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European Car Service: Why It’s More Expensive

We all know that luxury cars and European cars are more expensive than their Japanese and Korean counterparts. Your European brands like BMW, Volkswagen, Audi, Mercedes Benz, Alfa Romeo, Land Rovers, Peugeot, and even Skoda are all known for costing a little bit extra. 

A slightly lesser known fact is that they’re usually more expensive to service and maintain. It’s a big consideration involved with buying one of these cars. You can afford the initial purchase price, but can you afford to maintain it long-term? 

This is partially from the dealership myth. Dealerships and car manufacturers tell us that we need to take our cars to them for our car services or repairs. If we don’t, we’ll lose our car’s warranty and destroy the resale value. While both of those ideas are totally untrue… Having your European or luxury car serviced at a ‘normal’ mechanic workshop isn’t cheap either. But, why?

We’re taking a look at car service prices and how they’re broken down. So you can feel more informed next time you’re looking for a European car service.

How are typical car services priced?

The price of a car service depends on which state you’re in, whether you’re located regionally or in the city, and on your mechanic. Did you know Western Australia is the cheapest state to get your car serviced in? While the ACT is the most expensive for it. 

More specific considerations, made by your workshop are: labour costs, parts costs, and whether there’s a large maintenance event due. Large maintenance events include service items like: timing belts, clutches, and air conditioner services. These items are costly to repair and replace — and the parts themselves are typically expensive. So, certain logbook car services will cost more as well, because they require these large maintenance events. 

Then, you’ll find pricing differences between a car service for a hatchback and for an SUV. There’ll be pricing differences between services for a Japanese or Korean car and an Australia-manufactured car too — because the former’s parts will usually be cheaper. Then of course, there’s another jump in price to service a European car or a luxury car.

How much more expensive is a European car service?

Your Mechanic crunched the numbers here and back in 2016, they found that the most expensive car brands (not just European car brands) to maintain over a ten year period were: 

  1. BMW
  2. Mercedes-Benz
  3. Cadillac
  4. Volvo
  5. Audi

However, that’s talking maintenance. In maintenance, researchers include the depreciation costs, insurance, registration, and fuel. 

More recently RACQ has weighed up similar data. They considered the weekly and annual costs of running a car. They based this on a car being purchased with a five-year loan and travelling 15,000km a year, taking into account expenses like: loan interest, tyres, fuel, services, insurance, registration, and depreciation. 

Across the 140 different cars they considered, the average cost was $237 a week — $12,300 a year. The cheapest vehicle was a Mitsubishi Mirage ES manual hatch at $6,000 per year. The most expensive? The BMW X5 at $23,000 per year.

Which car should you get for the cheapest luxury or European car service?

Electric cars are providing the cheapest maintenance costs at the moment. Tesla is among the cheapest of luxury cars when it comes to servicing. This is because, unlike any other European brands, luxury cars, and basically any vehicle that releases emissions, electric vehicles don’t have the same service requirements. Electric cars don’t need oil changes, fuel filter changes, or spark plug replacements.

Where do the extra costs come from for European cars?

Firstly, the dealership tax. Like we touched on earlier, getting your car serviced at the dealership is almost always more expensive. However, especially with a European car service, car owners can feel scared to take their cars elsewhere. Each car’s engine is different, however, up until recently European cars and their technologies were quite different. Today, European cars will usually have slightly more sophisticated engines. So, there may be higher labour costs if your mechanic isn’t totally familiar with the brand (but this shouldn’t be a noticeable amount).

The big kicker though, is the parts. European car parts are more expensive than other cars’ parts. Firstly, a lot of workshops won’t keep European car parts in stock how they would with Hyundai spare parts. So, often they need to order the parts in. Secondly, European car parts are usually of a higher quality already — so they’re already expensive without the special ordering and shipping.

Dealerships Vs. Workshop for European car service: what’s the difference?

While we know dealerships are certain to be more expensive than a generic workshop, some workshops do apply a luxury car tax. Typically though, servicing your car with a generic mechanic will be cheaper. The truth is though, it depends on your mechanic, the workshop, the kilometre service you’re up to, your city… the list goes on.


Looking for a more affordable European car service? All of our car services are done by the book.
Book your car in with us today here.

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