When you drive out of a dealership in a brand new car, the costs of maintaining that vehicle may be furthest from your mind. Everything is in perfect condition and it’s hard to imagine that anything will go wrong. Unfortunately, no machine is perfect, and the best way to keep your car in top condition is to maintain it following the recommended schedule.
Most cars need a service twice a year, starting from INR2,000 per service. This amount will increase as the car ages and the more luxurious your vehicle, the higher the service. Remember not many cars sold in India include routine maintenance in the price. Then there are the costs that are difficult to forecast, such as unscheduled maintenance when something does go wrong. Or the fact accidents can, and do, happen and you have to fix a nasty scratch down the side.
Luckily, some vehicles are cheaper to maintain than others. Here are the approximate service costs of our top 3 cars over 5 years.
Approximate service cost over 5 years
- Tato Nano – Rs11,381
- Maruti Suzuki Swift – Rs14,172
- Toyota Etios Liva – Rs18,176
Probably the most affordable car in India, the Tato Nano offers free service until 20,000 kms or 24 months. You will pay about INR1,000 in the first year, INR2,500-3,000 in the following years and a total of INR11, 400 over 5 years. Hard to beat.
Maruti Suzuki Swift
Another affordable car that comes with three free services. These services include inspection, engine tuning, oil filter, engine oil and air filter replacements, but not consumables like the oil itself. You would pay about INR2,000 in the first year and 14,200 over 5 years.
Toyota Etios Liva
The Liva needs very little attention to run well. You don’t need to change the coolant and transmission oil until 150,000kms, fuel filter at 80,000kms, and air filter and brake fluid at 40,000kms. Did you know the engine is optimised to work with mineral oil? Service costs are about INR3,500-4,000, or INR18,000 over 5 years.
Expensive to buy, cheap to run
This list doesn’t include one very important segment – electric vehicles. Maintenance costs for EVs are much lower than petrol or diesel engines because there are no moving parts. All the complex machinery associated with petrol engines just doesn’t exist in an EV. So maintenance will be much, much cheaper.
The only trouble is, EVs are scarce and cost too much to buy in India. The Mahindra Verito sedan has a range of 140kms but costs INR11.9 Lakh. Even so, it’s running costs are only 1.15/km, which is pretty impressive. Coming soon is the Kona Electric, with nearly four times the range of 452kms, but it’s expensive to buy too.
All the costs
Finally, when you work out the cost of maintaining your vehicle, remember this is only one of the regular costs to expect. If you want to reduce the costs of owning your vehicle, choose a car that is economic on fuel, costs less to insure and – if you can – buy it without a loan. You also have to add on depreciation, taxes, motor insurance and those pesky parking fees.
The best things in life are definitely not free!