What it Really Costs to Maintain a Standard Car vs Luxury Car

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If you’re ready to move on from your used Toyota Camry, chances are high you’ve looked at more premium offerings as a replacement. It’s a natural urge to desire a luxury vehicle after spending years commuting in a run-of-the-mill yet reliable sedan, but you shouldn’t simply jump ship without doing your due diligence.

Not only will maintenance costs increase, operating expenditures will affect your wallet as well. To better help you transition from losing your car in a parking lot, to ogling it after every trip, here are three scenarios detailing the switch from a regular car to a luxury model and the associated costs with each, including oil changes, replacement spark plugs, and other routine operating costs.

Toyota Camry to Lexus GS350

The Camry is loved by many for its dependability, longevity, and low operational cost – making it best-selling passenger car in the U.S. While this is great for current and prospective owners, it’s a bit disappointing for drivers wanting a little more exclusivity in their drive.

A natural progression up from the Camry is to another Toyota-built four-door, the Lexus GS350. This premium offering comes with top-tier build quality and rear-wheel drive performance, but the question is: it as efficient to run as the Camry?

According to our estimator tool, the price gap between the two for yearly routine maintenance isn’t that drastic – an approximate $28 difference. This is attributed to the way Toyota manufactures their parts as largely interchangeable. You should be aware of the Lexus’ thirst for premium fuel and increased cost for low profile tires, but other than that, you should be able to find it in your budget to treat yourself to a reliable, luxury offering.

Maintenance camry v GS350

Honda Accord to Acura TL

If you’re tired of the fact that your Honda Accord is too common, it may be time to upgrade to a more exclusive yet familiar offering: the Acura TL. Derived from the Accord’s chassis, the TL – especially in third generation flavor (2004-2008) is arguably one of the best front wheel drive offerings available to date and can even be had with a six speed manual transmission.

Even so, the TL is more expensive to operate than its more plebeian cousin. Our data indicates annual maintenance costs for the Acura are $324 – nearly one hundred dollars more than the Accord. Big ticket items tend to happen when the TL is eight-years-old as timing belt replacements at the dealership that be costly. You can cut down that price by working with the experienced mobile mechanics who will come to you and perform the replacement in your driveway, so bear that in mind.

Depending on the trim level and model year of your Accord as well, making the switch to the more premium Acura may not be that drastic of a change in terms of operational costs as the Accord progressed closer to the TL in terms of features and performance throughout the model years.

Maintenance Accord v TL

Nissan Altima to Infiniti M56

Tired of your four cylinder four door? Why not make the jump to a 420 horsepower, 5.6 liter V8 super sedan? While you may think Infiniti’s heavy-hitter flagship from the past five years may be too out of reach, used prices are less and average maintenance costs are only $83 a year more than the Altima. What you’ll need to be aware of, however, is the consistency of repairs needed to maintain the V8 Infiniti, so expect a higher frequency of mechanic visits.

Another point to consider is fuel costs. A 2.5 liter 2013 Nissan Altima can average 31 mpg mixed on regular grade fuel. With average gas prices at $2.37, a 15,000 mile a year commute would cost approximately $1,112. With the Infiniti and its 19 mpg mixed average and premium fuel needs, yearly gas expenditures nearly double compared to the Altima.

Maintenance Altima v M56

When deciding to go from standard to luxury, it’s important to weigh your needs with your wants. If your commute is long and mostly highway mileage, a jump to a premium sedan might not be that significant and could very well improve your mood and enrich your quality of life. If you spend the majority of your driving hours in city traffic, however, you might want to give a more fuel efficient, average sedan consideration and remember when you begin to tick boxes on an options list, an Accord can be outfitted to compete directly with its luxury counterparts.

Ask a Mechanic for expert advice on making the switch - they have real world, hands-on experience with all makes and models and can give you a realistic rundown of repair, maintenance, and operational costs.


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Chris

21 years of experience
1719 reviews
Chris
21 years of experience
Honda Civic - Timing Belt - Perris, California
Chris did an excellent job for replacing my car's water pump and timing belt. He explained everything and turns out great now i know that i won't have a leaky water pump no more.
Lexus ES330 - Timing Belt - Murrieta, California
Chris does a great job, checks his work and keeps me informed as to status. I request him when I use Your Mechanic. I feel like I can trust him.

Fred

16 years of experience
364 reviews
Fred
16 years of experience
Honda Odyssey - Timing Belt - Humble, Texas
Fred arrived on time and got to work immediately. He wouldn’t even take me up on my offer of coffee.....or lunch. He was very competent and efficient., and personable. We talked about a common interest, Air Force jets (I made sure not to distract him). Fred completed the work in less time than expected to my complete satisfaction. I will talk Fred and Yourmechanic up to friends and family and will definitely use Yourmechanic again.
Lexus SC430 - Timing Belt - Spring, Texas
On time. Polite. Competent. Willing to answer questions. Did great work. What else can you ask for?

Diego

20 years of experience
501 reviews
Diego
20 years of experience
Dodge Neon - Timing Belt - Tempe, Arizona
Our experience with Diego was excellent! Diego was here to replace the timing belt and water pump on one of our vehicles. Diego is a true professional and carries himself as such. His demeanor was pleasant and cordial; he was respectful and polite; and, he was communicative and took the time to explain his work and keep us apprised of his progress. Once the work was complete, Diego thoroughly explained all the work he did and the results of his inspection. I would use Diego again in a heartbeat and would also recommend him as he is truly a professional who know his stuff and his cars.
Mitsubishi Endeavor - Timing Belt - Phoenix, Arizona
Diego is an excellent mechanic. He was skilled, informative, and a pleasure to work with. I will definitely be using him again. Kudos, Diego!

Scott

21 years of experience
49 reviews
Scott
21 years of experience
Toyota Avalon - Timing Belt - Glendale, Arizona
Scott worked in the timeframe given plus, he was very professional in doing the job! Satisfied Consumer
Dodge Grand Caravan - Timing Belt Replacement - Phoenix, Arizona
Scott did a great job even in the 113 ' heat. He was courteous, conscientious, and knowledgeable. He went above and beyond to make sure my car was back to good running order.

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