No matter what you buy, your car is going to take money from you throughout its lifetime. Oil changes and new tires are unavoidable, and then there’s the dreaded breakdown. There are two ways to keep money in your pocket. The first is to take good care of your vehicle when you can. The second is to consider which cars tend to cost the least to maintain. These four cars are known for their low maintenance costs.
The Prius tops most maintenance lists. That’s partly because it’s incredibly reliable (a theme you’ll see throughout this list). The other part is that the hybrid design means there’s an electric motor to reduce strain on the engine and brakes. That generally translates to lower wear and tear throughout the life of the vehicle. If not for a potentially pricey battery replacement, the maintenance cost would stay remarkably low. Even if you need a new battery, you’re looking at a 10-year maintenance cost of less than $4,500 (according to Clark research). That’s tough to beat.
Unlike the Prius, the Soul gets its low maintenance almost entirely from its excellent reliability. Scheduled maintenance is already on the low end of the price spectrum, but the lack of unscheduled maintenance is the real story. According to Edmunds research, even when a Soul does need repairs, 90 percent of those cases are not major. That is the key to long-term affordability right there.
By some surveys, the Corolla has the lowest maintenance cost of any gas-only vehicle. By virtually every survey, it’s one of the best. To put this in perspective, Business Insider lists the average annual maintenance cost to be around $350 a year. Keep in mind that this is based on a long-term average. For the first year, annual maintenance averages closer to $40. While that cost will inevitably rise as the vehicle ages, these are some impressive numbers coming from Toyota.
Last on our list of cheapest cars to maintain is the Honda Accord. This is a vehicle with an almost unparalleled track record in reliability. Accords have been championing hundreds of thousands of miles for decades without batting an eye. For yearly maintenance, that’s a great thing. What’s even better is that the Accord has remained one of the most popular vehicles in the world. That popularity makes it easier to find replacement parts, and it brings the cost of repairs way down — if you ever need one. On average, 10 years of maintenance will be in the ballpark of $6,000. While that’s not the lowest in this group, it still beats the vast majority of the field.
All images provided by the manufacturer unless otherwise noted.