5 year Cost to Own : Repair and Maintenance?

KBB allows you to do a 5 year analysis of cost to own any new car. On entry priced models like the Honda Fit and Ford Fiesta…repairs & maintenance come to over 4 thousand total for the first five years. Does this make sense to anyone? Most cars come with a 3 year inclusive warranty and a 60 month powertrain warranty…I cannot recall spending anywhere near that amount for the first five years on a new car (unless of course, I am in the early stages of dimentia).

For the cars you mention, I see they have around $2,000 for maintenance and around $2,000 to $2,500 for repairs, just to break that down further.

Yes. The KBB “cost to own” analysis does make sense.

Looking at it, they consider:

  • Fuel
  • Insurance
  • Financing
  • State Fees
  • Maintenance
  • Repairs
  • Depreciation

The chart emphasizes depreciation as the largest cost - and states it’s the gap between what you paid and what it’s worth in 5 years.

The 5 year cost to own is something that I don’t worry about. It’s just part of owning and driving a car. Just like the cost of gas…there is little that you can do about it. We don’t control the price of gasoline. It is what it is.

Another problem I see in their “5 year cost to own” is they do not list PERSONAL PROPERTY TAXES. In St.Louis County, mo. you will pay about $600 the first year on personal property taxes on a $17,000. car. It reduces about $35 a year after that …so that about $2635. in 5 year costs that KBB completely omits.
In other parts of USA , our your personal property taxes comparable to ours?

The figures quoted sound excessive. Maintenance and repair for my Corolla for the first 5 years came to only $771.

@Tom777 In my state you pay different taxes on your car based on what county you live in. It would get pretty unwieldy to try to cover every possible tax situation in a cost-of-ownership calculator, so it’s probably best they just leave the taxes out of it.

If they include all of those costs, that to me is really a meaningless figure for comparing cars. I don’t track fuel, insurance, toll road fees, etc. I do track repairs and maintenance and sometimes look at depreciation. Holy cow, my Acura has depreciated $15-20,000 in three years. I don’t count that though. I do count repairs which have been zero, and maintenance such as filters, serpentine belt changes (can you believe $70 for just the belt?), transmission fluid changes, oil changes etc. But I doubt that has been more than $600 for 50,000 miles. Just my take.

I hope that the OP is not confusing a warranty with a free maintenance policy on the part of the manufacturer. Many high-end cars now feature no-cost maintenance for the first few years, but that is rarely the case with low-priced cars.

The OP is probably not suffering from dementia, but he may be one of those people who believes–incorrectly–that a warranty covers routine maintenance.

I believe they figure maintenance as if you have it all done at the dealer. I’m sure @Docnick doesn’t do that. The repairs estimate is a little squishy since they use an extended warranty as the basis. Still, well educated actuaries determine the real cost. If the giant sales commission is factored out (divide by 2), even the repair estimate might make sense. At least the brands you expect to have low repair costs are low.

@Tom777, Maryland’s personal property taxes are not comparable. We don’t have any. But we do have other taxes to make up for it.

The costs depends largely on the assumptions made. Is all the maintenance done at a dealer? How about the repairs? What’s the assumed mileage over the 5-yr period? What is assumed for repairs (it wouldn’t be unexpected to have a repair or two, even on < 5 yr old car)? How expensive are replacement tires, brakes, filters and the like? How much contingency is added?
If all the most expensive assumptions are included, I could see the calculation being $4,000. I doubt the majority would actually spend that much.

OP writes …

repairs & maintenance come to over 4 thousand total for the first five years. Does this make sense to anyone?

Are you sure that amount is just for repair and maintenance? The other posters here seem to be saying that includes stuff like depreciation. If it if $4K just for repair and maintenance, I’d agree w/you, that does seem a tad bit higher than I’d expect.

On the other hand, comparing one car to another, there can be significant difference in the expected repair and maintenance cost. On a recent Car Talk episode for example, one caller wanted to replace the brake rotors on his car, but it turns out the car was designed such that this was impossible to do without removing the complete hub ass’y first. On most econo-box cars replacing the rotors is child’s play for an experienced mechanic, very little effort involved, but not on that particular car. All this kind of stuff varies, car to car. Like on some transverse mounted V6 engines, replacing the spark plugs on the firewall side can be very time consuming, and might even require removing the intake manifold on that side, so you’d be looking at a 4 to 6 hour job just to replace the spark plugs. But replacing the spark plugs on a similarly configured inline-4 engine is usually again child’s play. It takes me – and I’m just a driveway diy’er – around 15 minutes to do that job on my Corolla.

I have looked at those 5 yr projections and they seem too high to me. I am not sure how they are looking at things. For me, the biggest cost is the purchase price/depreciation. Then insurance. I don’t count gas as the car expense. You have to use gas whatever you drive. I do compare the gas mileages before I buy the car, so I know what I signed up for.

As far as maintenance; I do my own oil change at the tune of $20-30 even if I use synthetic (use online coupons). My 2005 Camry has needed a set of front rotors and pads (easy DIY, don’t remember how much but probably way less than $100) and two sets of lamps ($10, brake and Hazard). A few transmission drain and refills ($17 each, again DIY), one coolant flush (this one done at the dealer, $80; and one serpentine belt ($17, DIY). The car is now at 140 K miles.

As far as maintenance; I do my own

Well, for comparison, retail rates for those around here are:
$59.95 Synthetic oil change service
$269.95 for front pads and rotors
$12.00 each for burned out lamps
$160.00 for a transmission fluid service
$89.95 for a coolant service
$100.00 for a serpentine belt installed.

@asemaster; Thanks for posting the retail price, though I am sure here in LA if I went to a mechanic for one of the items above, I will leave with a longer list. I guess I am still not saving much money by DIY’ing it, but it is my meditation and my wife thinks I am busy in the garage, so leaves me alone!

I didn’t see the article but if you are talking about the total cost of owning a new car for 5 years, $4000 is way low even for a Honda Fit. However if you are talking just repairs and maint. it sounds high to me, but I only use the dealer for free or warranty repairs so I have no idea what they charge.
In many states there are no personal property taxes. We have none in NY State but don/t worry, between Property, income and sales taxes we pay plenty.

$90 for a coolant system service – which I presume includes flushing out the old and pouring in new – that seems a pretty good deal @asemaster . It’s sort of a messy job to attempt in the driveway, trying to prevent any coolant from going down into the sidewalk curb, and the OEM coolant itself is pretty expensive to buy. Does anyone else notice coolant prices are sky high compared to what they were, say 15 years ago?

@GeorgeSanJose Here it is illegal to dump any antifreeze down the drain. I used to winterize my cars and flush the cooling system in the driveway. No more, it all has to be recycled…

The $90 mentioned is reasonable for a good flush, pressure test and long life antifreeze.

The costs allow a comparison between different cars. If you prefer, change it to a percentage and standardize on the lowest cost.