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Consumer Reports Rates Tesla Number 1 for This Car Ownership Benefit

Tesla owners can expect some financial relief with this one benefit Consumer Reports says Tesla beats everyone else at.

A recent newsletter from Consumer Reports alerts consumers to the fact that car brands can differ by thousands of dollars over a 10-year period according to a new report looking at the 1‒5 year and the 6–10 year estimated maintenance and repair costs of 29 brands.

The difference to maintain a car on average between some brands can be thousands over a 10-year time frame,” says Steven Elek, Consumer Reports’ program leader for auto data analytics.

Caveats to the Study on Car Maintenance Costs

CR analysts also pointed out, however, that comparison data covering the first 5 years of maintenance and repair costs is not always directly correlative due to:

1. Some brands provide free maintenance periods during the first few years and therefore defray from an owner’s cost during years 1-5.

2. Most cars need only a little work the first two years aside from oil changes and the recommended tire rotations for longer road life.

3. Nearly all warranties cover at least the first three years when it comes to repairs.

However, their analysis shows that after the honeymoon period of warranties and when wear and tear does become a significant factor, the maintenance and repair costs do skyrocket.

What Models Cost the Least and the Most in Maintenance and Repair?

CR’s cumulative costs by brand based on consumer survey data from 2023 found these three extremes amongst the brands compared:

  • Tesla had the lowest maintenance and repair costs of all brands compared: 1-5 years at $580 / 6-10 years at $3,455 / Total 10-year cost at $4,035.
  • Several German automakers were standouts as the most expensive brands. The 10-year costs of Audi ($9,890), BMW ($9,500), Mercedes-Benz ($10,525), and Porsche ($14,090).
  • The biggest loser is the Land Rover: At a remarkable $19,250 over the first 10 years of ownership, you really have to question why you would still want this brand.

How Much Will My Tesla Cost Me in Maintenance and Repairs This Year?

When it comes to the cost of car maintenance and repair, last March Consumer Affairs dot com reported that on average you can expect to pay $900 per year in maintenance and unexpected repairs and stated, “According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cost of car maintenance and repair has gone up 36.2% from January 2019 to January 2024.”

Consumer Affairs’ list of the cost of maintenance and repairs for multiple brands of cars differ markedly from Consumer Reports 2023 Annual Auto Survey data in at least one broad interpretation of the data: The CR numbers are on the low side of estimates overall, but not unusual in the trend of brands and their relative comparative repair costs.

For example, if there is no battery replacement in the Tesla within the first 10 years of ownership, then Tesla highly likely does rate better in maintenance and repair costs than all other makes.

Related article: 10 Major Problems with Electric Cars Shoppers Need to Know

To find out roughly how much each car brand costs to own in 2024, we took 2019 data from RepairPal, a site that compiles automotive service costs, and adjusted it for inflation. For reference, the average for all brands increased from $652 per year to $888 per year during this time,” stated Consumer Affairs.

Here is a sample summary of the same brands listed by Consumer Reports as reported by Consumer Affairs:

  • Tesla: $1,133 in 2024
  • Audi: $1,134 in 2024
  • BMW: $1,313 in 2024
  • Mercedes-Benz: $1,237 in 2024
  • Porsche: $1,623 in 2024

Please Note: Any attempts to compare/contrast and extrapolate the differences between Consumer Reports and Consumer Affairs numbers would be an exercise in frustration. You really have to know exactly what data was collected, used, and how it was categorized on top of which statistical analysis program was used.

In other words: Cum grano salis.

How Do I Make My Car Last 200,000 Miles or Longer?

Here's some sound advice from Consumer Reports on the importance of maintaining your car for long life.


For more CR-related car articles, here are three useful ones with car shopping advice for consumers: Please click the Add New Comment red link below to add your comment.

Timothy Boyer is an automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites  and Facebook for daily news and topics related to new and used cars and trucks.

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