Skip to main content

Your dream car depends on what you like best. That could be performance, design, or even a brand. Many dream cars carry hefty price tags. But as you navigate the car buying process, you might find that your pick has even higher hidden ownership costs than you had imagined. In fact, maintenance and repair costs for some models can add up quickly.

The hidden costs of car ownership

A head-on view of an orange metallic McLaren F1 supercar with its gull-wing doors open
The McLaren F1 costs about $30,000 a year to own | McLaren Automotive Limited

After saving up, you might finally be able to buy your dream car. Purchasing a used model can save money. But don’t be surprised to find that high-end cars also have higher ownership costs. Owners will pay extra for regular maintenance, repairs, and specialty parts, AutoInfluence reports.

A Reddit thread also points to the higher costs for tires. If the car has larger or wider wheels in the back than in the front, the tires can’t be rotated. The car might also need winter and summer tires if all-season versions aren’t available. These staggered set-up tires also have shorter warranties.

Dream cars with high ownership costs

Some cars stand out for their high ownership costs. The McLaren F1 costs about $30,000 to maintain each year. Oil changes cost a whopping $8,000, and a new pair of tires run about $3,000. This dream car even has to be sent back to the factory in the United Kingdom for some service, AutoInfluence reports.

A Porsche Carrera GT costs a lot to service because the service technician must own special equipment. An oil change costs about $3,000, although it’s needed only every 15,000 miles. Having the brakes fully replaced on this dream car costs about $30,000.

The Bentley Continental GT costs about $3,200 to maintain each year. That includes $500 for oil changes each year.

The Aston Martin DB9’s annual maintenance costs are $1,200 to $2,600, and an oil change costs around $400.

The Mercedes S65 AMG and CL65 AMG require specialty parts. They’re reliable cars, but they cost about $500 to $1,000 to maintain every year.

Even lower-priced luxury cars can be expensive to maintain. Consumer Reports recently looked at 10-year-old 2011 models and found that the BMW 5 Series costs about $1,200 to maintain each year. The BMW 3 Series costs an average of $800 annually, while the Acura RDX costs about $700 each year. The Mercedes-Benz E-Class requires about $600 to maintain yearly.

Why do dream cars cost so much to keep on the road?

Maintenance and regular oil changes are important for any vehicle, but they cost extra for dream cars. High-performance cars cost more to maintain for severale reasons. Technicians trained by the automaker should service these cars, and these skilled mechanics charge higher rates for their specialized services. The cars also need high-quality performance oil and other specialty fluids.

Also driving up costs is that changing the oil in many of these cars is a long process. In a standard car, it takes about 15 minutes. In a Bugatti Veyron, it takes 27 hours. This supercar has 16 drain plugs, and its underbody must be removed to access them.

But there’s some good news for people who are in a position to buy and maintain their dream cars. Unlike standard vehicles, supercars and exotics retain their value or even appreciate. Among regular models, Japanese vehicles generally have lower maintenance costs, while German cars tend to be more expensive to maintain.

So although your ideal car might cost way more than you think, don’t let that stop you from dreaming.


The 2021 Audi R8 Spyder Is the Most Expensive Audi to Insure