Buying a car is one of the major milestones in life. And that’s especially true if you are buying your first car.
In the excitement of this rite of passage, many forget that buying a car is kind of like marriage – the day you say I do, you take on some new responsibilities.
Sure you won’t go to bed with your car even though you may have to sleep in it at some point. But the fact still remains – there are responsibilities after the purchase.
Maintenance and running costs to be more specific.
If you forget to factor this in when you are hunting around for a bargain vehicle you may end up spending more than you bargained for in maintenance costs.
That is why you need to know the cheapest cars to maintain if you are a first-time buyer or if you are more on the frugal side.
3 Main Maintenance Costs Every Car Owner Will Have to Face
Before you buy a car, you will have to know and consider the costs that come with car ownership.
These are costs every car owner (from Corvette to Corolla) will have to live with. And if you are looking for one of the cheapest cars to maintain, these costs will play a big role in your ownership experience.
Let’s take a look at 3 of the biggest.
Most cars come with a service schedule.
You will be wise to follow it.
Avoiding or deferring the service to a later date will only make things worse down the road. This is because components that should be changed before they break down or reduce the efficiency of the engine will be allowed to work until they give up. This will cost you more in terms of towing fees and repairing damages that could otherwise have been averted by servicing the car.
Another expense you will have to consider as part of living with a car is insurance. Like servicing, insurance is a running cost you only appreciate in the event of an eventuality. The cost of insuring a car is dependent on many factors, but some of the main ones are the price and the reliability of the brand and model you are buying.
The fuel consumption of cars does not just show on the fuel gauge. It also shows itself in your pocket. Sure it’s great to own a big brawny truck, but the question is – are you able to keep up with its thirst? When looking for a car to buy, always think long term – after all, that’s what marriage is.
With those factors to mull over, let’s go ahead and look for those cars whose maintenance won’t dent your pocket – well, not that much anyway.
10 of the Cheapest Cars to Maintain
Now that you know the importance of considering life (and costs) after purchasing a vehicle, let me show you some of the cheapest cars to maintain.
The annual estimated maintenance is taken from RepairPal.com, a reputable database for all things car repairs related.
1. Toyota Corolla
There is a simple reason why the Toyota Corolla is one of the best selling cars of all time – it’s cheap to maintain. The Toyota Corolla is iconic when it comes to reliability, fuel consumption, and, well everything actually.
If ever there is a car that comes close to perfection, this is it.
It may not be the most thrilling ride on the road but what it does do, it does very well. Coming with a simple (fewer things to go wrong) 4-cylinder engine and featuring a very sturdy build, the Toyota Corolla is the cheapest car to maintain with an estimated annual maintenance cost of $341.00.
The Toyota Corolla earns itself a 5-star rating for being one of the most economical cars on the road.
2. Honda Accord
Trailing slightly behind the Toyota Corolla is the Honda Accord, another car that is a prominent feature on American roads.
Although known for being dull and boring to look at in the past, the 2018 iteration takes off the gloves and takes the fight to some of the sexiest cars on the market. Looks aside, the Honda Accord has a great reputation for being a family-friendly sedan that is easy to live with. And when you decide to hand it to your children years down the road, chances are it will still be in good working order.
In other words, it is a strong workhorse that defies the grim reaper.
As for annual maintenance costs, the Honda Accord is estimated to cost $351.00. A pretty affordable figure for most people, garnering the Accord 5 stars.
3. Toyota Camry
Straight on the heels of the Honda Accord comes another Toyota, this time it’s the Toyota Camry.
This mid-size sedan has been stealing the hearts of many people all over the world for decades thanks to its spacious interior and executive finishes.
Like its sibling, the Toyota Corolla, the Camry is renowned for its reliability and fuel efficiency. And the 2018 model takes both to a whole new level with its exceptional build quality and a new hybrid engine that scores the highest EPA ratings in the family sedan segment.
The Toyota Camry is still as good a buy as it was decades ago as the annual maintenance costs are estimated to be around $381.00. This is definitely one of the best cheapest cars to maintain, and that earns it 5 stars.
4. Honda CR-V
If you’re one who has been shying away from SUVs for fear of burning a hole in your pocket in maintenance costs, meet the Honda CR-V.
Yes SUVs, like the Honda CR-V, can also be among the cheapest cars to maintain.
The Honda CR-V is regarded as one of the best SUVs on the road due to exceptional build quality and superb engineering. These two tenets are the hallmark of the CR-V and translate to durability and excellent fuel economy for you.
Surprisingly, the Honda CR-V is comfortable too, especially for a car in its price range. It will definitely afford you and the family many memorable road trips. But the best part about this awesome car is that it is one of the cheapest cars to maintain, even among other cars smaller than it.
With an annual maintenance cost of $403.00, this car is a steal. It certainly has earned the 5-star rating we are giving it.
5. Kia Optima
The Kia Optima is one gorgeous looking car that can actually pass for a premium luxury car.
But the Kia Optima is not just a pretty face. It brings a lot to the table. Advanced engineering and technology make it one of the safest and most efficient cars in its class. It also comes in 5 different powertrains, making the Kia Optima a very versatile car.
And if you love traveling with your family, this mid-sized sedan has ample room to keep the average family seated in comfort. And for those long trips, the superb infotainment system is more than adequate to keep everyone entertained. To top off all these good features and functions of the Kia Optima is the annual maintenance cost of $411.00.
This is definitely a bargain vehicle if you are looking for an affordable to buy and run the family car. It’s definitely a 5-star vehicle.
6. Nissan Versa
If you are looking for one of the cheapest cars to maintain (and yet still reliable) cars in America, then the Nissan Versa might just be it as it was designed and built to be just that – the best cheap car.
And it probably is with a base price of $13,000.00.
Unfortunately, though, the interior will show that you are in a cheap cockpit. And of course, you can’t expect a car like this to be exciting and fun to drive as it comes with a small 4-cylinder engine that was built for economy and not thrills. But if you are looking for a reliable car to take you from point A to B then this might just be it.
Couple that with the fact that it costs just $414.00 per year to maintain and you’ll have yourself a pretty decent car. Because of the glaringly cheap interior, the Nissan Versa loses 1-star to settle at a 4-star rating.
7. Toyota Prius
Yes, this is the third Toyota on the list. Perhaps it’s a testament to just how reliable and economic Toyotas can be.
The Toyota Prius is no exception.
Gaining fame and popularity as the car that defined and dominates the hybrid car segment, the Toyota Prius is definitely a price saver in more ways than one. From purchase price to superb fuel consumption, the Prius ticks all the boxes.
And when it comes to life after purchase, the Prius will still take good care of you by saving you a lot of money when it comes to maintenance costs. Rated at an estimated $421.00 per annum, this is definitely one of the cheapest cars to maintain.
This is one car you should certainly consider if you are looking for a cheap car to maintain. And if you are into hybrids, then this is one car you will be happy to have on your driveway. Definitely, a 5-star car, if you ask me.
8. Toyota Tacoma
If you are looking for a truck that you can comfortably live with without worrying about exorbitant maintenance costs, then you’ll definitely live happily ever after with the Toyota Tacoma.
The Toyota Tacoma is a ruggedly handsome truck that is built to take you on adventures that other trucks fear to go. From mountains as rugged as itself to sandy deserts, the Tacoma will gladly take you there. Although the fuel economy isn’t all that great, it is good enough for a truck.
Besides, the $454.00 annual maintenance cost is too good to pass for a vehicle of this caliber (and size). And for that, the Tacoma scores a healthy 5 stars.
9. Kia Soul
Kia defied all odds when they released a box-shaped car in a sea of lines and curves. But fortunately for them, the gamble paid off handsomely.
The Kia Soul was a hit.
Apart from its eccentric looks, the Kia Soul is also well equipped with some of the latest technology, making it very appealing to the younger generation. But apart from its looks and features, Kia has another ace up its sleeve – it’s one of the cheapest cars to maintain. And for the young generation that it targets, this is a huge plus.
So how much does it cost to maintain this soulful car?
The Kia Soul will set you back an estimated $470.00 a year in maintenance costs. Being pricier to maintain than a big truck like the Toyota Tacoma, this costs the Kia Soul a star, leaving it with a 4-star rating.
10. Nissan Pathfinder
Another great looking, affordable, and cheap to maintain SUV comes in the form of the Nissan Pathfinder.
The Nissan Pathfinder has evolved quite well over the years from the rugged off-roader that it was to the refined family-friendly minivan alternative that it is today. Sporting a modern streamlined design and an interior that offers premium comfort, this is one car you will enjoy zipping around town or on long road trips. Powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine that has the power of 284 horses, this is a no-nonsense car that will take you anywhere you choose to go – within reason, of course.
And when it comes to budgeting for maintenance costs, the Nissan Pathfinder requires that you set aside a modest sum of $483.00 per year to keep it in good running condition.
Like the Honda CR-V, this is one car that comes highly recommended if you are looking for a great car for the family. The Pathfinder is definitely one of the best cheapest cars to maintain, a 5-star car.
Nissan The Cheapest Cars to Maintain – One for Everyone
Car ownership need not be a pain in your posterior. If you do your research well you can find a car that is easy to live with and fun to drive to.
This list will definitely set you on the right road to getting yourself a car that is easy and cheap to maintain. And that is what makes for a happy driver.
And just between you and me, if you can’t make up your mind as to which of these cheapest cars to maintain you should pick, I’d personally go for the Toyota Corolla.
Otherwise, take your pick and hit the road, Jack.