Image: J.J. Gouin/Shutterstock.com]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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4 of 67 comments
  • TMA1 TMA1 on Apr 24, 2024

    2018 GTI, purchased early 2019. One warranty repair so far. Check engine light came on a few days ago. Good thing it came with a 6-year factory warranty. Thanks, Dieselgate!

  • Wjtinfwb Wjtinfwb on Apr 24, 2024

    Very fortunate so far; the fleet ranges from 2002 to 2023, the most expensive car to maintain we have is our 2020 Acura MDX. One significant issue was taken care of under warranty, otherwise, 6 oil changes at the Acura dealer at $89.95 for full-synthetic and a new set of Michelin Defenders and 4-wheel alignment for 1300. No complaints. a '16 Subaru Crosstrek and '16 Focus ST have each required a new battery, the Ford's was covered under warranty, Subaru's was just under $200. 2 sets of tires on the Focus, 1 set on the Subie. That's it. The Focus has 80k on it and gets synthetic ever 5k at about $90, the Crosstrek is almost identical except I'll run it to 7500 since it's not turbocharged. My '02 V10 Excursion gets one oil change a year, I do it myself for about $30 bucks with Synthetic oil and Motorcraft filter from Wal-Mart for less than $40 bucks. Otherwise it asks for nothing and never has. My new Bronco is still under warranty and has no issues. The local Ford dealer sucks so I do it myself. 6 qts. of full syn, a Motorcraft cartridge filter from Amazon. Total cost about $55 bucks. Takes me 45 minutes. All in I spend about $400/yr. maintaining cars not including tires. The Excursion will likely need some front end work this year, I've set aside a thousand bucks for that. A lot less expensive than when our fleet was smaller but all German.

  • Dave Holzman Dave Holzman on Apr 24, 2024

    '08 Civic (stick) that I bought used 1/31/12 with 35k on the clock. Now at 159k.

    It runs as nicely as it did when I bought it. I love the feel of the car.

    The most expensive replacement was the AC compressor, I think, but something to do with the AC that went at 80k and cost $1300 to replace. It's had more stuff replaced than I expected, but not enough to make me want to ditch a car that I truly enjoy driving.

  • 3SpeedAutomatic 3SpeedAutomatic on Apr 25, 2024

    2012 Ford Escape V6 FWD at 147k miles:

    Just went thru a heavy maintenance cycle: full brake job with rotors and drums, replace top & bottom radiator hoses, radiator flush, transmission flush, replace valve cover gaskets (still leaks oil, but not as bad as before), & fan belt. Also, #4 fuel injector locked up. About $4.5k spread over 19 months. Sole means of transportation, so need to spend the money for reliability.

    Was going to replace prior to the above maintenance cycle, but COVID screwed up the market ( $4k markup over sticker including $400 for nitrogen in the tires), so bite the bullet.

    Now serious about replacing, but waiting for used and/or new car prices to fall a bit more. Have my eye on a particular SUV. Last I checked, had a $2.5k discount with great interest rate (better than my CU) for financing. Will keep on driving Escape as long as A/C works. 🚗🚗🚗