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10 JDM Cars That Are The Most Expensive To Maintain

One of the main catalysts for success where the JDM market is concerned is the fact that they can be both cheap to buy into and cheap to maintain. A number of examples can be quoted here, such as the Honda Civic Type R, Toyota Celica, or the go-to fan favorite Mazda MX-5 Miata.

Aside from just featuring easily replaceable parts and affordably manufactured ones, certain vehicles are just extremely reliable, and their maintenance costs are comparatively low given that they need replacements parts so rarely. A number of Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution and Subaru Impreza WRX generations spring to mind here, given their periods of rally car supremacy.

That’s how it started, at least, and given that the prices of practically all JDM cars across the 90s and 2000s are heading north, it’s only natural that their maintenance costs will increase too. Here are 10 JDM cars that are unquestionably great, but undoubtedly expensive to maintain:

10 Lexus LC 500 ($300 Per Year)

Lexus LC 500
Via: Lexus

A brilliant car, albeit a slightly overpriced one in our opinion. The Lexus LC500 has been a popular model for the brand since its introduction in 2017 thanks to its exciting looks and the equally applaudable engineering behind it. Its 5.0-liter V8 is good for 471-hp, and results in many owners straight piping their LC 500s to essentially make them sound similar to an LFA.

As you’ll come to see is the case with many cars on this list, the maintenance cost won’t always be as low as estimated, since sports cars do require more attention than the standard car. This is especially true for something like an LC 500, whose relatively low repair and maintenance estimates could change substantially overnight.

9 Mazda RX-7 FD3S ($400 Per Year)

Via: Mazda

The Mazda RX-7 is not just one of the most beautiful 90s Japanese sports cars created, but its screaming rotary, low driving position and featherweight handling contribute to a truly refined driving experience that can be explored with ease. This is one of the few icons from that era that really does deserve its ascending price.

At first glance, the average service and maintenance cost for a Mazda RX-7 isn’t too bad either at just $346, but do take that with a pinch of salt. Clutch failures, throttle position sensor issues and suspension bushes needing replacements are all common. The big one is that rotary engine: it’s a matter of when it will go, and not if.

8 Acura NSX ($400 Per Year)

Gray 2022 NSX Type S Speeding On Track
Via: Acura

Despite being a near $200k car, the now discontinued Acura NSX is claimed to have a relatively low maintenance cost. The first reason is that it’s a… err … Acura. The second is because it was built specifically to be used as an everyday supercar, much like the Audi R8. In that regard, an annual outlay of around $400 really isn’t bad.

While big issues are scarce, there are a few common problems to look out for. The Hybrid powertrain has been known to be problematic from time to time, which could also be to do with malfunctions involving the motor and inverter. Chassis and brake problems, as well as suspension bush damage, are also things to keep an eye on.

Related: This Secret Underground Car Meet In Tokyo Was Like Real Life Tokyo Drift

7 Mazda RX-8 ($500 Per Year)

Maxda RX-8 - Side
via: Mazda

A rotary engine is quite something. They sound so indifferent, and work in the quirkiest way conceivable, but that’s also precisely where the problem lies. The RX-8 isn’t necessarily a direct successor to the RX-7, but it does share the same engine type as its predecessor. No wonder many believe that Mazda RX-8 ownership could bankrupt you.

Common faults leading to service or maintenance costs include power steering issues, even when all the corresponding connections are correctly in place, as well as a temperamental starter motor and catalytic converter failure. Electrical problems are not unheard of, either, and that’s before we even get to the rotary engine.

6 Toyota Supra A80 ($600 Per Year)

Black 1997 Supra parked
Via: Bring A Trailer

The first of the “Big three” to come out of the 90s, which consisted of the A80 Toyota Supra, the R34 Skyline and the first-gen NSX. It’s particularly rare to find unmolested examples of the Supra, which is why the maintenance costs for them will actually be much higher than estimated, given the aftermarket upkeep.

In the assumption that you are lucky enough to find a standard one, the A80 will still throw up a big list of problems. This includes repetitive stalling when the engine isn’t sufficiently warmed up, and brake digging, which leads to overheating and high pressure due to faulty gauges. MK4 Toyota Supra service and maintenance is not cheap.

5 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X ($700 Per Year)

Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X Side View
Via: Mitsubishi

The 2008-2015 Lancer EVO X is certainly a reliable car and does justice to the badge, but that doesn’t mean it’s cheap to maintain. Given that it’s both the last hurrah in the Lancer Evolution lineage and the fact that it is so much more complicated than its older siblings, the X does cost a fair amount more than other Evos to maintain and service.

A knocking sound stemming from faulty suspension struts, shaft bearing replacements, and an evaporator drain clean to stop poor smell emanating from the climate control are among the minor but frequent issues. Bigger ones take shape in the form of engine idling problems and sudden jolts, which requires a replacement actuator to fix.

Related: 10 JDM Cars That Were Ahead Of Their Time

4 Nissan Skyline GT-R R34 ($800 Per Year)

Midnight Purple R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R
Via: Bring A Trailer

Given that the R34 is considered by many to be THE most legendary JDM car to exist, it’s not entirely surprising that sticking a definitive maintenance price on it is somewhat difficult. Since it is comparable to the Supra, a sensible guess should land you on a slightly higher amount than its rival, given that some of the R34’s parts may be harder to come by.

Common problems with the Nissan Skyline include oil pump failures, solenoid and cir-clip issues within the gearbox, and the particularly frightening prospect of swerving under braking – requiring a suspension replacement entirely. The R34 will need to be meticulously maintained for it to be rewarding during ownership.

3 Nissan GT-R R35 ($900 Per Year)

Via: Nissan

Arguably the greatest ‘affordable’ premium sports car to come out of Japan, the Nissan GT-R R35 has rightfully had its name up in lights for the best part of 15 years. A bountiful mix of comfort, performance and technology make it a true titan in its bracket, but Nissan GT-R maintenance will burn a hole in your pocket.

Common problems with the R35 are headlined by issues with the control solenoids which can cause further transmission problems; a particularly frequent occurrence in the earlier models. Loose bearings attached to the GT-R’s flywheel shaft, which leads to engine rattles and noises, are yet another problem. As you can imagine, none of this comes cheap.

2 Lexus LFA ($1,000 Per Year)

Front 3/4 view of a white LFA on the move in the pitlane
Via: Lexus

Jeremy Clarkson has, on more than one occasion, stated that the Lexus LFA is the greatest car he has ever driven — and he’s driven a lot of cars. Perhaps that’s the reason why the LFA is selling for Bugatti Veyron money these days? It’s also hard to argue that there is a better sounding road-legal car on earth, too, given that its V10 engine can shatter glass like an opera singer.

Since this is the first truly rarified car on this list, it’s expected that the average maintenance cost isn’t going to be found with a simple Google search. Rather, like with the R34, an educated guess has to be made. The average service and maintenance cost for a Lexus is around $550, so we reckon the LFA’s exotic persona could command close to double that.

Related: The Real Story How Japan Created The Awesome Drift Culture

1 Toyota 2000GT (Priceless)

1967 Toyota 2000GT
Via: Mecum Auctions

You may as well end a list with a bang, right? And what bigger way to end it than with the most expensive Japanese car ever sold: the Toyota 2000GT. The beautifully sculpted body really has aged like fine wine, and with only 351 ever being produced, it’s wholly understandable why one example sold for over $2,540,000 back in March 2022.

If you’re one of the lucky gearheads that owns a 2000GT, we’ve got two things to ask you: First, can we have a go? Second, how much does it actually cost to maintain? Given that owners would barely drive them (shameful, we know), maintenance might not be as high as you’d expect for such an old car. Who knows, maybe the sports car that saved Toyota could even be the cheapest on this list? Perhaps we’ll get our answer some day.

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