Are Smart Cars Expensive to Maintain?

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Smart cars are manufactured by Mercedes-Benz and are no longer being sold in the US. Their compact size and safety ratings continue to make them very popular vehicles. Smart cars cost about $827 a year to maintain. 
How much does a Smart car cost? Once you pay for the vehicle, you will need to plan for regular maintenance tasks to keep your Smart car running smoothly. Your vehicle has some unique advantages and disadvantages.
To help you understand what to expect with your new (or new-to-you) Smart car, the car insurance comparison shopping and broker app Jerry has compiled everything you need to know about whether Smart cars are expensive to maintain.

How much maintenance does my Smart car require?

Your Smart car cost of ownership is $827 per year, but studies show that Smart cars are very reliable vehicles. You shouldn’t expect surprise problems.
According to RepairPal, Smart cars tend to visit the repair shop about 0.3 times per year for unscheduled maintenance, and only 8% of those repairs are considered severe. This rate is significantly better than the national average of 12% across other models.
For comparison, Cadillacs visit the repair shop 0.4 times per year but they have a 17% probability of having a severe problem.

How much does maintenance for a Smart car cost?

On average, a Smart car costs about $827 per year for standard maintenance.
You’ll save on fuel by driving such a lightweight vehicle, but regular servicing will require some spending. Keep in mind that your own Smart car maintenance cost will depend on the specific year and model you own. For instance, an electric Smart car may require less maintenance than a gas-powered Smart car with a sunroof.
Let’s look at the average annual maintenance costs for the Fortwo. Some will be higher or lower than the figure below.

Smart Fortwo 

  • Reliability: 4/5 (average)
  • Annual maintenance cost: $827 (average)
  • Repair frequency: 0.3 times per year (average)

Why you should maintain your Smart car

It might feel like a chore, but regular maintenance on your Smart car can save you money and improve your safety while on the road. 
A well-maintained vehicle:
  • Increases your safety while driving
  • Saves you money by preventing expensive problems
  • Keeps your car performing at its best
  • Keeps the value of your car high
It can be tempting to procrastinate. Just remember, a poorly maintained Smart car puts you at risk of driving an unsafe vehicle and having an expensive breakdown. Why risk it?
Key Takeaway: In general, Smart cars are much more reliable than the average vehicle. However, maintenance costs are slightly higher than the national average. 
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How often does a Smart car require maintenance?

MileageServiceAverage cost
Every 10,000 milesOil change (if you drive a gas-powered Smart car), tire rotation$140 to $190
Every 30,000 milesBrake pad replacement, fuel filter replacement$240 to $446
Every 60,000 milesPossible spark plug replacement$136 to $152
Every 90,000 milesPossible drive belt replacement$101 to $121

Oil changes

  • When: Usually required every 10,000 miles
  • Cost: $100 to $150 (unless you drive an electric Smart car)
  • Why: Removes excess dirt that can build up in your engine from daily use
  • DIY?: Maybe—if you have the right tools

Tire replacement

  • When: The NHTSA recommends that tires be replaced every six years, regardless of the number of miles driven
  • Cost: $250 to $600 
  • Why: Worn-out tires are unsafe and can lead to hydroplaning in wet weather
  • DIY?: No—allow a professional to ensure a balanced installation for even wear and a smooth ride

Engine replacement

  • When: If the engine block is cracked, damaged in a collision, or simply worn out due to high-mileage
  • Cost: $2,000 to $5,000
  • Why: A healthy engine is key to prolonging the life of your Smart car
  • DIY?: No—take the car to a reputable Smart car mechanic for an engine replacement

Windshield replacement

  • When: If the crack is longer than your hand, extends to the outer edge of the windshield, or deep enough that it goes halfway into the windshield
  • Cost: + $350
  • Why: If you can’t see clearly, it’s dangerous to drive 
  • DIY?: No—avoid attempting to install a new windshield yourself, especially for such a uniquely shaped windshield

Paint

  • When: Visible discoloration or paint peeling
  • Cost: + $2,000
  • Why: Prevent corrosion and improve resale value with a good paint job (it’s much cheaper to repaint a Smart car than an SUV!)
  • DIY?: Possible—only attempt this if you have a safe place to apply paint and professional-grade tools 

Constructing an at-home charger

  • When: To charge your electric Smart car before leaving home
  • Cost: $1,500 to $2,500
  • Why: It’s handy to have a charging station at home, as you can’t always rely on finding them on the road 
  • DIY?: Sort of—you will need to order the proper parts and it’s a good idea to hire a technician. Keep in mind there are often rebates for installing a home charger!

Finding cheap car insurance

No matter how well you maintain your Smart car, you can’t control other drivers. That’s why you need a good car insurance policy in addition to performing regular maintenance. Good coverage will protect you and your Smart car from unpredictable situations.
Use the Jerry app to quickly compare rates from top insurance companies like Progressive and Geico. In 60 seconds, Jerry will unlock discounts and find you a great policy. With a single tap, you can change your policy and save money. Jerry handles all the phone calls and paperwork.
Not convinced? The average Jerry user finds nearly $900 in annual savings. That’s a whole year of maintenance costs for a Smart Fortwo car! 
 “I have been with the same insurance provider for over 10 years. Jerry found me a new policy with Travelers that is $107/month cheaper. The pandemic has made finances tight, but Jerry helped me out.” ––Gabriel T.
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