What Are the Costs to Keep Your Current Car Versus Buying a New One?

We recently came across this video produced by Brian Hunnicutt from the Automotive Training Institute (ATI). The goal was to compare the true cost of ownership for a vehicle you already own versus buying another new or used vehicle as a replacement. The ultimate question is, if you already own a car and it is in good overall shape, how much will it cost to keep that car maintained instead of buying another vehicle and maintaining it? The results are quite interesting.

Cost of Ownership for a 5-Year Period

Brian crunched a bunch of numbers and ran multiple calculations to get to his final cost of ownership figures. For comparison’s sake, he set the total mileage at 75,000 miles (based on 5 years at an average of 15,000) and used a standard model Honda Accord as the median passenger car.

He listed out all the standard maintenance costs to maintain a vehicle over a 75,000-mile period. Some of the common preventative maintenance services include regular oil changes, tire rotations, transmission service, air filter replacement, fuel injection flush and battery service. Then, he added in an average cost of additional automotive repairs that might be needed over that kind of timeframe. Fuel costs were not factored in to this study.

The Results

In total, he came up with just under $17,000 as the total average maintenance and repair “cost of ownership” for a 5-year period of a car that is already owned outright. When divided by the 75,000 miles driven, it came out to about 23 cents per mile to keep a car maintained properly. That may seem like a lot, but how does it compare to buying and maintaining a newer car?

Brian then calculated the cost of ownership for a new Honda Accord. Keep in mind this video was published in 2016, so he was using 2016 numbers. He went to, which provides its own “True Cost to Own” calculations. They put that maintenance/repair figure for a new car at just over $26,000 and then you have to factor in the purchase price of over $27,000. All told, the purchase cost plus the maintenance (divided by 75,000 miles) came out to roughly 58 cents per mile!

Next, he did the same calculation for a used 2012 Honda Accord using the Edmunds numbers. It came out to a little over 39 cents per mile over the same timeframe.

So, let’s look at the final numbers:

            • $0.23 a mile to keep and maintain your current car for five years

            • $0.39 a mile to buy and maintain a used car for five years

            • $0.58 a mile to buy and maintain a new car for five years

What We Learned

Of course, these numbers are just based on some average maintenance estimates and one type of vehicle. The numbers will vary and whether or not you want to keep your current car may depend on what kind of condition it is in. The calculations above are based on a vehicle that has been regularly maintained and is still in relatively good condition. If you’ve run your car into the ground, it will obviously cost more to keep it running for another five years.

However you choose to look at the numbers, it sure is interesting and worth keeping in mind when it comes time to consider replacing your existing car. It may make you pause and rethink your plans. You can watch the full YouTube video below.


And when it comes to your vehicle’s regular maintenance or any necessary repairs, you can always count on the auto repair experts of Fox Run Auto in Bear, DE. Call our shop today at (302) 597-9205.


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