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Maintenance costs are among the most important considerations when shopping for a new or used car. Honda is well known for making reliable cars, but you might be surprised to learn that the popular Civic isn’t the cheapest to maintain. Here’s a look at the HR-V, the Honda model with the lowest maintenance costs.

Here’s how Honda maintenance costs compare to other brands

A silver Honda logo on a grille with a blue sky in the background.
Honda logo | Matt Cardy via Getty Images

RepairPal collects reliability data for many Honda models, including retired vehicles. Overall, the Japanese auto giant scores well in reliability and maintenance costs. The brand has a reliability rating of 4 out of 5, which RepairPal considers “excellent.” The average annual maintenance and repair costs of a Honda model is $428. 

That’s inexpensive compared to most automakers. For context, across all cars, the average annual maintenance cost is about $652. The main reason for Honda’s low cost involves two factors. The first is that Honda’s cars are less likely to need unexpected maintenance than the average car. The second factor is that surprise issues tend to be less severe than average. 

The HR-V is the cheapest Honda model to maintain and repair

Though the Japanese automaker has a lower average annual maintenance cost as a brand, some Honda models are more affordable than others to keep running. The least expensive is the HR-V. Owners pay about $301 yearly to maintain and repair this subcompact crossover SUV. That means it has an annual maintenance cost that’s less than half of what the average driver pays.

In addition, RepairPal collects data from car owners who report problems with their vehicles. So far, the HR-V has no owner-reported issues on the consumer site. However, the lack of reported issues likely points to low engagement from owners rather than an absence of problems. For example, some common repairs are replacing the car’s filters, sensors, and other parts.

Owners who replace their HR-V’s air filter will spend about $60. One of the more expensive repairs is replacing the radiator fan motor. That costs around $900. Catalytic converter thefts are on the rise, and Hondas are targets for thieves. HR-V owners who need to replace their catalytic converter will have to spend about $1,500.

How do the Civic and HR-V compare in maintenance costs?

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Although the HR-V is the Honda model with the lowest annual maintenance and repair costs, the Civic is also relatively inexpensive to keep on the road. On average, Civic owners pay about $368 a year in maintenance and repairs. That makes this popular compact car cheaper to maintain than the average Honda.

However, because the Civic is so popular, owners on RepairPal have reported more issues than HR-V owners have. Civic owners have reported 162 problems with their cars. The most common issue concerns the occupant position sensor failing, triggering an airbag light. That’s due to a defective sensor, which Honda has addressed through a recall. 

Like any other car, the Civic has parts that need replacing eventually. One of the common parts needing replacement is the oxygen sensor, setting owners back by about $350. Replacing the distributor assembly is another expensive repair, costing about $600.