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RepairPal's Ranking: Top 20 Most Expensive and Top 20 Most Affordable Cars To Repair:


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Special From RepairPal

San Francisco CA December 15, 2016; With the season changing from summer to fall, and road conditions changing along with it, a lot of car owners will be heading to the repair shop this time of year. While auto repairs are an unavoidable part of car ownership, there are certain car models that could cost you surprisingly more than you expected.

The decision to purchase a used car takes a lot of time and research. Unfortunately, many future used car owners often fail to educate themselves on an important expense: the average cost of auto repairs.

With that in mind, RepairPal used our proprietary database of auto repair pricing across the U.S. to conduct a study to calculate the average cost of four common auto repairs—water pump, alternator, brake pad replacement, and oil change service—on popular 2010 Compact, Hybrid, Mid-Size, and SUV car models, within a representative sample of U.S. zip codes.

Below are some interesting findings on the average costs of auto repairs in the U.S.:

Hybrids May Be the Way to Go

Hybrids are a smart investment—they provide higher MPG (saving you money at the pump), and they have the most affordable average auto repair cost. According to the RepairPal study, the Nissan Altima Hybrid, Ford Fusion Hybrid, and Toyota Prius (all hybrids) topped the list of most affordable cars to repair.

Some Compacts Are Surprisingly Costly

Many people buy compact cars in an effort to be more economical and reduce repair costs. However, some compact cars can actually end up costing you more money at the mechanic in comparison with their competitors. For example, the Volkswagen Jetta and Mitsubishi Lancer made it onto the most expensive list, and they also cost more to repair than most luxury models and all of the SUVs.

SUVs Can Be Spacious and Affordable

With holiday travel around the corner, use of the family car also increases. SUVs are among the most affordable models for repair costs—the Mazda CX-7 and Ford Explorer came in at #3 and #5, with repair costs 30% below average.

Domestic Is Not Always Cheaper

One of the top three most expensive models to repair is American-made. Despite its low sticker price, the Lincoln MKZ is the most expensive model of all to repair. However, not all American-made cars are expensive to repair— according to the RepairPal study, the Ford Fusion Hybrid is the #2 most affordable car to repair!

Below is RepairPal's Ranking of the Top 20 Most Expensive and Top 20 Most Affordable cars to repair:

Top 20 Most Expensive Car Models to Repair:
(car model category in brackets, average repair cost in parentheses)

  1. Lincoln MKZ - [Luxury] ($2649)
  2. Audi A4 - [Luxury] ($2259)
  3. Lexus IS250 - [Luxury] ($2234)
  4. Volkswagen Jetta - [Compact]  ($2114)
  5. Volkswagen Passat - [Mid-Size] ($2087)
  6. BMW 328i - [Luxury] ($1965)
  7. Mercedes Benz C300 - [Luxury] ($1960)
  8. Mitsubishi Lancer - [Compact] ($1931)
  9. Infiniti G37 - [Luxury] ($1725)
  10. Chevrolet Malibu - [Mid-Size] ($1633)
  11. Chevrolet Equinox - [SUV] ($1604)
  12. GMC Acadia - [SUV] ($1603)
  13. Volvo S80 - [Luxury] ($1600)
  14. Chrysler 300 - [Luxury] ($1578)
  15. Acura TL - [Luxury] ($1537)
  16. Nissan Murano - [SUV] ($1503)
  17. Honda Pilot - [SUV] ($1480)
  18. Toyota 4Runner - [SUV] ($1480)
  19. Kia Sportage - [SUV] ($1469)
  20. Kia Optima - [Mid-Size] ($1454)

Top 20 Most Affordable Car Models to Repair:

  1. Nissan Altima Hybrid - [Hybrid] ($673)
  2. Ford Fusion Hybrid - [Hybrid] ($768)
  3. Toyota Prius - [Hybrid] ($784)
  4. Nissan Sentra - [Compact] ($931)
  5. Nissan Altima - [Mid-Size] ($986)
  6. Mazda CX-7 - [SUV] ($988)
  7. Mazda6 - [Mid-Size] ($1026)
  8. Ford Explorer - [SUV] ($1052)
  9. Honda Accord - [Mid-Size] ($1060)
  10. Ford Focus - [Compact] ($1064)
  11. Mazda3 - [Compact] ($1068)
  12. Hyundai Elantra - [Compact] ($1088)
  13. Ford Fusion - [Mid-Size] ($1093)
  14. Honda Civic - [Compact] ($1120)
  15. Hyundai Santa Fe - [SUV] ($1179)
  16. Hyundai Sonata - [Mid-Size] ($1188)
  17. Kia Forte - [Compact] ($1190)
  18. Subaru Impreza - [Compact] ($1191)
  19. Subaru Legacy - [Mid-Size] ($1213)
  20. Toyota Camry - [Compact] ($1244)
(RepairPal used our proprietary database of auto repair pricing across the U.S. to conduct a study to calculate the average cost of four common auto repairs—water pump, alternator, brake pad replacement, and oil change service—on popular 2010 Compact, Hybrid, Mid-Size, and SUV car models, within a representative sample of U.S. zip codes.)

If you are considering purchasing a car, it is best to realize that wear and tear—and the auto repair costs that accompany it—are inevitable. Do your research before purchasing a new or used car, and make an educated decision. Auto repair costs can be unexpected, but by knowing the average auto repair costs for your model ahead of time, you can possibly save money and avoid stress.