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Routine maintenance and repairs go hand-in-hand with car ownership. But those costs can vary greatly depending on the vehicle. In general, though, luxury cars are more expensive to maintain and repair than mainstream models. However, a few luxury car brands are cheaper. For instance, Tesla is known for its low maintenance and repair costs, but another luxury car brand is even more affordable than the EV maker.

A recent Consumer Reports survey shows car brands’ average maintenance and repair costs

Tesla maintenance costs, Lincoln maintenance costs, luxury car maintenance costs
The Tesla smartphone app | Alvin Chan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

In addition to testing cars, Consumer Reports gathers vehicle data from real-world owners. CR does that through its Annual Auto Survey, and this year’s survey has few surprises. For example, the cheapest and most expensive car brands to maintain over 10 years are about as expected. 

Toyota is the car brand with the lowest average maintenance and repair costs over 10 years of ownership. That’s unsurprising, considering Toyota’s reputation for reliable cars. Its average maintenance cost over 10 years is just $3,000. On the other side of the spectrum, the most expensive cars to maintain and repair over 10 years are all German luxury cars. 

Porsche is the costliest, with average 10-year maintenance and repair costs of $8,700. That said, luxury cars are generally more expensive to maintain and repair due to the cost of parts. For example, Volvo is the fifth-most expensive brand to maintain and repair, costing about $5,000 over 10 years. Infiniti and Acura come in at about $4,500 each over 10 years, Consumer Reports data shows. 

Lincoln is the only luxury car brand with lower maintenance and repair costs than Tesla

Even Lexus, despite being owned by Toyota, isn’t that cheap — its average 10-year maintenance and repair costs add up to about $3,800. That put Lexus in the middle of the pack and also meant two luxury brands were cheaper to maintain and repair. Despite Tesla’s concerning reliability ratings, the EV maker finished in seventh place.

Tesla’s average 10-year maintenance and repair costs totaled only $3,500. That’s cheaper than Honda, Kia, and Chevy’s costs over the same period.

The only true luxury brand with a lower cost than Tesla finished in second place overall, just behind Toyota. That luxury brand is Lincoln. Its average 10-year maintenance and repair costs are about $3,300, beating brands like Hyundai and Mazda.

Why are Tesla cars cheap to maintain and repair?

Lincoln’s second-place finish overall is surprising because the company is owned by Ford, which finished in sixth place, right in front of Tesla. What’s unsurprising is that Tesla fared so well. It comes down to the fact that EV maintenance is significantly different from the upkeep that gas-powered cars require. 

The main differences involve their powertrains. EVs and gas-powered cars have some similar features, such as tires and windows, which require maintenance in both cases. However, their powertrains are different, and an EV’s powertrain is far less complex.

Because of electric powertrains’ simplicity, they have fewer parts that can break down. Plus, unlike gas-powered cars, EVs don’t need oil changes or oil filter replacements, which also saves money. It’s why the average EV requires only about $2,300 in maintenance costs over 10 years.


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