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Car Maintenance Cost: Which brands are the most expensive to maintain

Obviously the biggest expense you’ll incur with your car is the initial purchase price. But, the annual cost to maintain a car can vary greatly from brand to brand as well as between different models. Whether you’ve bought a BMW or a Toyota, you’ll have a list of car maintenance costs you’ll need to pay throughout the year:

  • Registration
  • Insurance
  • Servicing
  • Possible Repairs
  • Fuel 
  • Tyre Maintenance

On top of that is the depreciation of your car’s value… We know that servicing a European car is typically more expensive — but which brand’s have the highest overall car maintenance cost?

Average car maintenance cost

The average car maintenance cost in Australia will vary from state to state as well as from region to region. You’ll find those based in cities will pay a higher price for a car service and car owners based in regional areas will pay more for a tank of fuel. And of course, we know that the average running cost of a small car will be significantly cheaper than that of a 4WD. Luckily, Savings.com.au has crunched the numbers. 

For our cities, you’ll find fuel is more expensive in Canberra and Hobart and cheapest in Melbourne. When it comes to maintenance and servicing though, Canberra is the most expensive and Adelaide the cheapest. Brisbane wins when it comes to the cheapest car loan repayments, with Canberra and Hobart having the most expensive. 

With all of these costs considered: rego, insurance, servicing, fuel, and tyre maintenance, as well as depreciation of your car’s value — it works out that Canberra is the most expensive city to own a car in with an average weekly cost of $298.94. Melbourne isn’t far behind with an average of $291.42. Brisbane is actually the cheapest Aussie city to own a car in with an average weekly cost of $271.87. 

Total Weekly Cost graph

What are the cheapest cars to maintain? 

Typically, you’ll find a smaller car will always be cheaper to maintain than a 4WD. We know that obviously, smaller cars will use less fuel, but their servicing costs are also cheaper. It’s because there will be more labour involved in servicing a larger car. 

A larger car will also earn itself a more expensive registration cost. This is for differing reasons across our different states and territories, but the result is the same. In Queensland, South Australia, and Tasmania, you’ll pay extra to register your car depending on the cylinders. In NSW and ACT, your rego will be based on the tare weight of your car. In Northern Territory, you’ll pay based on the capacity of your engine. Victoria, however, charges a flat fee for all “light” vehicles. 

Larger cars aren’t all bad when it comes to expenses though. It’s typically cheaper to insure an SUV than one of its smaller counterparts as SUVs have a lower accident rate. 

What about specific cars’ maintenance costs though?

Well, RACQ took all of this into consideration. They calculated the cost of the depreciation, servicing, insurance, registration, fuel, tyres, and possible interest earned on a loan on nearly 140 different vehicles. They calculated the average running costs by basing the cost on the car being owned for a year and travelling 15,000 kilometres per annum. 

The average annual cost for a small car comes to $8,203 — the cheapest small car to maintain? A Kia Cerato at $7,096. A 4WD ute will be the most expensive to maintain over a year, with an average cost of $13,662 a year. A Mitsubishi Triton GLX will be the cheapest of its kind to maintain at an annual average of $12,012. 

What are the most expensive cars to maintain?

In the smaller car category, a Volkswagen Passat 132 will be the most expensive to maintain. It racks up $8,908 in maintenance fees a year. As for 4WD utes, a Toyota Landcruiser Workmate is the most expensive at $17,937 per annum.

annual cost table
Credit: savings.com.au

Diesel car maintenance VS petrol:

Diesel cars’ fuel economy is typically somewhere between 30 and 40 per cent better than their petrol counterparts, however, diesel is more expensive on average. Diesel car services and repairs are often slightly more expensive too. —
We offer better car maintenance at a reasonable price. Book your car in with us today.

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