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Maintenance costs of South Africa’s most popular cars

Every motorist should factor maintenance costs into their car budget as unforeseen services and repairs are inescapable expenses during the lifetime of vehicle ownership.

According to Naked Insurance, the amount that you should put away for this is dependent on the value of the vehicle, and equals roughly 2% of the car’s sticker price every year.

Using this as a base for calculations, if you’re planning to buy one of the country’s 10 best-selling cars, this is what you should bank on spending on maintenance every 12 months:

Model Price range Yearly maintenance budget Monthly maintenance budget
Toyota Hilux R356,600 to R1,005,000 R7,132-R20,100 R594-R1,675
VW Polo Vivo R259,400 to R346,900 R5,188-R6,938 R432-R578
Ford Ranger R494,400 to R1,184,100 R9,888-R23,682 R824-R1,974
Toyota Corolla Cross  R408,400 to R543,700 R8,168-R10,874 R681-R906
Suzuki Swift R205,900 to R455,900 R4,118-R9,118 R343-R760
Toyota Starlet R252,100 to R339,000 R5,042-R6,780 R420-R565
Isuzu D-Max R442,800 to R1,159,900 R8,856-R23,198 R738-R1,933
VW Polo R348,200 to R543,600 R6,964-R10,872 R580-R906
Toyota Fortuner R673,100 to R944,900 R13,462-R18,898 R1,122-R1,575
Nissan NP200 R234,000 to R253,800 R4,680-R5,076 R390-R423

You may not be spending this amount every month, but odds are there will be some sort of maintenance expense during the year that isn’t covered by a service plan – for example, tyres and brakes – that will require a large portion of your annual upkeep budget.

Car service vs Car maintenance

Car service and maintenance are often referred to as the same thing but there exists an important distinction between the two.

A car service is a systematic procedure that usually takes place once per year and aims to ensure that all the vehicle’s mechanical components are functioning as they should.

During a service, a professional mechanic will check and where necessary, replace standard parts such as oil filters, brake pads, spark plugs, and consumables; and this will be done at set intervals dictated by the manufacturer.

Periodic services are usually covered by a service plan if you buy a car new, but if it’s pre-owned, you may have to pay for them yourself if the original after-sales agreement has already expired.

Maintenance, on the other hand, encompasses the replacement of wear-and-tear items that a normal service does not cover, and like a service plan, if your vehicle does not come with a maintenance contract, you’ll have to shoulder the cost.

As such, car maintenance includes the fitment of components such as new tyres, windshield wipers, and mechanical parts that are not contained in the service plan.

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