How much will spare parts add to the cost of your new car?
When you buy a car, you’re buying thousands and thousands of individual parts. Some of them, inevitably, will need to be replaced as you rack up the kilometres. Just as inevitably, these parts come with a price and it’s not always the same for different cars. That difference, when calculated over a car’s lifetime, might be many times greater than what separated those models on the showroom floor. If the cost of keeping your car on the road into the future matters to you, it’s worth delving deeper before making a decision on which car to buy.
The hard way
Car-makers don’t go out of their way to publish the price of their spare parts, or make them accessible in the public domain. But they aren’t held under lock and key. When Joe Blogs calls up wanting a tail light for the Camry he touched up in the car park, the dealer has to tell him something.
If you’re going to be super-thorough about determining which of the cars you’re considering has the pricier replacement parts, there’s only one solution: get out the notepad, get on the phone or drop an email to the relevant dealers’ service divisions and ask them..
The parts most commonly replaced over the life of the car – and the ones most relevant for this exercise – are your air, oil and fuel filters; engine drive belts, brake pads and discs, front guards, bumpers and head/tail light units. Total up the cost of these key parts for the cars you’re considering and the numbers will speak for themselves.
Keep in mind that some parts are inherently more costly than others and that trim choices you make within a single car’s model line-up can have a big impact on cost down the track. A base model’s halogen headlight unit, for example, is always going to be cheaper than a top-of-the-line's xenon or LED equivalent.
The easy way
If you’re shy, short on time or phone credit, there are other ways to determine whether a car’s spare parts are expensive or not. With the bulk of replacement parts destined to be eaten up by a typical preventative maintenance schedule, and labour a pretty common and consistent factor, service prices will give you a good idea of where the land lies.
The near-universalisation of capped-price servicing means it takes just a few minutes and a web browser to find out exactly how much different cars cost to service. Don’t fall for the headline price. Some brands cover the car for life, others have time/kilometre limits. Some publish an all-in-one cost, others charge extra for fluids and other consumables. Luxury brands will ask for you to pay a grand total up front rather than as you go. Remember: always read the fine print.
And given you’re going to be calling them anyway, piggy-back the hard work of insurance companies by comparing quotes for different cars on your short list. The cost of common post-accident replacement parts is one of several key factors that determines a car’s premiums.
Assuming it’s not your driving record colouring things, or a car that has high premiums due to a reputation for being a theft or accident magnet, the numbers should spell it out – the cars with the more expensive parts will cost more to put right and naturally have higher premiums.
Did you know…
Smartleasing offers a Vehicle Maintenance Program that ensures you’ll save up to 30% on servicing for the life of the lease. And because all work is authorised by our maintenance specialists, you’ll only ever pay for the work your car needs.