When people find out I have owned a number of McLarens, they tend to ask a lot of questions about maintenance costs and reliability. As we have just completed another annual service cycle, the following is the updated list of all the maintenance costs and reliability issues we have had across the ten McLarens we have owned over the past decade. Personally, I have tended to view this as a highly dangerous topic to publicly document given Mrs. SSO does read all the articles I post. However, having now done it twice without serious repercussions, I believe the risk is manageable. I have always tried to be quite religious with annual services which I’m sure has helped finance better lives for quite a few very talented mechanics. In addition, any issues that come to light during these annual pilgrimages to the service center get taken care of right away. My philosophy has always been that small problems only grow into big problems and it is much less expensive to take care of things immediately than to wait. I do believe this has been a contributor to the very low level of reliability issues we have had across all the cars. As a reference point, when evaluating the annual maintenance costs (I define maintenance as annual servicing cost plus replacement of wear & tear items), I take into account the original list price and not our acquisition cost. A car that cost $250,000 new is always going to have $250,000 car type service costs regardless of what you might be able to buy it for 5 or 10 years later. Unfortunately, unlike a car, service costs don’t depreciate over time, if anything they move in the opposite direction as more of a car’s components wear out with age and need to be replaced.
In order by date of acquisition here is our McLaren maintenance and reliability history. For the sake of simplicity, I have kept the costs in the currencies they were incurred in.
McLaren 12Cs – We owned three 12Cs over a 3-year period. While on paper this sounds a bit daft, there is a logical explanation to it that involves two moves and three countries during that period (Our McLaren History). Across the three 12C’s in the 3 years, we only had one bill for an annual service. The invoice came to £3,265 and included £1,530 for the hardware upgrade from the less than useful 1st generation IRIS infotainment system to the 2nd generation. This is one case where I still believe McLaren got it wrong. IRIS was a £5,320 option that was substandard at best and should have been replaced free of change for all owners of early 12C’s. We did take our final LHD 12C Spider in for service but right after we dropped it off, we got the offer to trade it in for a 650S Spider so I never did see the invoice.
In terms of reliability across the three 12C’s, our first McLaren, the 2013 RHD 12C Spider, was the only one we have owned that had steel brakes. I made the mistake of washing it once and putting it away with the brake discs still wet. The right rear caliper froze on the disc and we had to flatbed it to the service center to get it released. On the second 12C, a 2012 LHD Coupe, their was a faulty left front tire sensor. I had to take the car in twice before it was finally rectified. The last 12C was a 2014 LHD Spider. This 12C had one issue, a temperature sensor that needed replacing. The car was out of service for a day. The final 12C Spider was my daily driver for a bit over a year.
McLaren P1 – We owned the P1 for a bit under two years. During that time, we had it service once at a cost of $2,880 which seemed quite reasonable given the value of the car. To date though, the P1 is the only car we have sold due to fear of a large six figure maintenance bill (P1 Farewell) if the hybrid battery had failed. I do regret having let it go and would love to get another one at some point in the future.
We did have to two reliability issues with the P1. The first was a loose rear side turn signal light that took 5 minutes to fix. The second was IRIS Infotainment System failed and needed to be replaced under warrantee. There was also a recall notice for the front hood latch.
McLaren 650S Spider – The 650S Spider has been with us for over 7 years now. From delivery up until Covid, it has served as my daily driver. The bills to date are: 1st service $1,410, 2nd service $2,275, 3rd service $1,836, & the 4th service $5,570 which included $2,100 for four new tires and $880 for the alignment. Four years of driving around on Dallas’ horrible roads definitely took its toll. The first four services were all done by McLaren Dallas and they were terrific to deal with. Year 5 saw us decamp from Texas and move back up to the Northeast. The last three services have been completed by McLaren Boston, who have been just as great to deal with as McLaren Dallas. The year 5 service cost was very much in line with the year’s 2 and 3 at $2,196. However, it turns out that the roads up North are no more friendly to 650S tires, and a large nail led to a $610 bill for a right rear replacement shortly after the 5 year service. The Year 6 service at $4,778 has quite a jump up again as there was an issue that had come up that I wanted addressed. The small left hand menu stalk had stopped working properly. The control module had failed and needed replacing at a cost of just under $2k. Year 7 at $1,675 was a much more in line with most of the early service costs as there were no additional issues that needed addressing.
In addition to the forementioned small menu stalk failure, last year in a separate trip to McLaren Boston, we also replaced the high mounted rear brake light for $915, ordered two new keys at $422, and replaced all four suspension accumulators at a cost of $3,785.
McLaren 675LT Spider – The 675LT Spider is six years old now. During this period, it has been our road trip car of choice, so it’s done plenty of long trips. The 675LT Spider has also spent the majority of its life in the mountains of Montana enjoying some of the more challenging roads in the US. The five annual service’s so far have run: 1st service $1,755, 2nd service $2,405, 3rd service $1,700, 4th $2,671 and the 5th $2,066. As per the 650S Spider, the first several were completed by McLaren Dallas and the last two have been done by McLaren Boston. In addition, we had to replace the windshield in September 2019 at a cost of $5,610. Despite being a Limited Edition car, the LT has been less expensive to run than the 650S Spider.
In terms of reliability, we have had a single issue and it only has seen the inside of the McLaren service center for its annual services.
McLaren 720S – We owned the 720S Coupe for just under two years and had it serviced twice at costs of: 1stservice $1,625 & 2nd service $2,925. The costs are very much in line with the bills for the other models. These were the only two times the 720S went back to the service center. In a departure for our normal practice of waiting for late production cars, the 720S Coupe was a fairly early build. It was traded in for the 720S Spider.
McLaren Senna – We have owned the Senna for a bit over three years. During that time, we had it service by McLaren Boston at a cost of $1,770 for the 1st service and $2,129 for the 3rd service. The 2nd service was done free of charge as McLaren North America picked up the bill. Overall, the costs seem very reasonable for a car of its complexity. In fact, they have been just half the cost of a P1’s service and the Senna’s annual service costs are very much in line with the other McLarens. The Senna’s also had two recalls and one warrantee issue which were taken care of during the 1st service. The free service was related to the warrantee issue which was very professionally handled by McLaren.
McLaren 720S Spider – We owned the 720S Spider for just under two years. It was serviced once at a cost of $1,773. The 720S Spider also made two extra trips back to the service center. Once for a minor issue with the air conditioning and once to replace a misbehaving electric module for the roof. The 720S Spider was traded in late last year for the 765LT Spider.
McLaren 765LT Spider- The 765LT Spider arrived earlier this year. It already has well over 1,000 miles on it and has been completely reliable. The first service is not due until next April.
I’m not sure what conclusions to draw from this exercise other than McLarens are not inexpensive but also are they are not unreasonable to run. However, I’m not going to add the costs all up as that just seems counterproductive. The annual maintenance costs seem very consistent across the range from 12C through to the Senna with the P1 being just a bit more. The fact that the P1 is a bit more is not surprising given the complexity of that car. So far, outside of a few issues with the 650S Spider last year, we have been fortunate to avoid any major “wear & tear” bills other that can generate the big hits to the wallet. The 650S Spider issues I see more as the end result of the wear and tear inflected upon it from the many years of daily driving over crappy potholed roads. On a positive note, none of the McLarens have ever left us stranded.
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