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Toyota is well known for making reliable cars. However, new data shows two American brands have lower five-year maintenance and repair costs. Though Toyota vehicles still rank well in overall maintenance costs, Lincoln and Buick edge out the Japanese auto giant in this particular category.

Consumer Reports recently shared the results of its Annual Auto Survey

One factor that shoppers consider when searching for a car is the cost of maintenance and repairs. Consumer Reports is a trusted source for automobile data, including maintenance and repair costs. CR conducts an Annual Auto Survey to collect data from hundreds of thousands of car owners nationwide. The survey covers various topics, from reliability and safety to fuel economy and overall satisfaction. One area of interest is maintenance and repair costs, which can significantly affect ownership costs.

The survey collects information on various vehicle segments, such as compact cars, midsize SUVs, and pickup trucks. The data shows hybrids have the lowest maintenance and repair costs, followed by midsize or large sedans. Luxury SUVs and sports cars have the highest repair costs. CR also breaks down the data by the type of repair, such as engine, transmission, brakes, and suspension. That allows consumers to see which models are prone to specific repairs and which are more reliable overall.

Lincoln and Buick beat Toyota in 5-year maintenance and repair costs

Toyota maintenance cost, Toyota service
A Toyota RAV4 on a hydraulic lift | Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg via Getty Images

According to Consumer Reports’ Annual Auto Survey, Lincoln’s $540 and Buick’s $650 beat Toyota’s $685 in one-to-five-year maintenance and repair costs. That might surprise those who know Toyota for its reliability and low long-term ownership costs. However, the data shows Lincoln and Buick have lower maintenance and repair costs in the first five years of ownership.

It’s important to note that although Lincoln and Buick outperformed Toyota in the short term, Toyota beat them in six-to-10-year maintenance and repair costs. Toyota’s reputation for long-term reliability and dependability remains unmatched in the industry, and its vehicles tend to have lower long-term ownership costs than other brands.

This data highlights the importance of considering not only the initial purchase price but also long-term ownership costs. Lincoln and Buick have lower maintenance and repair costs in the short term, but consumers should assess a vehicle’s overall reliability and durability before purchasing.

Why are American cars cheaper to maintain and repair than foreign cars?

For several reasons, American cars like Lincoln and Buick are typically cheaper to maintain and repair than foreign cars. For instance, the first five years of maintenance on a Lincoln Nautilus costs $480, whereas the same period on an Audi Q7 costs $1,700. One of the main factors is that American cars tend to use more domestic parts, which are usually less expensive than imported parts. That can lower maintenance and repair costs.

Additionally, American automakers have increasingly concentrated on improving their vehicles’ quality and reliability. That means newer domestic cars are less likely to experience severe problems or breakdowns, reducing maintenance and repair costs.

Furthermore, the availability of parts and trained mechanics for American cars are often more widespread and accessible than for foreign vehicles, contributing to lower maintenance and repair costs. That’s particularly true in the United States, where American cars are more popular and, thus, have a more extensive support network.

However, it’s important to note these are general trends, and there are always exceptions. The cost of maintenance and repairs can vary widely depending on the make, model, and factors such as age, mileage, and condition.


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