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My brother and I have always agreed to disagree about owning "American"-made cars (Ford, Chevy, etc) vs. "foreign" makes (Honda, Toyota, etc).

He's always driven American cars; on the other hand, I haven't owned an American car since 1978. For him, it's somewhat about patriotism, but it's more about relative cost of service and parts.

He continues to argue that "foreign/Japanese" cars (i.e., Hondas/Toyotas like I've owned) are so much more costly to maintain than the General Motors products he's always favored that he'll have none of it. He seems to think that both service, and parts, always cost a lot more for the foreign makes. When I proudly showed him my new Pilot, he said it was nice but he wouldn't have one because parts and service would cost an arm and a leg.

So, my dumb question is this: On average, do service and parts for Honda (and other "Japanese" makes) REALLY cost significantly more than equivalent service/parts for "American" makes? As I've tried to tell my brother, even if it's true, I still think the cost issue evens out because MY Honda will be in the shop for repairs less often than the next guy's GM or Ford vehicle.

My brother's a stubborn guy, so I don't think there's anything I could tell him to change his mind. I just want to hear the truth on the matter from you knowledgeable folks out there! :18:
 

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Ziploc said:

[snip]
So, my dumb question is this: On average, do service and parts for Honda (and other "Japanese" makes) REALLY cost significantly more than equivalent service/parts for "American" makes? As I've tried to tell my brother, even if it's true, I still think the cost issue evens out because MY Honda will be in the shop for repairs less often than the next guy's GM or Ford vehicle.

My brother's a stubborn guy, so I don't think there's anything I could tell him to change his mind. I just want to hear the truth on the matter from you knowledgeable folks out there! :18:
Would you settle for the humble opinion of a not-so-knowledgeable person that has owned more than his share of Japanese, American (and German) cars?

I would have to agree with your brother, but not to the tune of "significantly more". I agree with you that the cost more than evens out when you compare the residual value of the typical Honda, Toyota (or equivalent).

Now, motorcycles are a whole different game!! Let's not go there....

:14:
 

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without scientific facts and only my gut feeling....I say that japanese cars (hondas toyotas etc...)are ot too much more expensive to maintain....
but if you get into lexus and acura those will be a different story..:D
 

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Hate to break this to your brother, but these "Japanese" cars we are driving have more American-made parts than your typical GM or Ford. Show him that window sticker that came with your Pilot that claims (if i remember the numbers correctly) something like 97% from the U.S. and 3% canadian.

As far as the cost, it really depends on the car, not the make. For example, Honda Civics and Accords are in such abundance, that every aftermarket manufacturer under the sun makes parts for them and the price competition is fierce. The drives the cost of parts way down. This is a similar situation with Cavalier and Focus parts. So, really, the pricing is pretty comparable.

Honda and Toyota just don't compare to other, true, Japanese-made vehicles. Subaru, for example, IS more expensive for parts and service. But this is due to far less numbers of them being here in the states (less aftermarket competition) and the fact that the cars and the parts are made overseas.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Qbrozen said:
Hate to break this to your brother, but these "Japanese" cars we are driving have more American-made parts than your typical GM or Ford. Show him that window sticker that came with your Pilot that claims (if i remember the numbers correctly) something like 97% from the U.S. and 3% canadian.

As far as the cost, it really depends on the car, not the make. For example, Honda Civics and Accords are in such abundance, that every aftermarket manufacturer under the sun makes parts for them and the price competition is fierce. The drives the cost of parts way down. This is a similar situation with Cavalier and Focus parts. So, really, the pricing is pretty comparable.

Honda and Toyota just don't compare to other, true, Japanese-made vehicles. Subaru, for example, IS more expensive for parts and service. But this is due to far less numbers of them being here in the states (less aftermarket competition) and the fact that the cars and the parts are made overseas.
Qbrozen, what you say makes sense and mirrors a lot of what I've been thinking. But, my brother would say that even American-made parts for "foreign" makes cost more in general...just because they can get away with charging more for foreign makes. And, if you should be talking about OEM parts, well, forget it....GM/Ford parts are way less expensive than, say, Honda/Toyota parts (according to my dear brother!).

I really think my brother formed an opinion based on the way it was years ago. As I recall, at one time there was indeed a significant cost difference between "foreign" and "American," and foreign parts were frequently hard to get, to boot. Also, cars were not nearly as "globalized" as they are now (i.e., everybody's vehicles contain plenty of parts made somewhere else; so-called "foreign" cars have been assembled in North America for years, etc). And, dealers/garages repairing/maintaining "foreign" vehicles really did charge a good bit more for labor. It was acknowledged and (grudgingly) accepted as the territory that came with owning these vehicles.

The real problem here, I think, is that my brother won't accept the fact that times and circumstances have long since changed. Also--he'd never admit it, but maybe he's just a tad jealous of the really nice, long-running Honda/Toyota cars I've driven most of my life!!!
 

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Ziploc said:


[ S N I P P E D ]

Also--he'd never admit it, but maybe he's just a tad jealous of the really nice, long-running Honda/Toyota cars I've driven most of my life!!!
Which American cars does/has your brother own/owned? :confused:
 

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Qbrozen said:
Hate to break this to your brother, but these "Japanese" cars we are driving have more American-made parts than your typical GM or Ford. Show him that window sticker that came with your Pilot that claims (if i remember the numbers correctly) something like 97% from the U.S. and 3% canadian.

As far as the cost, it really depends on the car, not the make. For example, Honda Civics and Accords are in such abundance, that every aftermarket manufacturer under the sun makes parts for them and the price competition is fierce. The drives the cost of parts way down. This is a similar situation with Cavalier and Focus parts. So, really, the pricing is pretty comparable.

Honda and Toyota just don't compare to other, true, Japanese-made vehicles. Subaru, for example, IS more expensive for parts and service. But this is due to far less numbers of them being here in the states (less aftermarket competition) and the fact that the cars and the parts are made overseas.
All good points, although my experience has been that parts for Japanese COMPANY cars are typically more expensive than US COMPANY cars. I agree that a lot of this has to do with the "numbers" and since I have never owned either a Civic or Accord, I would not have seen some of the lower prices you describe.

You also have to be careful lumping Toyota in the same bucket as Honda as some models are built entirely in Japan - I.E. the Highlander.

:)
 

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Yer right, of course, about lumping them together. It really does still depend on the car. Heck, aren't most Dodge cars made by Mitsubishi anyway? I know the Colt was. And the Sebring engine is Mitsu. Never really looked at any others to find out.

I haven't really priced out parts for American cars in a long time.... come to think of it, the only American cars I ever owned were a '66 Mustang and a '78 Mercury Zephyr. Everything else American was a truck. Now there is a cheap parts market! But you gotta remember that, up until recently, American trucks were using decades old powertrain designs. Nowadays you'd be hard pressed to find a Chevy that wasn't made in Mexico.

If he wants to stick to his guns about pricing, let him. But don't let him bring up this patriotic BS argument, cause it don't hold water. And, like you said, even if parts are slightly more expensive for your Honda, you will need less of them! Not to mention he'd have to go through 2 Fords before your Honda even gets tired.
 

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colorider said:


, although my experience has been that parts for Japanese COMPANY cars are typically more expensive than US COMPANY cars.
:)
E.G.??

What part have you bought for both and noticed that difference?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
kemosabe said:


Which American cars does/has your brother own/owned? :confused:
He's owned a long string of American COMPANY cars--always buys them used, both because (he says) he can't afford new car prices (he pays cash) and he just thinks used cars are generally a better deal.

Let's see, over the years my brother's had a Plymouth, Buick, and Dodge that I can recall--all sedans. (A couple met premature ends because of car accidents.) Now he's got a Dodge Caravan. Ironically, I think he's mostly driving the 1988 Toyota Corolla that I sold to him several years ago for his daughter's use (he's using it while she's in Europe on an extended basis)! You'd think he'd learn something from that Corolla, wouldn't you???!
 

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Do you happen to know which engine is in his Caravan? The standard 150 hp 2.4 and 3.0 are Mitsu-sourced engines, I believe (can't confirm, but I do know the Galant used a 150 hp 2.4 and the 3.0, like I stated before, from the Sebring is a Mitsu engine). I believe, however, the 3.8 is all Chrysler, so, if that is his engine, this argument is completely useless to you. ;)
 

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I have a Ford Escape and a Honda Pilot. What I do find is that the Honda Dealers charge more for scheduled maintenance than Ford Dealers. However, you can't really generalize with all Japanese makes and models. I had a Toyota and it was the cheapest car I've had to maintain.

If you want expensive, look at the European makes.
 

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Commuter said:
I have a Ford Escape and a Honda Pilot. What I do find is that the Honda Dealers charge more for scheduled maintenance than Ford Dealers. However, you can't really generalize with all Japanese makes and models. I had a Toyota and it was the cheapest car I've had to maintain.

If you want expensive, look at the European makes.
yes and here you can generalize ...even the VW dealers charge an arm and a leg for the piec of Sh** car...just because its European....:D :D
 

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I remember with my '89 Toyota Tercel that Toyota air fillters were $7 or so at the dealer, but you could go to a Trak Auto (now Advance Auto Parts) and buy a Lee filter for $21. The only difference between the two filters was the box it came in. Everything else, right down to the stampings on the filter, was exactly identical.
 

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One more thing, the Mazda Tribute ("Japanese") is built on the same production line in the US as the Ford Escape ("American").

This somewhat blurs the line as to whether or not to buy Japanese autos due to cost of parts. Of course, considering that this perception does still exist, I wouldn't be surprised if Mazda dealers charge more for parts than Ford dealers for essentially the same vehicle.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Qbrozen said:
Do you happen to know which engine is in his Caravan? The standard 150 hp 2.4 and 3.0 are Mitsu-sourced engines, I believe (can't confirm, but I do know the Galant used a 150 hp 2.4 and the 3.0, like I stated before, from the Sebring is a Mitsu engine). I believe, however, the 3.8 is all Chrysler, so, if that is his engine, this argument is completely useless to you. ;)
I don't know the engine, but his Caravan is a '90....don't know if Mitsu-sourced engines would have been used that far back.
 

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Qbrozen said:
Yer right, of course, about lumping them together. It really does still depend on the car. Heck, aren't most Dodge cars made by Mitsubishi anyway? I know the Colt was. And the Sebring engine is Mitsu. Never really looked at any others to find out.

[snip]
Just to show how quick it all changes - the Sebring engine (at least the V6) is no longer made by Mitsu! I think it changed in either 1999 or 2000.
 

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N_Jay said:


E.G.??

What part have you bought for both and noticed that difference?
Probably the one that sticks in my mind the most is a water pump. As I recall, there was almost a 3X difference between one for a Subaru and for a Buick. I have also had occasion where I was forced to buy spark plugs at a dealer for one of my Japanese cars - seems like they were Nippondenso. At the time, there was no cross to another brand. Perhaps this is a bad example as I suppose the same thing could happen for an American car - although with the American car, you will typically always have an American made spark plug and are more likely to find it at your local auto-parts.

YMMV
 

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there ya go. i mentioned subaru specifically before as being a more expensive brand for parts. all overseas production. and low unit sales keeps competition away.
 

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oops. sorry. forgot that it is only the 3 liter coupe engine that is mitsu in the Sebring. the 2.7 found in the convertible is Chrysler.
 
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