There are quite a few cars out on the road which are very costly to repair, some of which are fairly new, and others are considered classics or may even be antiques. Older cars that may be unique are exceptionally expensive to repair as many times there are simply no parts on the shelf to be had, and this is when making new “custom parts” or rebuilding old ones can be your only option. This can be extremely expensive. One example might be trying to find a clutch for a 1963 Aston Martin DB4 GT.
What I am investigating within this article are my top five selections of the most expensive late model cars to repair. For the sake of simplicity we will deal with late model cars that many of us may be driving right now.
Surprisingly enough many people think Hybrids are near zero maintenance when actually they are currently much more complex than a vehicle with a regular gasoline or diesel engine. Think about the added items that are not part of a normal car; expensive batteries which will eventually fail, regenerative braking, which seems to be wearing out the brakes unusually fast on my friends 2005 Ford Escape Hybrid. Then there is the small gasoline engine which has to work really hard to move this car up steep hills. All things considered the extra baggage seems to be costing these owners more than the standard Ford Escapes do to maintain.
Second most costly cars to repair seem to be the four to six year old Audi’s. I worked for a guy who drove a 2006 A4 and when he asked me to help with the brakes I fond that there was nothing I could do to help him unless I wanted to invest in a special $5000 machine that can reset the ABS computer systems on those cars. Last we spoke he was preparing to pay $1250 for front brake pads and rotors to be replaced on this car. There is an electronic wear sensor embedded into these pads which makes the computer aware of how much pad is left on the car. Resetting the ABS computer is the only way to get the warning light to turn off on the dash.
Incredibly the Ford F-150 is really high on my list of cars that seem to cost more than normal to repair. Most of this can be attributed to the fact that everything on them seems to break down one at a time. I have been helping a friend with his for years now, and the list of things we have replaced or repaired is shocking. Brake pads and rotors have been replaced every 15 to 20 thousand miles. New EGR valve and solenoid, plus differential sensor at 52,000 miles. New wiper arm bushings at 60,000 miles, new fuel injectors at 73,000 miles. New brake lines due to excessive rust at 76,000 miles. The list goes on. This truck has averaged about $1400 per year in repairs and maintenance.
Jeep Grand Cherokee models from 2000 to 2004 seem to eat up brake pads and warp rotors at excessively high rates. It seems there is a “good caliper” on some models and the rest of us got the cheaper “bad calipers” these cheap ones tend to seize up and this destroys the pads and rotors very quickly. I have put brake pads and rotors on my friends 2001 Grand every year for the past 3 years. In fact the parking brake assembly is so rotted out that we could not get it to work properly last month and he is saving up for the repair parts we need right now.
Any of the Hummer models for any year tend to cost more to service. The parts alone are high dollar, and not every shop is equipped to work on some of the specialized systems on these vehicles. So many folks tend to take them to a dealership for repairs which can be anywhere from 10% to 25% higher cost than a local garage.
many of the parts required for these cars are “dealer only” type parts. So this also raises the cost of servicing these monsters.
Porsche cars are very complicates and high strung cars that are put together in a very compact manner with a lot of specialty parts which can require special tools to repair them as well. This fact tends to limit your options as to who can successfully service your Porsche when she is not running properly. My friend has owned many of these, plus Range Rovers for about as long I have known him, and he complains about the high cost of maintenance on both of these brand of vehicles. He often has to wait weeks for a part, and at times it seems like that Michael J. Fox movie called: Doc Hollywood may have had that part right! Expect to have your Porsche serviced at the dealership where their labor rates could be as much as 25% to 30% higher than the Chrysler dealer down the road.
Overall if you can do any of the routine maintenance yourself then you can save quite a bit each year since you are paying yourself for your labor. Whether it is through some liquid refreshment, or a nap on the couch in front of the television. The main issue that is hard to work around is the high cost of reliable parts. The auto parts stores that i shop at will usually have two price levels, one really low for foreign made (typically 40% or 50% less, than the equivalent American made parts.
So when you are buying a new or used car it is very wise to take into consideration the total “Real” cost of operation including parts and labor for service and repairs. Staying away from the most costly vehicles in terms of their repair costs is easy. Find a model with high customer satisfaction ratings, and ask other owners to show you their service logs on the model you are interested in, and finally ask the same of your salesman and the dealer. If they can show you that the model you are interested in has reasonable rates of failure and low operating costs, then it will help you make a wiser automotive buying decision!