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Will an SUV Cost Me More in Auto Service and Repairs?

Brian England, Tue, Nov 29, 2011

Many prospective car owners know that SUV’s don’t get the best mileage, but what about auto service and repair costs?  Well, if you are thinking of buying an SUV, it’s probably a good idea to look at the total picture.  Here are 7 positives and 7 negatives to consider if you are thinking about purchasing an SUV.suv's higher auto repair and service cost or not

Postives:

  1. Higher Driving Position – The seats on SUV’s are much higher than a standard auto.  You will have a much better view of road.
  2. More Comfortable Seats – The seats on many SUV’s are better.  You will sit more like you do in a normal chair.
  3. 4-Wheel Drive – Most SUV manufacturers offer a 4-wheel drive (4WD) option.  This can be an advantage on slippery roads that you might come across in bad weather (e.g. snow or rain) or if you are driving across rough terrain (e.g. mud, gravel, dirt roads, etc.)
  4. Added Protection – SUV’s offer more protection than a small car in an accident.
  5. Better for Towing – If you are thinking of towing something, you are more likely to find an SUV that offers the tow capacity you are looking for.
  6. Ease of Loading – It can be a lot easier to load (and unload) things in the back of the vehicle.  Plus, most SUV’s offer more practical space than a standard trunk.
  7. Statement Vehicles – Some of the larger vehicles make a statement about the driver, and if you want to stand out when you are on the road this may be a positive for you, for example the Hummer.

Negatives:

  1. Purchase Price – The prices for SUV’s start higher than a standard vehicle, so they can cost more to buy.
  2. Lower MPG – SUV’s typically get lower gas mileage than standard cars, so they can cost a lot more to run.
  3. Higher Maintenance Costs – SUV’s can cost more to maintain.  Things like tires and brakes are typically more expensive.
  4. More Complex Vehicles – 4-Wheel Drive SUV’s are more complicated, as a result there are just more things that can go wrong.  The transmissions are more complicated, and they have an extra axle.
  5. More Difficult to Park – Larger SUV’s are more difficult to park and in general are not very practical for use in crowded or older cities where parking spaces are at a premium or streets are very narrow.
  6. 4WD Option Not Really Needed – Many SUV owners lament that they never use the 4WD.  Whereas this may not be a common complaint in Syracuse, NY, owners of SUV’s in the Baltimore/Washington metro area may only use the 4WD a few times a year.  It may not be worth the added cost.
  7. Handling Issues – Higher vehicles have a higher center of gravity.  As a result, in emergency driving situations, SUV’s do not handle as well as a car that has a lower center of gravity.

 

About Brian England

 

Brian England, the current president of BA Auto Care (formerly British American Auto Care) got his start with an auto apprenticeship in a small town in the northwest of London. He came to the U.S. in 1972 to work for a Land Rover dealer in Rockville, MD, and a few years later, started British American Auto Care with his wife, Jennifer. A big believer in preventive auto maintenance, Brian's philosophy is to encourage and educate drivers on the benefits of adhering to a regular maintenance plan.