Okay, so you’ve made all the right moves in planning your next car purchase. You’ve kept your current car at least 10 years—preferably 15. You’ve come up with two or three viable options of cars that don’t just look good, they also get good gas mileage and have good safety ratings.
You’ve done some comparison-shopping to see where you could get the best price. All set? Not quite. There’s more to consider, such as the projected cost of maintenance and repairs.
With some cars, even minor fender benders could lead to big repair bills. Low-speed crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety on 11 luxury cars led to repair bills ranging from $5,200 all the way up to a whopping $14,000.
One of the best online tools for figuring out how much cars really cost can be found at Edmunds.com. Its True Cost to Own calculator enables you to compare different vehicles based on the estimated cost of maintenance, repairs, fuel, and other factors.
Interested in a 2012 BMW 3 series sedan? You could probably buy one for about $13,500. However, according to the True Cost to Own calculator, its five year total cost is estimated at more than $42,000.
Willing to go for a 2012 Honda Accord sedan instead? It’ll cost you a couple thousand less to buy. However, over the course of five years, its True Cost to Own will be a lot less.
The Honda’s $16,000 lower cost to own is mostly due to its much lower maintenance and repair costs. A friend who owns a BMW tells me he spends over $100 just for an oil change!
The next time you’re in the market for a car, be sure to factor in all of the costs of ownership.
In our household, we own a 2004 Toyota Sienna and a 2010 Honda Accord. Both have been amazingly affordable to keep maintained. Earlier this year, when the Sienna developed a strange and costly problem with a driver’s door hinge, Toyota even reimbursed us for the more than $500 repair even though it was well beyond its warranty coverage period.
What type of car do you drive? Have you been happy or unhappy with how much it has cost to keep it maintained?