If the used car market has taught us anything is that cheap-to-buy doesn’t mean that it’ll be cheap to run. Or to put it in lore “There’s nothing more expensive than a cheap Mercedes”. Are these people right? Or do you think that you’ve owned something that’s more expensive to run?
eBay is practically crawling with examples of old Mercedes that are ready to very efficiently tear a Germanic hole in your wallet. Take this beautiful S55 AMG, for example. Its 9 years old and has almost 105,000 miles on the clock. There were a couple of S-classes higher up the ladder in case that 493 HP supercharged V8 was simply too plebeian for your taste; but if we’re honest, this is on its own merits a fabulous car–and thanks to the wonders of depreciation, quite cheap at a fiver under $20,000.
That’s quite a step down from the original $100,000+ price tag. Sadly for all of us that dream of owning such a comfortable and powerful barge, the maintenance prices haven’t come down. If anything, with its expensive parts and limited production numbers, they have gone up. A $3,000/quarter budget may not be completely used up every quarter, but you’ll be glad it’s there when the Active Body Control module decides passive is the way to go, or if the crankshaft position sensor decides it would much rather be a decorative item.
Of course, this isn’t limited to expensive cars with a horrible case of depreciation and exotic cars. Normal cars can also get very expensive, even if they’re taken care of properly. Just ask any person who bought a 1997-2002 Honda Accord or a 1998-2003 Honda Odyssey only to find out that the automatic gearbox was made out of twigs and Elmer’s glue. Or someone with an early 2.2-liter Chrysler Minivan that decided a family road trip would be the perfect time to throw a rod. And really, any car can become a money pit if you’re tasked with correcting a lifetime of skipped and skimped maintenance.
What was the car that stiffed you out of the most cash for repairs? The one that seemed to not be satisfied until your parts supplier and mechanic could afford to buy those luxury summer homes in France?