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One of the biggest advantages to buying a new vehicle instead of a used one is that it comes with an extended warranty that covers the cost of repairs within the first years of ownership. While this can afford a certain peace of mind, especially with brands that offer extra-long coverage periods, be aware that the ongoing service procedures required to keep the warranty in effect are not usually covered. 

Usually excluded are maintenance charges – oil changes, inspections, and so on – and the costs to replace so-called wear and tear items, including a vehicle’s brake pads, belts, hoses, and battery. So if you’re buying a new car or truck (or something used that’s out of warranty), picking one that’s cheaper to keep running can save a large chunk of money over the long haul. How much can you save by picking a model that’s less expensive to work on in the first place? 

According to the index of 10-Year Maintenance Costs maintained by CarEdge.com, the Tesla Model 3 is the cheapest vehicle to maintain, with a projected 10-year cost of $3,587. According to the website that beats the industry average among luxury models by $8,734. Electric cars require less maintenance and fewer repairs than conventionally powered models, as they don’t require fluid, filter, belt, and spark plug changes, and their powertrains comprise fewer moving parts (including a single-speed transmission).

Though nobody would ever cross-shop such a vehicle with the Tesla, the database says the Ram 3500 heavy-duty full-size pickup truck is the costliest vehicle of any kind to keep running. It’s predicted to set an owner back an average $25,844 over the course of a decade, which is $11,511 more than the average ride on the road will cost during the same ownership period, and more than $22,000 less than the Tesla.

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Among mainstream brands, the site’s research found that Toyota vehicles are the cheapest to maintain overall, with an average 10-year cost of $5,996. With luxury marques, Tesla comes out on top at an average $5,867 in maintenance over the first 10 years. 

Below are the 20 vehicles CarEdge.com says are the least-expensive models in their respective classes to maintain and repair – although we've edited out the vehicles that have been discontinued for 2022. We’ve included both the site’s projected cash estimates for regular maintenance and repairs for the first 10 years of ownership, along with the probability each model will incur a major repair during that time – any service that costs more than $500. And of course, the actual price of maintenance will depend on whether work is performed at a local shop or at a dealership’s service department, local wage rates, parts availability, and more.

We’ll look at the models that are predicted to cost their owners the most for maintenance and repair procedures in a separate post. For now, here are the cheapest vehicles to maintain and repair.

1. Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3

One of the benefits to driving an electric car like the compact Tesla Model 3 is low maintenance and expected repair costs. Most scheduled service visits are little more than a tire rotation and changing the windshield wipers and onboard air filter.

  • 10-year cost: $3,587
  • Annual costs: You’ll get a charge out of the 3’s low upkeep costs that start at a mere $169 in year one
  • Chance of needing a major repair: 8.64% (tied for lowest among ranked models)

2. Toyota Prius

2022 Toyota Prius XLE Nightshade Exterior Rear Quarter

The Toyota Prius hybrid is one of the most frugal fuel sippers among all cars, EPA rated at 58/53 city/highway mpg in its Eco trim. It also rewards owners with affordable maintenance and repair costs.

  • 10-year cost: $4,008
  • Annual costs: The hybrid’s costs rise steadily from $155 the first year to $727 in the 10th
  • Chance of needing a major repair: 11.22%

3. Toyota Corolla

2022 Toyota Corolla Hatchback

Perennial favorite among practical car shoppers, the Toyota Corolla may not be especially flashy, but it gets the job done efficiently and reliably.

  • 10-year cost: $4,087
  • Annual costs: Cheapest to keep over first six years at $148-$393/year
  • Chance of needing a major repair: 11.89%

4. Toyota Prius Prime

Hybrid/Alternative Energy Car: Toyota Prius Prime Plus

The plug-in version of the Toyota Prius hybrid bridges the gap between gas-only and full-electric cars. It’s able to run for the first 25 miles solely on battery power, after which it operates in hybrid mode and gets 54 combined city/highway mpg.

  • 10-year cost: $4,098
  • Annual costs: Plug-in Prius saves gas and costs little to own, at least for the first six years
  • Chance of needing a major repair: 11.22%

5. Toyota Camry

2021 Toyota Camry XLE V6 Review

Low operating costs and reliable long-term operation are hallmarks of the midsize Toyota Camry. It’s one of the few models in its class to still offer a V6 engine as an alternative to the base four-cylinder.

  • 10-year cost: $4,203
  • Annual costs: Stalwart sedan will cost $400 or less for the first six years, reaching $766 by year 10
  • Chance of needing a major repair: 11.89%

6. Toyota Avalon

Full-Size Car: Toyota Avalon Hybrid XLE

The Toyota Avalon is the Camry’s larger sibling with which shares most mechanicals, including the V6 engine. It treats occupants to a roomy cabin and a serene ride, with low maintenance and repair bills.

  • 10-year cost: $4,407
  • Annual costs: Flagship sedan with entry-level running charges; years seven through 10 will be costliest at $581-$787
  • Chance of needing a major repair: 11.89%

7. Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S at Tesla Supercharging station

The electric Tesla Model S is the brand’s flagship, and even though it’s been around for several years without a major makeover still looks fresh. Its operating range tops out at just over 400 miles, with the Plaid version being insanely fast.

  • 10-year cost: $4,566
  • Annual costs: The big Tesla costs little to maintain and repair, starting at $267 the first year
  • Chance of needing a major repair: 8.64% (tied for lowest among ranked models)

8. Tesla Model Y

Tesla Model Y

The Tesla Model Y SUV may lack the larger Model X's rear gullwing doors, but that is a good thing for repair costs as they can get problematic. The efficient Model Y can go a commendable 330 miles on a single charge when properly equipped, although even the lightning-quick Performance model goes 303 miles.

  • 10-year cost: $4,732
  • Annual costs: Only gets pricey in later years, reaching $813 annually after a decade
  • Chance of needing a major repair: 11.68%

9. Mitsubishi Mirage

2022 Mitsubishi Mirage

The subcompact Mitsubishi Mirage is the very definition of basic transportation. Its puny three-cylinder engine is way underpowered, but it gets good fuel economy and is affordable to own.

  • 10-year cost: $4,939
  • Annual costs: Basic transportation costs between $163 and $474 over each of first six years before jumping
  • Chance of needing a major repair: 15.09%

10. Toyota Supra

Toyota GR Supra Jarama Racetrack Edition

The second coming of the Toyota Supra sports coupe shares platforms and components with the BMW Z4, but comes wrapped in distinctive styling. It’s quick and nimble and would suffice for many to use as a daily driver.

  • 10-year cost: $4,950
  • Annual costs: Sportiest Toyota starts out higher than some at $220, but stays low at $861 by year 10
  • Chance of needing a major repair: 12.57%

11. Honda Civic

2022 Honda Civic Hatchback

Redesigned for 2022, the compact Civic is offered in sedan and hatchback models that run from basic to luxurious, though the sportiest variants are taking the model year off. It boasts a well-earned reputation for reliability.

  • 10-year cost: $5,245
  • Annual costs: $183-$504 in first five years, but rises to hit to $977 by year 10
  • Chance of needing a major repair: 15.57%

12. Mitsubishi Mirage G4

2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4: Review

The Mitsubishi Mirage G4 is the sedan alternative to the Mirage hatchback. It remains cheap to buy and own, making it a good fit if you'd rather have a traditional trunk instead of a hatch.

  • 10-year cost: $5,254
  • Annual costs: Annual costs are affordable at $400 or less the first five years
  • Chance of needing a major repair: 16.00%

13. Nissan Versa

2022 Nissan Versa

The affordable Nissan Versa subcompact sedan is a solid choice for those on a budget. It’s nicely designed, meets basic needs, and is affordable to both purchase and own. It also has standard automatic emergency braking on all models, making it a decent choice for new drivers.

  • 10-year cost: $5,331
  • Annual costs: First year charges at $173, but it cracks $1,000 in a decade
  • Chance of needing a major repair: 16.43%

14. Mazda3

2022 Mazda3 2.5 S Carbon Edition Sedan

With all-wheel drive newly standard for added security over wet or snowy roads, the compact Mazda3 is now fun to drive in all four seasons, with nimble handling and peppy power. As before it’s offered in sedan and hatchback versions.

  • 10-year cost: $5,409
  • Annual costs: Expect nominal increases until a jump at year seven
  • Chance of needing a major repair: 16.22%

15. Honda Accord

2022 Honda Accord Sport exterior

Still a strong seller even as the market has shifted away from sedans to SUVs, the midsize Accord is roomy, comfortable, and a pleasing performer. It’s powered by either of two four-cylinder engines that afford economical and reliable operation.

  • 10-year cost: $5,412
  • Annual costs: Fairly steady increases, with a boost at year seven
  • Chance of needing a major repair: 15.7%

16. Toyota C-HR

2019 Toyota C-HR: Review

The subcompact Toyota C-HR SUVs comes wrapped in distinctive-looking exterior styling some might find too busy for their tastes. Unlike most crossover SUVs, the C-HR is strictly a front-wheel drive model, with no all-wheel drive option.

  • 10-year cost: $5,425
  • Annual costs: Consistent with the class, costing around $700 over the first three years
  • Chance of needing a major repair: 16.08%

17. Nissan Sentra

2020 Nissan Sentra SR: Driving Notes

Not the most exciting ride on the road, the compact Nissan Sentra is nonetheless efficient and is a reasonably comfortable and reliable small car.

  • 10-year cost: $5,441
  • Annual costs: Typical among small cars, running from under $200 to over $1,000 in the first decade
  • Chance of needing a major repair: 16.43

18. Lexus ES 350

2019 Lexus ES 350: Review

The midsize Lexus ES comes with the lowest maintenance and repair costs of all non-electric luxury cars. It’s not as fun to drive as some costly European imports, but it transports up to five passengers with a smooth ride and a comfy cabin.

  • 10-year cost: $5,488
  • Annual costs: Maintenance and repair charges are most affordable for the first five years, then climb more steeply uphill from there
  • Chance of needing a major repair: 15.13%

19. Toyota RAV4

2022 Toyota RAV4 SE Hybrid

Popular compact crossover SUV excels in most areas. It’s smartly styled, is sufficiently roomy and comfortable, performs well, gets good fuel economy, and has a solid reputation for reliability.

  • 10-year cost: $5,531
  • Annual costs: They’re most affordable through the warranty period, then rise gradually through years four to six
  • Chance of needing a major repair: 16.08%

20. Nissan Altima

2021 Nissan Altima Blue front quarter

The midsize Nissan Altima sedan affords decent performance and a roomy cabin with the automaker’s comfortable zero-gravity seats. It offers a semi-autonomous (albeit hands-on) highway driving system.

  • 10-year cost: $5,561
  • Annual costs: Costs rise the most in year seven and later, winding up over $1,000 in year 10
  • Chance of needing a major repair: 16.43%
  10-Year Maintenance Costs Chance Of Needing A Major Repair
Tesla Model 3 $3,587 8.64 Percent
Toyota Prius $4,008 11.22 Percent
Toyota Corolla $4,087 11.89 Percent
Toyota Prius Prime $4,098 11.22 Percent 
Toyota Camry $4,203 11.89 Percent 
Toyota Avalon $4,407 11.89 Percent
Tesla Model S $4,566 8.64 Percent
Tesla Model Y $4,732 11.68 Percent
Mitsubishi Mirage $4,939 15.09 Percent
Toyota Supra $4,950 12.57 Percent
Honda Civic $5,245 15.57 Percent
Mitsubishi Mirage G4 $5,254 16.00 Percent
Nissan Versa $5,331 16.43 Percent
Mazda3 $5,409 16.22 Percent
Honda Accord $5,412 15.70 Percent
Toyota C-HR $5,425 16.08 Percent
Nissan Sentra $5,441 16.43 Percent
Lexus ES 350 $5,488 15.13 Percent
Toyota RAV4 $5,531 16.08 Percent
Nissan Altima $5,561 16.43 Percent
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