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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

2008 Most Expensive Cars to Repair

Even the best-made vehicles with the highest quality ratings will likely have something go awry that requires repair in the first five years of ownership. Those repairs may not come cheap for some car owners. You might want to factor in--along with fuel and insurance--the cost of repairing a vehicle when the warranty expires when shopping to buy a car on a specific budget.

The most expensive luxury vehicles to repair are the Audi A8 and Mercedes-Benz G Class, both with five-year estimated repair costs of $1,640. Other luxury vehicles in the top five are the Jaguar XK,at $1,629; Land Rover Range Rover, at $1,600; and Mercedes-Benz CL Class, at $1,540.

Repair estimates calculated over a five-year period by Vincentric, an auto-industry data-analysis company, were used to determine the average amount consumers might pay to keep their new cars in operating condition. Vincentric examines the cost of zero-deductible, bumper-to-bumper extended-warranty claims to calculate the median cost owners should expect to pay for repairs. This estimate is not inclusive of maintenance, which Vincentric measures separately.

David Wurster, president of Vincentric, explains that owners of luxury and high-performance cars can expect to shell out more money for repairs over time not necessarily because these are lower-quality cars, but because labor and parts cost more for those vehicles. Wurster estimates that owners of normal cars may only pay $70, while owners of these vehicles may pay $100 per hour for labor.

The president of the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, Timothy Zilke, says that today's vehicles are "sophisticated and complex machines" and that "the average car has six to 20 computers that help manage everything from the sunroof to anti-lock braking system to the electronically controlled transmission." Zilke goes on to say that auto technicians face components repairs "virtually unheard of a generation ago," and need to be "master diagnosticians well-versed in electronics."

For example, according to an Audi technician in Los Angeles, Audis, have electronic sensors on their brakes, so replacing their brake pads is more complicated and takes longer to repair. Such work on an Audi may be $250 without labor, compared with $150 on a non-luxury vehicle.

Though not defined as a luxury vehicle, the Dodge Viper is a high-powered sports car that has a start price of $84,460. Kathy Graham, a Dodge spokeswoman, says that technicians who work on Vipers have to take a special class to learn the fine distinctions of repairing them. Because Dodge only makes 1,500 Vipers each year, parts are scarce. Viper owners like to race their cars on tracks, and to help the vehicle better handle such an environment, Dodge added a front spoiler that hangs low on the car and is easily damaged if it scrapes a cement parking-lot block. Graham says the cost to replace it is $1,800. At $1,641, the Viper has the overall highest estimated repair costs of any vehicle over a five-year period.

Vehicles powered by turbocharged diesel engines designed for pulling and towing heavy loads also require more skill to repair their complex mechanical systems. The Ford F450 has a five-year estimated repair cost of $1,295. The Dodge Ram 3500, at $1,282 and the Chevrolet Silverado 3500 at $1,094, also have high five-year repair costs.

The steep repair costs are due in part to greater wear and tear, compared with a BMW or Mercedes-Benz.

Also amongst the most expensive non-luxury cars to repair are the Hummer H2, at $1,484; Hummer H3, at $1,244; Ford Mustang, at $1,201; Mini Cooper Convertible, at $1,093; Subaru Impreza, at $1,006; and GMC Yukon and Chrysler Pacifica, at $970 each.

Online courses are now available to educate drivers on the rules of the road and the latest defensive driving techniques. Try it today!

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