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Camry vs Corolla

Repair Cost Matchup

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Published on 11/22/2016

Summary

  • Repair expenses can significantly affect total cost of car ownership.
  • Using data from carinorder.com we show how to do a repair cost comparison between car models.
  • The Camry vs Corolla data demonstrates that a little research can result in savings, over the life of your car.

Introduction

Purchasing a car is typically an event that is approached with uncertainty and incomplete information. Buyers attempt to balance all of their car needs with getting the best deal they can, while MSRP, safety ratings, and MPGs all swim before their bleary eyes. And consumers often forget one of the largest cost considerations of all - repair costs over the life of the vehicle.

For example, say the average repair cost on a vehicle is $300 per common repair[1]. We will estimate that the typical car has 2 repairs per year and the car is owned for 10 years. That would mean, over 10 years, the total repair cost would be $300 x 2 x 10, for a total of $6000.

Now what if you could choose a car that has a much lower average repair cost? A vehicle with an average repair cost of $150 per common repair would end up saving you $3000! This could end up being a significant percentage of your overall cost of vehicle ownership, particularly if you are buying a used car.

Repair Cost Data

You have settled on buying a Toyota, a brand known for reliability. And a sedan is what you need. But now you have to choose between two all-stars: Corolla or Camry. Both have sold millions and millions of models over decades. Let’s take a look at the repair costs of each, to see if this can have any bearing on your decision. For both car models, our data ends up in tables looking like the following[2]:

Camry vs Corolla: Table 1
Table 1: Common repair costs on 4-Cylinder Toyota Corollas

We have gone through and listed the repair cost for six common repairs for both Corollas and Camrys. Then we calculate the Average Cost of these six common repairs, over a wide range of years. We won’t show you all those tables, to ease the strain on those bleary eyes. Instead we will graph them, to make the outcome crystal clear.

Camry vs Corolla: Figure 1
Figure 1: Average repair costs for common repairs on 4-Cylinder Camrys and Corollas

One can see that 4-Cylinder Corollas are consistently cheaper than 4-Cylinder Camrys, in terms of average repair costs. The difference is even starker when we include 6-Cylinder (V6) Camrys:

Camry vs Corolla: Figure 2
Figure 2: Average repair costs for common repairs on 4 and 6-Cylinder Camrys and Corollas

As you can clearly see, 6-Cylinder Camrys have an even higher average repair cost!

Conclusion

There are many factors that go into buying a new or used car. One frequently overlooked factor is how auto repairs can add up to a large sum over the life of a vehicle.

Simply put, looking into the average repair costs for a prospective vehicle can help save you money. And as for Corolla vs Camry, in a skirmish of who has the lowest repair costs, the Toyota Corolla is the winner!


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Footnotes:

  1. For this article, a “common repair” is defined as a repair that happens with increased frequency for that specific car model. The six common repairs used in this article are listed in Table 1. Also note that we are talking about auto repairs, as opposed to routine car maintenance.
  2. All data used in this article comes from the carinorder.com repair estimate database. For a more detailed explanation of the data and calculations used, click here.