Teslas Have Cheapest 10-Year Maintenance Costs: Consumer Reports

By automotive-mag.com 4 Min Read

A Tesla may be your best choice if you want to save cash on maintenance and repairs over a vehicle’s lifetime. A new study from the nonprofit outlet Consumer Reports found that Elon Musk’s electric vehicles cost less to maintain over a 10-year period than cars from any other brand.

Tesla owners typically spent just $4,035 over a decade, Consumer Reports found. That’s an average of $403.50 per year. 

The findings mirror what we already know about EVs. Since electric motors and batteries have far fewer moving parts than internal combustion powertrains, they require less regular maintenance. There’s also a lower potential for things to break, so EVs tend to be more reliable. 

That’s what Steven Elek, Consumer Reports’ program leader for auto data analytics, believes is at play here. Owners of older Teslas may need to replace something costly like a battery pack, but that’s rare, Elek told InsideEVs. Issues tend to be more common and more expensive in other luxury cars like BMWs, he said. 

To arrive at the ranking, Consumer Reports asked car owners how much they spent on maintenance and repairs in the last 12 months. By analyzing the results for vehicles in the 2014 through 2023 model years, researchers were able to estimate maintenance and repair costs for each brand over a five-year and 10-year span. They used the 75th percentile figures to approximate typical costs. 

Buick and Toyota came after Tesla, tied at $4,900 for 10-year costs. The bottom nine spots were dominated by luxury brands. Land Rover brought up the rear with a long-term maintenance bill of a whopping $19,250. Consumer Reports cautions that the early ownership costs are impacted by warranties.

Here’s the full ranking, arranged by 10-year maintenance and repair costs:

Brand 5-year costs 10-year costs
1. Tesla $580 $4,035
2. Buick $900 $4,900
3. Toyota $1,125 $4,900
4. Lincoln $940 $5,040
5. Ford $1,100 $5,400
6. Chevrolet  $1,200 $5,550
7. Hyundai $1,140 $5,640
8. Nissan $1,300 $5,700
9. Mazda $1,400 $5,800
10. Honda $1,435 $5,835
11. Kia $1,450 $5,850
12. Dodge $1,200 $6,400
13. Jeep $1,100 $6,400
14. Chrysler $1,600 $6,500
15. Volkswagen $1,095 $6,530
16. Cadillac $1,125 $6,565
17. Ram $1,470 $6,670
18. Lexus $1,750 $6,750
19. GMC $1,400 $7,200
20. Subaru $1,700 $7,200
21. Mini $1,525 $7,625
22. Acura $1,800 $7,800
23. Infiniti $2,150 $8,500
24. Volvo $1,785 $9,285
25. BMW $1,700 $9,500
26. Audi $1,900 $9,890
27. Mercedes-Benz $2,850 $10,525
28. Porsche $4,000 $14,090
29. Land Rover $4,250 $19,250

Another takeaway Consumer Reports noted: Four of the five top brands are American. 

To be sure, this study is narrow. It doesn’t include other recurring costs like fuel and insurance. And it excludes collision-related repairs, which can be higher for EVs. Hertz decided to dump a large portion of its Teslas in part because of higher collision-repair costs. Due to inflation, ownership costs will be higher over the next 10 years than the study suggests, Elek said. For that reason, he said consumers should pay more attention to the ranking than the dollar figures. 

Still, the research makes a good case for buying an EV—and a Tesla in particular. 

Do you have any thoughts about long-term EV ownership costs? Drop your thoughts in the comments below, or contact the author: [email protected]

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