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What are the Cheapest Cars to Maintain?

Updated March 17, 2017

Cars cost money to maintain. Some cars are dramatically more expensive than other cars. Replace a pair of burnt out regular headlights in an ordinary car and it's no more than £32. Replace two worn-out xenon headlights in a luxury car and the price goes past £715. A wise car-buyer looks at the entire cost of owning a car. Here are the five cheapest cars to maintain.

The Separate Tasks of Maintenance

Maintenance consists of engine oil, air filters and fuel filters, tire alignment and air pressure, suspension work, battery, engine tuning and labour. Maintenance has to be done, usually, every 7,500 to 10,000 miles for the life of the car. According to MSN's Business Consumer News, the average car will last eight years and 150,000 miles. It isn't unusual for a well-maintained car to make it to 10 years and 200,000 miles. Part of this article is based on the work done by the Automotive website based on the total cost of all recommended maintenance visits for the average lifespan of the car. It includes the manufacturer's suggested retail price, Automotive's opinion of the value of the car, and the fuel economy.

Four of the Top Five 2010 Cars

Number Five: The Chevy Malibu

5 Year Maintenance Cost: $1,319

MSRP Range: $21,825 - £17,520

Value Rating: Average

Fuel Economy: 26 MPG city / 34 MPG highway

Number Four: The Honda Civic

5 Year Maintenance Cost: $1,270

MSRP Range: $16,255 - £15,470

Value Rating: Excellent

Fuel Economy: 26 MPG city / 34 MPG highway

Number Three: The Honda Fit

5 Year Maintenance Cost: $1,245

MSRP Range: $15,700 - £11,219

Value Rating: Excellent

Fuel Economy: 28 MPG city / 35 MPG highway

Number Two: The Saab 9-3

5 Year Maintenance Cost: $1,182

MSRP Range: $28,900 - £29,302

Value Rating: Above Average

Fuel Economy: 21 MPG city / 31 MPG highway

The Winner

The Car with the Best Maintenance Value: The Mini-Cooper

5 Year Maintenance Cost: $1,160

MSRP Range: $18,800 - £22,100

Value Rating: Excellent

Fuel Economy: 28 MPG city / 36 MPG highway

The Mini-Cooper comes with a 118 horsepower engine with a six-speed transmission. Mini-Cooper offers a six-speed automatic transmission as an option. Standard safety equipment includes six airbags, traction control, stability control and ABS braking system. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Mini-Cooper four stars out of five for driver and passenger safety during a front end collision.

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About the Author

In 1990 David Marsh began writing a column in the "Idaho Falls Post-Register" titled "Good Things," which presented restaurant reviews, sports analysis and movie criticism. Besides newspaper columns, Marsh researched police procedures for the Federal government. He has a Bachelor of Arts in administration and a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Utah.