We've all heard the horror stories about the insane maintenance and repair costs when it comes to owning a used German luxury car, especially something as complex and powerful as a V12 Mercedes-Benz S600. YouTuber and car guy Tyler Hoover bought just such a car almost two years ago, and having recently sold it, he reckons the big Merc's cost-of-ownership was nearly half that of a new Honda Civic.
First off, the details on the car. Chronicling the adventure through his Hoovies Garage YouTube channel, Hoover said he bought the car for $4,500 with a bad engine, then spent $10,000 fixing it. If you're already rolling your eyes about this whole thing, you should know that the car was basically trouble-free for the rest of its time in his care. We say basically because there was a minor transmission part that needed replacing, along with some other preventative maintenance that added another $1,100 to the tab.
So right about now you're wondering how the hell $11,100 in repairs in less than two years somehow makes this big Benz cheaper to own than a new Civic, which would have full factory warranty coverage for the same period. Here's where the numbers game comes into play, because Hoover factors in total cost-of-ownership, including license, registration, insurance, and most importantly, depreciation. As the value of the new Honda falls over the course of two years, the S600's value actually went up a little bit.
With everything combined (including $1,700 in performance upgrades because hey, V12 Mercedes) Hoover figures it cost $353 a month to own his Benz for 20 months. By comparison, Hoover points to a AAA study that says cost of ownership for a small sedan comes out to $6,354 annually, or $529.50 a month.
That's certainly higher than the 10-year old S600 in Hoover's care, however it's not quite that simple. The average person doesn't have $11,000 to shell out on vehicle maintenance, which is why cars like this suffer such terrible depreciation. When a person buys a new Civic, the depreciation doesn't come out-of-pocket like maintenance costs would. So while an overall average in this case shows the old Benz is easier on the pocketbook over time, it doesn't necessarily translate that way to daily operation.
Is this an accurate portrayal of life – and expenses – with a used German sedan, or is this a case of working the numbers to get a preferred conclusion? Let us know what you think.