Toyota VS Honda
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If you buy a car based only on the sticker price of a car, soon, its maintenance costs may be enough to buy you another car! Can this Toyota Vs Honda – maintenance cost avert another car buy?

Cars, like everything else, are prone to wear and tear. They therefore need regular sprucing up. This is what constitutes maintenance costs. A car’s maintenance cost is a major factor in determining its reliability.

Toyota and Honda, both of Japanese origin are amongst the most reliable car brands in the market. They compete neck-to-neck for dominance on many fronts. A Consumer Reports survey on used car’s reliability placed Honda at the top. Toyota was in 5th position. The survey went on to reveal that 17% of Hondas did not need any repairs in a 12-month period. What do other customers say about their Hondas and Toyotas?

On this journey of comparing Toyota Vs Honda – Maintenance Cost, we will be looking at how a couple of models from each of the two brands compare, the A-Z of maintenance and ways to reduce your car’s maintenance costs.

What is Maintenance Cost and Cost of Repairs?

Maintenance Cost and Cost of Repairs are used interchangeably to mean the cost of routine maintenance and corresponding minor repairs that help prevent car breakdown. According to AAA, the average maintenance cost of a new car could be about $1,186 a year. Maintenance costs commonly include tire rotations and oil changes, brake pad replacement, replacement of the windscreen wiper and new batteries. This is in addition to scheduled routine car maintenance every 30, 60 and 90 miles.

Toyota VS Honda – Maintenance Cost: Brand Comparison Table

Comparison Factor Toyota Honda
Brand Position: Most Reliable Brands


4 2
Brand Position: Most Reliable Brand (Consumer Reports) 5 1
Brand Reliability index 58 41
Cost of Repairs per year $475 $426.86
Most economical model and its cost of repair 2014 Prius C: $ 86 2016 Honda CR-V: $136
Brand position: Brands with Least Cost of Repair 10 9
Brand Position – Brands:

With least maintenance costs @ 75,000 miles

With least maintenance cost @ 150,000 miles

#3 at $420 per year

#2 at $1,110 per year

#8 at $490 per year

#4 at $1,430 per year

Reliability Index and Cost of Repair

In the UK, cost of parts, all aspects of repairs and frequency of failure for each car model are computed into a reliability index whose average is 118. Models with reliability indices greater than 118 are less reliable than average. When the index is less than 118, the car is more reliable that average.

The average cost of repairs is also taken alongside the reliability index. Having a good reliability index with high average cost denotes a low frequency of car failure. The catch is that when there is a fail, the bill is higher than average. In other words, Honda is more reliable than Toyota, but Toyota costs less to repair. The saving grace is that Honda does not require repairs often.

Overall, Honda seems to be the more dependable car, with a good reliability index and better average repair cost. Let us see if this holds true for individual models.

Models Comparison table

Comparison Factor Toyota Honda
Models Reliability index Prius 40

Land Cruiser – 167

Honda Civic – 30

Honda CR-V – 57

Cost of repair Prius – £453.03

Land Cruiser – £506.42

Honda Civic£ 333.90

Honda CR-V £351.28

Models on the top 10 popular Japanese cars: reliability based survey 3 Models: 2017 Toyota Prius, 2019 Toyota Corolla, 2018 Toyota Camry 3 Models: Honda civic, 2018 Honda Accord, Honda Odyssey
Models in top 100 reliable cars

UK survey using data from Warranty Direct

7 Models – Auris, Avensis, Aygo, Corolla, iQ, Prius and Yaris 5 models – Honda Accord, Civic, CR-V, Insight, Jazz
Models with highest maintenance cost (per year) None Honda Pilot, # 19 at $1,120
Models with lowest maintenance cost Toyota Prius, Camry, Tacoma, Corolla, Yaris, Highlander, Honda Fit, Civic, Accord
Models in the 10 most fuel-efficient cars Toyota Prius, Corolla, Camry, Avalon Honda insight, Accord

When car models that cost the most to maintain were considered, Toyota was found to have none. Honda Pilot appeared at position 19, having a maintenance cost of $11,200 across 10 years. However, when car models having the least maintenance costs were considered, both brands had good representation with Toyota having double the number of Hondas.

Does Toyota and Honda have the same repair complaints?

Comparison Table


Prius Civic Land Cruiser CR-V
Air Conditioning 0.00% 10.28% 4.69% 11.49%
Axle & Suspension 18.75% 17.76% 15.63% 14.86%
Braking System 12.50% 4.67% 29.69% 5.41%
Cooling & heating system 0.00% 2.80% 7.81% 2.03%
Electrical 6.25% 31.78% 6.25% 27.03%
Engine 25.00% 14.02% 10.94% 18.24%
Fuel System 0.00% 0.93% 15.63% 2.70%
Gearbox 0.00% 12.15% 1.56% 3.38%
Steering System 25.00% 1.87% 6.25% 6.76%
Transmission 12.50% 3.74% 1.56% 8.11%
Average time off the road 2.51 hrs 2.2 hrs 2.08 hrs 1.92 hrs

Toyota Prius VS Honda Civic

Toyota Prius Honda Civic

Toyota Prius Honda Civic

Both manufacturers have a high number of complaints in their axle and suspension, and the engine systems. They both have close to two and a half hour’s down-time, with Honda’s time being slightly lower. Both brands also have minimal complaints in their fuel systems and the cooling/heating systems.

Toyota’s experiences the highest problems in the engine, steering systems and the axle& suspension. It is however most efficient in the air conditioning, cooling & heating systems, fuel system and the gear box. Toyota seems to greatly be better than the Honda in the electrical, gear box and air conditioning.

On the other hand, Honda’s biggest problems are in electrical, axle & suspension and the engine. It has the least complains in the fuel system, steering system, and cooling & heating. Honda seems to greatly out-perform Toyota in the braking system and steering system.

Toyota Land Cruiser Vs Honda CR-V

Toyota Land Cruiser Honda CR-V

Toyota Land Cruiser Honda CR-V

Both brands have high complaints in the engine and the axle & suspension, and minimal in gearbox and the cooling & heating systems. There downtime is about 2 hours again with Honda’s being slightly less.

Toyota’s highest problems are in the braking system, fuel system and axle & suspension. Its least complaints are transmission, gearbox and air conditioning. Toyota’s greatest win over Honda is in electrical, transmission and the engine.

Honda’s highest problems are in electrical, engine and axle &suspension. Its least complains are in cooling & heating, fuel system and the gearbox while its greatest win over Toyota in the braking system, transmission and fuel system.

Overall then, there seems to be no clear winner as Toyota appears to have mastered the electrical system better that Honda, while the reverse is true for Honda in the braking system.

How does Maintenance Cost for the two brands compare as they age?

Maintenance costs are known to increase, the more a car is used. This means, a used car will have higher maintenance costs than a new one. Both Toyota and Honda retain their supremacy in cars with the lowest maintenance costs over time. They start off in positions 3 and 8, when new (first 75 miles) and end up in positions 2 and 3 (150,000 miles), respectively.

The A – Z of Maintenance

Manufacturers break down car maintenance into a 30-60-90 schedule to inspect/replace certain things in your car at 30, 60 and 90 miles. In addition, there are other ‘consumables’ like oil and oil filter that do not wait for scheduled maintenance and need to be replaced as and when required. Each car comes with a manual that gives a specific maintenance schedule but generally, the maintenance schedule is as follows:

The 30,000 Mile Maintenance checks and changes the:

  • Air filter
  • Fuel filter

The 60,000-Mile Maintenance checks and changes the:

The 90,000-mile Maintenance checks and changes the:

  • Power steering Fluid
  • The good quality Spark Plugs/Ignition System
  • Timing Belt/Chain

Consumables to keep an eye on include:

Oil and Filter

The non-synthetic oil used in the past required change at around 3,000 miles. The rule of thumb for the synthetic oil currently used by most cars is 5,000 – 10,000 miles.

Transmission Fluid

It pays to regularly monitor your transmission fluid, rather than waiting for a miles-marker. Healthy fluid is pink and sweet-smelling, while its unhealthy counterpart is a darker red (or brown) and has a burnt-like smell. Though many cars have a dipstick for assessing transmission fluid, some don’t have it. Instead, contaminated fluid triggers the ‘check-engine’ light on the dashboard.


Hoses on your car carry power steering fluid, coolant and what have you. With time, the rubber can crack as it ages. This may very well bust the hose, so it is important to keep checking and changing hoses, as need arises.


Worn-out tires will earn you a ticket in the short run, but cause accidents in the long. Internal tire problems may manifest in a number of complications like steering wheel vibrations, or suspensions requiring constant alignment.

Other need-to-regularly-observe and act with speed include:

  • Faulty windows
  • Starter issues
  • Lights
  • Other strange/uncharacteristic new arrivals like unexplained noises

9 ways to reduce your maintenance cost

  • Don’t always take your car to the dealer for routine maintenance, especially if tour car has no problem. There things you can do yourself like changing the oil.
  • Be observant on how fast the coolant and oil are used up, especially after service. Oil leaking into the exhaust also leads to a burning smell which should be a red flag.
  • Purchase an extended warranty or other vehicle protection plans will cover most costly repairs.
  • Keep regular maintenance. Most roadside woes are a result of evading basic maintenance tasks.
  • Constantly check and replace consumable like washer fluid, wipers etc. A stitch in time saves nine.
  • Confirm proper tire inflation pressure each time you fuel up. The checkup is best done on cold tires as tire pressure increases as the tire warms up and rotate the tires every 7,500 miles.
  • Replace all the tires at the same time, using tires from the same manufacturer and of the same state. Mixing tires of different size, type and degree of wear can damage the powertrain, reduce braking performance and controllability.
  • Avoid driving on empty. Consistent running out of gas may damage the fuel pump.
  • Monitor your cars gas mileage performance. Decreasing performance could mean many things including dirty air filter, worn out spark plugs, poor tire pressure and leaky fuel injector.


Both Toyota and Honda are always within the top half of the pack of the brands or models the least maintenance costs. Their performance is the same in both the UK and the US. It does not matter whether they are brand new, or have been around for some time. Their performance is the same whether brand new or used. All the same, in the Toyota Vs Honda – maintenance cost comparison, Honda seems to be marginally ahead, when looking at the math. With Toyota, however, you are spoilt for choice on the model to choose.

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