Ford vs. Chevrolet — which is cheaper to repair? This seemingly simple question is not that straightforward to answer as both brands sell a wide range of different models. As a result, we have researched and compared the average expenses related to various common repairs as well as how much Ford and Chevrolet owners typically spend per year on service and maintenance.
Still, it’s important to mention that regardless of which is cheaper, getting your hands on a Chevrolet or Ford factory service manual is always your best bet to make repairs lighter on your pocket.
How? Let’s find out.
Annual Maintenance Costs
Annual repair expenses are one of the most essential things to consider before buying a vehicle, no matter the brand. Luckily, both Chevrolet and Ford sell some of the most affordable vehicles in the industry, with average annual repair expenses well below the $300 mark.
Indeed, the estimated cost to maintain any Ford product ranges from $95 to $6882, with an average of $267. While its vehicles might not be the cheapest to repair, it does get an edge over Chevrolet. The GM subsidiary‘s maintenance expenditures range between $95 to $9762, with an average of $290. However, the annual repair bill varies from model to model and depends on your location and how much dealerships charge in your area.
For instance, Ford’s large SUV, the Expedition, costs a bit more to maintain than the Chevrolet Tahoe or Suburban. On average, owners spend around $818 annually on repairing the Expedition, quite budget-friendly for an SUV of this size, but still more than the Suburban’s $793. However, despite being more expensive to maintain, the Expedition boasts a better reliability rating that helps keep repair costs down in the long run.
Furthermore, Chevy’s muscle car, the Camaro, is much cheaper to maintain than a Ford Mustang, with an annual expense of $502 compared to $724.
However, all these numbers only apply to authorized dealers — you can get much lower rates at your local repair shops. Or, if you have any experience in repairs, you can also acquire a Chevrolet or Ford workshop manual and perform some of the more basic repairs to cut down on labor costs. These manuals contain information on every possible repair, including step-by-step instructions, exploded-views illustrations, and clear images — basically everything you need to repair your vehicle at home.
In addition, many new Ford cars – Focus, Fiesta and Ranger, Transit, Ka – are equipped with many sensors that see how each part of the car behaves. Lights on Ford dashboard symbols show what equipment is in use and highlight when any of those systems aren’t working as they should. The green indicator light indicates that the system is working properly. Yellow light, there is a problem in the system. And the red icon shows that there is a big problem, you need to check it immediately.
Common Ford and Chevrolet issues
Both brands manufacture quite reliable vehicles, but like all things, they also face the test of time. Even Ford’s best-selling F-150 will eventually develop several complications that new owners should particularly be aware of. For instance, there have been numerous reports of ignition coils failing and oil leaking onto the starter from the passenger side head gasket after roughly 100,000 miles.
The F-150’s rival, the Chevrolet Silverado, is also far from perfect and comes with its own set of problems. One of the most significant issues is a faulty tank pressure sensor and climate control system failure. The 2000 year model is also notorious for producing knocking noises after 97,000 miles.
Of course, all those issues are not just limited to full-sized pickup trucks. Other models like the Chevrolet Trax and Ford EcoSport also share the same fate after a couple of years. According to the NHTSA, the Trax has earned quite a reputation regarding steering system problems. Customers have frequently complained about a shuddering steering wheel, which only worsens with time. Meanwhile, the Ford EcoSport’s most common issues include sticky brakes and shifting delays.
Still, it’s important to remember that all these issues do not develop overnight. For example, modern spark plugs last quite a long time and timing problems resulting from a broken timing belt will only occur after years of use. Luckily, this is nothing regular inspection can’t prevent. If you stay on top of your vehicle’s recommended maintenance, all those issues can be easily detected and fixed before they even become issues, per se. However, if left unchecked, be ready for some expensive repair bills.
Hence, it is essential to inspect your vehicle for oil leaks, faulty spark plugs, or worn-out brake pads on a regular basis. If you are not sure where to start, you’ll find every manufacturer’s recommended service interval in your Chevrolet or Ford motor repair manual. Don’t have one yet? Head over to eManualOnline — you’ll find every repair manual you might need there and for a lot less than a single ride on a tow truck.
Average Repair Costs Compared
For this part, we will look at some of the most common repairs and their related costs for different models across the two brands.
Starting with the pickup truck segment, an ignition coil replacement for a Ford F-150 costs $134 ($39 parts; $95 labor), while the Silverado requires $147 ($52 parts; $95 labor) for the same. Moreover, a new fuel filter is priced at $101 ($6 parts; $95 labor) for the F-150 and $102 ($7 parts; $95 labor) for the Silverado.
Notice how labor charges account for the majority of the replacement bill? Well, every time you take your F-150 or Silverado to the repair shop for a repair, a sizable chunk goes to paying the mechanic. However, if you just buy the replacement parts, follow the instructions in your Chevrolet or Ford shop manual and replace it yourself, simple repairs like a fuel filter replacement should cost you no more than $10 — or a 90% saving!
Coming to midsize SUVs, we have the Ford Explorer and Chevrolet Traverse. A brake caliper replacement on the Explorer costs around $228 ($57 parts; $171 labor), while the same would set you back about $276 ($105 parts; $171 labor) for the Traverse.
The difference in price remains more or less the same if you consider other repairs. For instance, replacing the radiator costs $389 for the Explorer ($294 parts; $95 labor) compared to $684 for the Traverse ($390 parts; $294 labor).
So which among the two brands is more economical in terms of repair expenses? Well, if you consider full-sized SUVs, Chevy gets the upper hand and is the more budget-friendly manufacturer among the two. The same applies to sports cars where the Chevrolet Camaro has a decent edge over the Stang.
However, we have to side with Ford regarding pickup trucks and midsize SUVs. Chevrolet charges a lot more in labor and components, while Ford still holds on to its reputation as a seller of affordable trucks.
Overall, though, you wouldn’t be wrong with purchasing a vehicle from either manufacturer. Ford and Chevy cost about the same when new, and this doesn’t change much in the long run.