These Cars Are the Easiest to Service
Just as there are differences among cars and trucks when they are judged by their performance, comfort, and safety, there are also differences among vehicles when it comes to the ease of maintenance and repair. Simply put, some vehicles are easier to work on than others.
To find out which models are technician-friendly, we undertook a decidedly unscientific survey of professional auto mechanics who work on a wide variety of makes and models at independent shops. We asked that they limit their responses to vehicles made in the last 10 years. No dealership personnel were included, since they would be expected to favor only their brand.
The resulting list shows you the vehicles that are easiest to maintain (and a few that are more difficult). Easy maintenance can mean less expensive repairs, as one of the biggest factors affecting cost is your mechanic’s time. Easy maintenance is just as good if you repair your car yourself. After all, time is money.
Here Is What Technicians Like
There was a surprising amount of agreement on what makes a vehicle easy to service. Technicians like ample workspace around the engine, unobstructed access to the components that need servicing, simple technology (increasingly rare in modern cars), and a good supply of replacement parts.
Keep in mind that their comments on ease of service are not an evaluation of vehicle reliability. For that, you should go to our vehicle rankings to check out the latest data from J.D. Power. Nor is it an assessment of annual repair costs, which we factor into our used car rankings. Rather, what follows are judgments of the difficulty of performing maintenance and repairs on various models.
2007 to 2013 Chevrolet Silverado
This was a nearly universal pick when our technicians were asked which vehicles are easy to service. The Silverado and nearly identical GMC Sierra have room under the hood to make it relatively easy to work on either V6 or V8 models. The technology is straightforward, and the items most likely to need attention are generally accessible. This vehicle, in the opinion of the professionals, is among the easiest to maintain and repair.
2008 to 2011 Ford Crown Victoria
It may have gone out of production in 2011, but this model is still a favorite of technicians. The front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout means more space is available to work on the engine and, if transmission repairs are needed, pulling this component is relatively easy. “You don’t have to disassemble half the front suspension first,” one tech noted. These cars continue to be used in fleets, taxi service, and law enforcement, where ease and speed of repair are often major considerations.
2001 to 2016 Honda Civic
It makes sense that one of the favorite and most frequently modified tuner cars was also listed as one of the easier vehicles to maintain and repair. While it is a front-engine, front-wheel-drive design, most of the parts that would need to be accessed are not too difficult to reach, and replacements are readily available.
This model-year range covers seventh- to ninth-generation Civics. Starting in the 2006 model year, Honda abandoned timing belts, which needed to be replaced at intervals specified in the owner’s manual, and switched to a timing chain, which should last for the life of the engine.
1998 to 2017 Toyota Corolla
Replacement parts for the Corolla are readily available, and there are enough models around so that technicians who work on a wide range of models see plenty of these vehicles. However, their high reliability scores from J.D. Power suggest that few repairs will be needed on well-maintained examples. Note, too, that these Corollas use a timing chain, not a timing belt, which further simplifies maintenance.
The Corolla iM, however, continues to use an engine with a timing belt and is not the model mentioned by the technicians in our survey.
2010 to 2014 Subaru Outback
Now that Subaru seems to have conquered most of its cylinder head gasket problems, technicians generally express appreciation for the open layout that results from the horizontally opposed cylinder configuration. Most items needing repair or replacement in the Outback are easy to reach, said one tech, though spark plug replacement can be more time consuming than on many competitive vehicles.