A car is a long-term investment, not a one-time purchase. When looking into a new car, it’s important to consider the overall costs throughout its entire lifetime, not just the purchasing price. That’s why many people want to know which cars are cheapest to own and maintain, not just which ones are the lowest price to buy. When it comes to the costs of preventative maintenance and common repair problems, import and domestic vehicles create a lot of debate. That’s why we are breaking down their common issues and maintenance costs.
The major import vehicle brands, including Honda, Toyota, Kia and Hyundai, know how to make a durable and reliable car. These models are well-built to last and are generally low cost to own and maintain. Drivers can’t really go wrong with a car from a popular import manufacturer, since they are generally cheap and easy to maintain and repair at nearly all auto repair shops.
Luxury import vehicles, in contrast, come high with maintenance costs in addition to their full-featured performance. Luxury brands like Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Audi are undeniably more costly to own because of higher repair and maintenance costs. Difficult to source and replace parts demand expert knowledge, which means specialty shops charge more for luxury car services. While most owners would probably agree that they get what they pay for in performance and comfort, they definitely incur higher costs at each service appointment.
Domestic vehicle brands in the United States have come a long way in recent years. Similar to most major import makes, domestic vehicles are generally straightforward and simple to maintain and repair, keeping costs low for their owners. You won’t need to find a specialty shop to find parts and services for a domestic car, truck or SUV, since they are widely available at any reputable auto shop.
While domestic and import vehicles may have significant differences in their initial, maintenance and repair costs, nothing is guaranteed for every driver. Your individual driving style and habits might be more demanding and require more frequent service, depending on the vehicle you choose. While there may be some helpful trends to guide you, overall, vehicle cost over a lifetime greatly depends on how well you take care of your car.