Teslas are less expensive to maintain than other car brands, including some with strong reputations for reliability, according to Consumer Reports.

As part of its 2023 Annual Auto Surveys, Consumer Reports asked owners how much they paid out of pocket for maintenance costs like oil changes over the previous 12 months. Researchers then compared cumulative costs by brand for years one through five and years six through 10 of ownership.

Tesla had the lowest reported maintenance costs, averaging $580 for the first five years of ownership and $3,455 for the sixth through 10th years of ownership, for a total 10-year cost of $4,035. The higher cost for maintenance for years six through 10 was typical of brands surveyed, as new cars generally have fewer maintenance needs, as well as warranties that supplement out-of-pocket spending.

Tesla Model 3 (Europe-market refresh)

Tesla Model 3 (Europe-market refresh)

Tesla was well ahead of second-place Buick, which had average maintenance costs of $900 for the first five years of ownership and $4,000 for the following five years, totaling $4,900. Toyota, which is emphasizing hybrids in its lineup and is widely perceived to have very low operating costs, was even further back in third place. Its 10-year ownership-cost average was the same $4,900 as Buick, but with a higher cost of $1,125 for the first five years of ownership and $3,775 for the following five years.

The costliest brands were Land Rover, at $19,250 over 10 years, Porsche ($14,090), and Mercedes-Benz ($10,525). Consumer Reports did not provide any analysis for these findings, but Tesla was the only brand surveyed with an all-EV lineup—and previous studies have shown EVs to have substantially lower ownership costs.

2024 Tesla Model S. - Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

2024 Tesla Model S. – Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

A recent Vincentric analysis found that half of 2024 EVs have a lower five-year ownership cost vs. internal-combustion. While those figures include depreciation, which has been high as of late, in fairer times and not including that factor, gas vehicles cost up to six times more than EVs over a period of years—depending on the region—another analysis found. And while electricity prices are relatively predictable, if not stable, over time, a spike in gas prices could negatively affect gas-vehicle operating costs in a big way.

Maintenance costs are only one factor, though. A 2023 Ipsos study found that cost misconceptions may be behind waning EV interest, with many respondents showing concern over battery-pack lifecycles and replacement costs.



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