The 10 cheapest cars to maintain for 10 years

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A car's price tag is hardly the only dollar figure you should consider when purchasing a vehicle.

The total cost of maintaining a car over its lifetime can vary by well over $10,000 from one car to another, according to a recent analysis by YourMechanic, a service that connects auto mechanics and vehicle owners.

For example, the analysis found that the Toyota Prius is the cheapest model to maintain, with a cost of $4,300 over 10 years. The Chrysler Sebring is the most expensive to maintain, costing $17,100 over 10 years.

As YourMechanic puts it:

The most expensive thing most Americans own, after their house, is their car. ... But not every car costs the same to keep it running.

For its analysis, YourMechanic mined its "massive dataset" of the car makes and models it has serviced. The models identified as cheapest to maintain were:

  1. Toyota Prius
  2. Kia Soul
  3. Toyota Camry
  4. Honda Fit
  5. Toyota Tacoma
  6. Toyota Corolla
  7. Nissan Versa
  8. Toyota Yaris
  9. Scion xB
  10. Kia Optima

Over a decade, these models' maintenance costs vary from $4,300 for the Toyota Prius to $6,400 for the Kia Optima.

If you noticed that models by Japanese manufacturer Toyota dominate that list, you're onto something.

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YourMechanic found that cars made by Toyota had the cheapest average maintenance costs — followed by cars made by two Toyota-owned manufacturers, Scion and Lexus.

The manufacturers identified as having the cheapest average maintenance costs were:

  1. Toyota
  2. Scion
  3. Lexus
  4. Honda
  5. Mitsubishi
  6. Mini
  7. Mazda
  8. Nissan
  9. Volkswagen
  10. GMC

Over a decade, the average maintenance costs for cars made by these manufacturers range from $5,500 for Toyota to $7,800 for GMC.

At the other end of the manufacturer spectrum is BMW, with an average 10-year maintenance cost of $17,800.

For help lowering your maintenance costs, check out "How to Save $1,000 a Year on Car Maintenance."

To learn more about the Toyota Prius, a hybrid, check out "Is This the Most Fuel-Efficient Car Ever?"

What has your experience been with car maintenance costs? How would you rate the cars you've owned? Share your thoughts below or on Facebook.

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