Generally speaking, the make of a car will determine its running costs. That's why you find small cars such as Kia Picanto under the category of low maintenance cars. Conversely, vehicles like BMWs will be in a group of the costliest cars to maintain.
In Australia, car maintenance costs vary depending on location and other factors. For instance, city dwellers typically spend more for servicing than their regional counterparts. You also need to account for the variation in fuel price between states and territories – the cost of fuel in Canberra is higher than in Melbourne. For this reason, running a car in Canberra will be more expensive than driving a similar model in Melbourne.
What determines the annual car maintenance costs in Australia?
The initial car purchase price is the highest cost that you will have to bear, but regardless of the model you choose, your budget needs to also cover the following expenses:
- Tyre maintenance – your car’s tyres need periodic change, alignment, pressure monitoring, and even rotation.
- Fuel - no fuel, no travel. Aside from the variation in the price of fuel between states, the rate of fuel consumption also varies widely from one model to another.
- Registration – this includes registering your new ride plus the cost of obtaining a roadworthy certificate. You will need over $1,000 for the two procedures.
- Insurance - you cannot drive without a valid insurance certificate. The amount you will spend on insurance depends on the type of vehicle you buy.
- Servicing – there’s no doubt that the bigger the car, the more expensive it is to service. More so, repair costs for a high-end vehicle will be higher.
Which are the cheapest cars to maintain in Australia?
1. Mitsubishi Mirage
With $6,000 a year, you can buy and maintain a Mitsubishi Mirage in Australia. In simpler terms, you'll need 114 AUD every week to cover the costs for the whole year. The pint-size car's depreciation cost is $34.50 every week, equivalent to 30% of its weekly value.
2. Suzuki Alto
Considering the costs of purchase, fuel, depreciation, insurance, and repair, the Suzuki Alto requires $6,237 a year or $120 every week. The relatively low cost has made the vehicle top the list in the Australian Automobile Association's ‘running costs’ survey for several years.
3. Toyota Yaris
The Yaris is another affordable vehicle. It is popular because getting its spare parts is relatively easy. The average maintenance cost of the Toyota Yaris is $140 per week, one of the cheapest in its category.
4. Toyota Prius C i-Tech
The world is going electric. The Toyota Prius C uses both fuel and electricity, making it a little bit more expensive than the Yaris. If you equate that upfront expense with its durability and ecological soundness, however, the cost evens out. For those who want a much greener and more robust car than the regular combustion-engine versions, the Prius C is the best option. You may read about our 2020 Toyota Prius C i-Tech review here.
5. Honda Odyssey
Speaking about affordable running costs, SUVs will not pass the test. However, if you love SUVs, then the Honda Odyssey will be a great purchase. You do need to part with $11,164 every year to maintain it.
What are the most expensive cars to drive in Australia?
1. Mercedes-Benz S-Class
High costs and the Mercedes brand are synonymous. The purchase price of a Benz is high. Maintaining it is also pricey. Running the Merc S-Class will require an annual average of $12,000 for a 10-year period.
2. BMW 7-Series
Within five years, you will need to spend $16,400 annually to maintain your BMW 7 Series ride. However, if you are lucky to have fewer repairs, then the running costs will be lower. But even so, the vehicle falls under the high maintenance category.
3. Ferrari 512/Testarossa
Plan for an annual running cost of $30,000 for the next ten years if you wish to drive the Ferrari 512. Given that Ferrari comes from Italy, shipping charges are inevitable. The cost of logistics increases the maintenance costs of Ferraris in Australia.
4. Nissan Murano
Japan is renowned for manufacturing affordable cars, the likes of Suzukis and Toyotas. However, Murano, also from Japan, is another high-maintenance vehicle. Running close to the Benz S-Class, Nissan Murano requires a hefty $14,700 for maintenance per year in a decade.
5. Volvo S60
Unlike Asian car models and Japanese manufacturers' Germany is little known in the affordability circles. The German-made Volvo S60 will consume an annual average of $8,700 within five years.
6. Kia Sorento
Did you know that the Kia Sorento won the 2015 Australia Car of the Year (COTY) awards and the Best 3-Row SUV for the Money in 2019? If you are looking for an alternative to Volvo S60, Sorento will be an ideal choice.
Car owners often forget to check on the essential aspects of their dream cars. While small vehicles are the cheapest cars to maintain, you won’t find them convenient if you have a big family.
Likewise, you should also consider your main purpose for buying the car. For instance, the Mercedes Benz S-Class series is a durable make, but touring with it in Melbourne can leave you frustrated.
Maximise your purchasing power by conducting detailed research. Also, to spare yourself from the high cost of maintaining your vehicle, source your auto parts from Carpart.com.au. It's your quickest link to the most affordable car parts in Australia.
By Eric Anyega