5 Cheapest Cars to Repair

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years

UPDATED: Jul 18, 2021

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What You Should Know

  • The most important question to ask yourself before buying a car is, “what will it cost to maintain this vehicle”
  • Accidents are unpredictable events that could cost you more money than you were originally bargaining for
  • By covering yourself with the right auto insurance policy, you can drive comfortably knowing that your vehicle is protected

When it comes to buying or leasing a new car, a smart car buyer needs to weigh several different factors in the decision equation. There’s the make, the car model, the look of the vehicle, the way it drives, miles per gallon, and of course, the price tag. 

Although you may be tempted to just look at the sticker price, one consideration you can’t overlook is the car’s durability. To that end, you must ask yourself: What will it cost to maintain the vehicle throughout the years? How much is the average repair cost? Does car insurance cover repairs or are you on your own?

Some cars—such as BMWs—are beautiful and drive fluidly, but the upkeep and cost to repair parts are high. According to YourMechanic a Beamer has a 10-year maintenance cost of $17,800. 

So, what are the cheapest cars to repair? 

This guide has you covered.

What Are the Cheapest Cars to Fix? 

When it comes to vehicle costs, you need to consider both the average costs for the frequency of maintenance, the severity of the repair, the average car repair costs, and the total cost to repair or replace a part. 

The following are some of the cheapest car brands to repair: 

Toyota 

Among the Japanese car manufacturers, Toyota vehicles may not be the cheapest to fix; however, they have, on average, the lowest maintenance. 

In fact, they have a 10-year maintenance cost of $5,500.11 

As the world’s global market leader in hybrid electric vehicles, Toyota produces five different car brands, including Toyota, Lexus, Hino, Ranz, and Daihatsu—each one is known for its reliability and low-maintenance. The push toward electric vehicles is likely why a Toyota repair may cost slightly more than other Japanese manufacturers. However, they more than make up for that with dependability. 

Currently, the cheapest and most reliable Toyotas on the market are: 

  • Toyota Corolla – The Corolla is the most affordable car on the road today by annual maintenance expenses. It will cost an average of $350 per year in annual car maintenance with a yearly repair cost schedule that looks like:2
    • Year 1 – $0
    • Year 2 – $0
    • Year 3 – $111
    • Year 4 – $500
    • Year 5 – $583
  • Toyota Prius – With a $763 annual maintenance cost, the Prius may have a slightly higher cost to repair because of the eventual need for a battery replacement.3 However, the hybrid’s high mileage drops the need for gas and total ownership. That said, a new Prius has a five-year repair cost schedule that’s identical to the Corolla.  

Along these lines, the Toyota C-HR, 4Runner, RAV4, and Tacoma are SUVs and trucks that are widely considered to be amongst the most durable and least expensive cars of their type on the market. 

Mazda 

Another Japanese car manufacturer, Mazdas are beloved by mechanics and gearheads alike because of how easy they are to fix and work with. Their engines are much simpler to work on than many other cars, which makes repairs a much more straightforward process. Similarly, replacement parts are easy to source and cheap to buy. 

The average annual repair costs for all Mazda models is $462 per year, including scheduled maintenance and unscheduled repairs.4 And, Mazda’s are the least expensive car to repair when the “check engine” light comes on:5

“According to last Wednesday’s report, an out-of-warranty Mazda costs, on average, $285.70 to repair check engine light-related issues. The cheapest Mazda in the report was a 2013 Miata, which cost a paltry $81 to fix. Confusingly, the Miata did not make it on to CarMD’s list of cheapest cars to repair since the sample size was too small.”

Mazda has dozens of cars on the market, the most inexpensive to own being: 

  • Mazda Miata – Widely considered to be one of the most reliable cars ever made, Mazda’s flagship vehicle, the Miata, has the highest reliability rating of any car on Consumer Reports with a score of 98.6 According to Edmunds, it has an expected 5-year maintenance cost of $4,632 and an average repair cost of $773.7
  • Mazda CX-30 – This small-sized SUV is amongst the most durable in its class, with average car maintenance and repair costs of $111 per visit to the mechanic.8 These are well-built and very reliable vehicles; Consumer Reports ranked it as the best subcompact SUV and put it on their top 10 list.9 

Honda 

At this point, you might be sensing a theme. 

Honda continues the trend of Japanese car manufacturers producing incredibly well-built pieces of machinery that last and are cheap to fix when a problem does arise. They have an average 10-year maintenance cost of $7,200.1  The combination of fine craftsmanship with inexpensive, widely-available parts makes a honda simple to work on at home or in a garage. Per, Motor1:10 

“For decades, American drivers have frequently chosen Honda vehicles because of their reputation for quality and reliability. Hondas can last a long time, provided they are properly maintained, and according to data from RepairPal, Honda maintenance costs an average of $428 per year.”

Some of the least expensive and most reliable Hondas on the market include: 

  • Honda CRV – With an average $136 in repair costs per visit, the compact SUV has a projected $965 in yearly maintenance costs over the first five years of ownership.11 This makes it much less expensive than similarly sized SUVs such as the Ford Escape.
  • Honda Accord – The Accord has a 5-year expected maintenance cost of $5,064 and repairs cost of $2021.12 According to US News Report,13 “The 2021 Honda Accord’s #1 ranking is based on its score within the Midsize Cars category. It is the winner of our 2021 Best Midsize Car for Families award and a finalist for our 2021 Best Midsize Car for the Money award.”  

Volkswagen

As the first non-japanese auto manufacturer to make the list, it should be no surprise that it’s a German company getting a mention. Even with the most expensive car repairs, you are in good hands. With an average $7,800 in maintenance costs over a 10-year period, VW ranks amongst the most reliable car brands on the market.1   

On average, repair costs for a VW are $358. VW’s are cheap for a few primary reasons—they have widely available parts, lower chances of severe repairs needed, great reliability, and excellent manufacturer warranties. 

A Vincentric maintenance cost analysis found that VW’s frequently outperform other vehicles in their class. Findings included:14

  • 2021 Atlas Family of vehicles has the lowest cost of maintenance among midsize SUVs. The Atlas Cross Sport ranked #1 for lowest cost of maintenance in the category.
  • 2021 Jetta ranks #1 for lowest cost of maintenance among compact sedans.
  • 2021 Tiguan has a lower cost of maintenance than competitive models by Honda, Toyota, and Subaru in the compact SUV segment.
  • 2021 Passat and Arteon models have lower cost of maintenance than competitive models by Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai in the midsize sedan segment.

Lexus 

When it comes to luxury vehicles, once more Japan takes the cake with an average 10-year maintenance cost of $7,000.1 Lexus has been highly ranked in the J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study for more than 8 years in a row.15 

As a subsidiary of Toyota, it makes sense why Lexus manages to keep maintenance costs down. Many of their cars borrow the same technology and design framework of a Toyota.

Because it is a luxury brand, the repairs tend to get a bit more expensive because of the nicer parts, increased innovation, and a more modern design. That said, repairs are still far more affordable than compared to other luxury vehicles like Mercedes, BMW, or Porsche.  

Top Lexus models according to maintenance and repair costs include: 

  • Lexus RX – Listed as Consumer Report’s best midsize SUV, the RX projects car 5-year maintenance fees of $7,247 and repair fees of $5,261.16 This vehicle provides a perfect mix of comfort, performance, safety, and reliability that are hard to beat.
  • Lexus GS – Widely considered to be the most reliable Lexus on the market, the GS has 5-year car maintenance costs of $7,159 and repair fees of $1,087. The durability combined with the drivability are major reasons why this sedan is almost always in the year’s top 3 mid-size sedan rankings.   

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Honorable Mentions 

There are dozens of car manufacturers on the market. And although they may not have the same reliability and low repair costs across the board as the brands above, they do have individual vehicles that have low maintenance and repair costs, including:

  • Kia Soul
  • Kia Telluride 
  • Infiniti Q70
  • Hyundai Kona
  • Nissan Titan XD
  • Ford F-150
  • Nissan Pathfinder
  • Ford Mustang

Insurance Protects You From Whatever the Road Throws Your Way

Even if you have the most reliable car on the market, you can’t factor in accidents to the total cost of ownership. Accidents are unpredictable events that could cost you more money than you were originally bargaining for—particularly if you don’t have auto or car repair insurance

Having auto insurance is one of the best investments you can make. When all it takes is a single accident to total a vehicle, you can’t afford to take that risk. Instead, by covering yourself with the right auto insurance policy, you can drive comfortably knowing that your vehicle is protected. 

Need help with that? 

Here at 4AutoInsuranceQuote, we have the tools and resources you need to find the very best auto policy for your vehicle. Get a free comparison today.

References:

  1. Your Mechanic. The Most and Least Expensive Cars to Maintain. https://www.yourmechanic.com/article/the-most-and-least-expensive-cars-to-maintain-by-maddy-martin
  2. Edmunds. Used 2018 Toyota Corolla Cost to Own. https://www.edmunds.com/toyota/corolla/2018/cost-to-own/
  3. Business Insider. The 8 cars that cost the least to maintain. https://www.businessinsider.com/cars-least-maintenance-2019-4
  4. Repair Pal. Mazda Reliability Rating. https://repairpal.com/reliability/mazda
  5. The Drive. Mazda Tops Research Study of Cheapest Cars to Repair. https://www.thedrive.com/news/25509/mazda-tops-research-study-of-cheapest-cars-to-repair
  6. Motor Biscuit. How Mazda Outranked Toyota and Lexus As the Most Reliable Car Brand. https://www.motorbiscuit.com/how-mazda-outranked-toyota-and-lexus-as-the-most-reliable-car-brand/
  7. Edmunds. 2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata Cost to Own. https://www.edmunds.com/mazda/mx-5-miata/2020/cost-to-own/
  8. Your Mechanic. Mazda CX-30 Repair and Maintenance Estimates. https://www.yourmechanic.com/estimates/mazda/cx-30#:~:text=Mazda%20CX%2D30%20auto%20repair,with%20an%20average%20of%20%24106.
  9. Toronto CTV News. Top 10 list of best vehicles for 2021 has been released by Consumer Reports. https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/top-10-list-of-best-vehicles-for-2021-has-been-released-by-consumer-reports-1.5316733
  10. Motor1.com Honda Maintenance Cost. https://www.motor1.com/reviews/410718/honda-maintenance-cost/
  11. Edmunds. Used 2018 Honda CR-V Cost to Own. https://www.edmunds.com/honda/cr-v/2018/cost-to-own/
  12. Edmunds. Used 2019 Honda Accord. Cost to Own. https://www.edmunds.com/honda/accord/2019/cost-to-own/
  13. US news Report. 2021 Honda Accord. https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/honda/accord
  14. VW. 2021 Volkswagen models perform top of segment for lowest maintenance costs according to Vincentric study. https://media.vw.com/en-us/releases/1483#:~:text=The%20Atlas%20Cross%20Sport%20ranked,in%20the%20compact%20SUV%20segment
  15. J.D. Power. More Owners Loving Dependability of Their Three-Year-Old Vehicles, J.D. Power Finds. https://www.jdpower.com/business/press-releases/2020-us-vehicle-dependability-study
  16. Edmunds. 2020 Lexus RX 350 Cost To Own. https://www.edmunds.com/lexus/rx-350/2020/cost-to-own/

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