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Monday, May 7, 2018

Cost to Maintain - 3 Vehicle Comparison

In the last 5 years of Brent’s Travels I have traveled between 16K and 20K miles in my approx 4 months, each year on the road.

To recap my first year of travels in 2014 I had a Class B camper below.  Years 2, 3, &, 4 (2015, 2016, &, 2017) my Vandwelling Choice was a Prius.  Finally this year (2018) was my Tacoma with a Four Wheel Camper (FWC).

Over a series of blog posts I will look at different aspects of my various Vandwelling travel choices.

If you have questions you would like answered please let me know.

Cost To Maintain, Comparison:

My Class B was a 1994 Chevrolet 35 van (1 Ton).  It had the engine doghouse between the driver and passenger and it was difficult to work on.  Since it was a Class B the GM dealer near where I live refused to work on it.  The engine had carburetor on a 350 HP V-8 that had difficulty maintaining speed on hills, even though I had a full tuneup before leaving.  Tires were more expensive than the Prius or Tacoma.  Electronics were starting to stop working.  It wasn’t cost effective to maintain and would have needed newexpensive truck tires if I was to have used it a decind year.  This was the most costly of my vehicles to operate and maintain.

My Prius was the most cost effective.  With braking regeneration of the hybrid battery brakes last over 100,000 miles.  It was newer being a 2011 and with the approx 55,000 miles I put on in 3 years I only needed to have oil changes and replace tires at a cost effective $100 a tire, for functioning items.  I did hit a wooden post and with the scraping of the front bumper going over curbs the first year I replaced the nose plastic.  This was $800 but my fault and not the Prius.  I put on the curb sensor and eliminated the problem.  I also hit a sharp curb and cut a tire’s sidewall and had to replace two tires at a cost of $200.  Again my fault and not a Prius issue.

Now for the Tacoma.  It was in good shape for it being a 2011.  I did have the front brakes done over before I left on my trip but that was from normal wear and needed to be replaced regardless of my travels.  I opted to have the shocks/struts replaced too as I knew I was going to be on many back roads and 59,500 miles already on them and considering the 1,000 lbs I would be carrying, I felt it was good insurance to replace them before the trip.  I didn’t do anything else.

Cost To Maintain, In Summary:

 Without totaling individual costs, the Class B was and would be more expensive to maintain.  

Second is the Tacoma.  The extra weight of carrying 1,000 lbs. will wear brakes, shocks, tires, and drivetrain parts.  In fact the Class B carried more weight and the same basis for my decision as well as the wear that I had on it when I bought it.

The Prius was the most cost effective to maintain, not considering the damages I caused, as noted above. 

I did not calculate fuel consumption here as it deserves its own section for discussion.

Class B - 4
Prius - 9
Tacoma/FWC - 6



  1. Could you please indicate the curb sensor you got for the Prius? The group at PriusChat did not have a lot of recommendations.

    1. Happy Runner,

      Here is the curb sensor I bought from Amazon for my Prius.

      Brandmotion 5000-CA5 Curb Alert PRO Curb Warning System

      Selling for $140.80

      I highly recommend not to climb a curb and pull off bumper cover backing up.