10 Cars That Cost Way Too Much in the Long Run
So you’ve bought that new car and driven it off the lot. It’s all yours, aside from monthly payment, insurance, and gas, right? Well, not exactly. Every car — from a Toyota Rav4 to a Ferrari — has maintenance costs. Although you’d expect the more expensive models to have higher operating costs, that isn’t always the case.
According to the experts at YourMechanic, some of the most expensive cars on the road are ones that would otherwise seem like sensible daily drivers. Over 10 years, cars usually tend to require about $150 more in maintenance than the year before. If you have a car where routine upkeep is generally more expensive — BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Cadillac, Volvo, and Audi are the costliest — then you’re already at a disadvantage. And yet, when it comes to the most expensive individual models to keep on the road, the premium brands don’t have much of a presence.
Looking over 10 years of data, YourMechanic tracked the priciest cars to keep right, and the results are surprising. Some of these cars have since been discontinued, but if you’re in the market for a used car, you’d be smart to avoid these models. Here are the 10 cars that will cost you the most money over a decade of ownership.
10. Subaru Forester
In 2017, Americans can’t get enough of Subaru’s tall station wagon/crossover Forester. But the 2.5-liter inline four found in previous generations has a notorious habit for eating head gaskets like candy. Repairs are expensive, and buyers who have kept these trouble-prone cars on the road for 10 years end up spending an average $12,200 for the privilege.
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One of the best-looking and fun-to-drive midsize sedans on the market, the Mazda6 is one of our favorites. But older generations have well-documented problems with electrical systems and rust. Even older models can be a blast to drive, but it will end up costing you. Owners spend an average $12,700 over 10 years.
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8. Audi A4 Quattro
The A4 Quattro is one of Audi’s most compelling models, and its relatively affordable price makes it a great entrance point to the brand. But older Audis are notorious for electrical gremlins. And once something goes wrong with the Quattro all-wheel drive system, it can be a long and costly process to set it right. Over a decade, long-term owners can expect to spend $12,800 keeping their car in working order.
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7. Dodge Ram 1500
The Ram 1500 has been around in its current state since 2009, making it the oldest full-size pickup on the market. And though it’s been popular for these past eight years, it’s had its share of problems. In the past few years alone, owners have complained of electrical issues, rust, emissions issues, haywire sensors, and steering issues. Owners hang on to these workhorses for a long time, but over a decade they’ll spend an average $13,300 on upkeep.
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6. Dodge Grand Caravan
Recently discontinued after decades as one of America’s favorite people-movers, the Grand Caravan is also something of a money pit. The long-serving minivan (the final generation ran from 2008 to 2016) costs long-term owners an average $14,500 over a 10 year span.
Next: This now-discontinued car has been nothing but problems.
5. Chevrolet Cobalt
Introduced in 2004 to replace the Cavalier, the Chevy Cobalt was a popular entry-level compact. Not only did it find itself at the center of one of the biggest automotive scandals in history, it also costs a fortune to keep on the road. These “cheap” cars cost an average $14,500 to keep on the road for 10 years. To us, that’s enough to avoid them at all costs.
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4. Mercedes-Benz E350
It’s never been cheap to maintain a Mercedes. But the automaker’s popular E-Class is a standout even among the rest of the brand. Like other German automakers, Mercedes is quick to embrace new technology. But it gets complicated when that tech isn’t quite ready for the big leagues yet. Cushy and complicated, the E-Class will cost owners an average $14,700 to run over 10 years.
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3. Nissan Murano
When it was introduced in 2003, the Murano was an exciting new indicator of Nissan’s bold new styling language for the 21st century. Unfortunately, the handsome crossover has maintenance fees that would make a luxury car owner blanch. Over 10 years, it will run owners $14,700 to keep right.
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2. BMW 328i
For decades, the 328i has been the entry point for thousands of new BMW owners. But like its German counterparts, sometimes BMW’s technological aspirations outpace its abilities. Electrical and computer issues, interior wear, and excessive engine wear are known to plague BMWs once they finish their first decade on the road. On average, a 328i will cost owners $15,600 over 10 years of ownership.
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1. Chrysler Sebring
The homely Sebring served as Chrysler’s convertible, coupe, and midsize car for years. It started at around $19,000 and topped out at around $34,000. Today, even the nicest ones are worth about $6,000. That’s why we were shocked when this forgettable car took the prize as the most expensive car to maintain. Owners running this fool’s errand spent an average $17,100 keeping their Sebrings on the road. We’re all for people doing what it takes to keep their beloved cars on the road, but the Sebring is just a bridge too far for us.