Land Rover Discovery 3 Maintenance Cost and Ownership

Most people would be scared off by a 13 year old Land Rover Discovery 3 maintenance cost. But I have a different view and look at the details of owning and maintaining a Disco 3 and give you my conclusions

I have owned and driven Defenders for more than 30 years. But eventually I was working and travelling more and needed a vehicle that could do travelling in more comfort but still go overlanding. The Defender 110 that I had was just not practical for so much city traffic travelling. Of course I am obsessed with Land Rover so there was only one option and that was a Discovery 3.

Owning this vehicle over the last 9 years has been no different than with any other Land Rover, it’s a love hate relationship. With other Landies its been a case of this is such a cool vehicle but it is just so slow and uncomfortable. With the Disco its been the opposite. This is such a comfortable vehicle but there is the discovery 3 maintenance cost worry. But is this true and what has my experience been and what is my verdict? I’ll tell you later but first lets take a closer look at my Disco 3 and a detailed breakdown of all repairs and maintenance and what it takes to keep it running.

2009 Land Rover Discovery TDV6

It is a 2009 TDV6s and one of the last Disco 3s to be made. I bought it second-hand when it was 4 years old. I was luckly to get it from someone I knew and it had a full service history and only 53 000 Km on the clock. The first owner covered the discovery 3 maintenance cost with the initial warranty maintenance plan. It really was a good find and was in perfect condition when I got it. I still recall fetching it as I had to fly to Durban and drive it back home 600km. I couldn’t believe the comfort and fatigue-free driving that I had vs a Defender, it was another world.

My favourite features are

  • Perfect proportions and the looks of purpose style and functionality
  • Comfy quiet interior
  • Massive space in the back
  • Easily fit a roof rack for overlanding
  • Space for a duel battery even though it is a bit small
  • Off road ability is effortless and more than you need
  • Air suspension the biggest benefit but also the potential weakness

This vehicle is 13 years old now and I have owned it for 9 of those years later and the mileage is on 270 000km so have owned it for 220 000km. Let me tell you what that 220 000km has been like. Every drive has been an absolute pleasure but it has not been without its problems. I have always looked after all my vehicles and this one is no different. So if something in’t right then I get it sorted out immediately

Normal Service and maintenance cost

I have done the regular services and basic maintenance by myself. So that means changing the oil and filter every 12000km mostly the Castrol specified oil. Then changing the air and pollen filter every 24000km and the fuel filter every 48 000km.

All transmission oils changed at 110k and 240k as per intervals. Just before the 240k interval I had noticed that the car had an acceleration vibration at 110km/h but I suspected the transmission fluid which did solve that problem

Timing belt replaced at 170k & modified oil pump already fitted replaced belts & brake fluid change

Brake pads I have replaced at 60k intervals & at 120k intervals

Changed brake fluid at 170k and 270k

Batteries have replaced at 70k, 142, 256k

Front wheel bearing replaced at 133K (LH died)  and 270k

Rear wheel bearings replaced at 236K

Tyres replaced at 54k, 108k, 202k 5 tyres rotating, now coming close I have been using General grabber AT, mostly ok but last set ha had one of them develop flatspots, on spare now

Preventative maintenance

Waterpump housing preventative replacement at 111K and 270k

Oil temperature sensor replaced as precaution at 270k

New air springs at 214K

Unexpected repairs

Front Lower control arms have been a problem and replaced at 88k, 169K, 226K,

Front Upper control arms replaced at 175K

Steering shaft replacement at 85K and feels like it is a problem again now at 270K

3 Injectors replaced at 148K after vehicle was smoking

Injector #2 replaced at 210K after starting was becoming delayed

Left sideshaft reconditioned at 240K

Front and rear anti roll bar bushes and drop links replaced after low speed knocking sound at 263K

Breakdown repairs

Spare wheel winch broke at 137K

Vehicle went into limp mode – 2x front height sensors, front air valve 215K

Serious suspension fault – New air compressor at 250K

Detailed Land Rover Discovery 3 Maintenance cost

Land Rover Discovery 3 maintenance cost schedule

 The Cost of Ownership

That is 9 years of ownership at a cost of around R246K so that works out to around R27K per year

This is a fair amount to keep a vehicle running but it does include everything like normal servicing and all repairs including labour parts everything.

The split between normal service wear and tear and unexpected repairs is about 50/50. So R 120K for servicing and R126K for unexpected repairs.

So if nothing goes wrong this vehicle costs about R 13 000 rand a year or R1100pm to maintain. But on top of that you need to add the unexpected repairs so you can double that amount to a total of R2300pm to keep this Disco on the road

But considering that this is an expensive luxury 4×4 it is not too bad. If I add the maintenance cost to the purchase price of 250K the total is R495K. That is still less than half the cost of a new vehicle.

But if you are going to own one of these vehicles you must be religious with servicing and maintenance. Don’t take short cuts to save money and make sure you have some money saved up for those unexpected R20k knocks that you can get from time to time.

So my final verdict is that I love it, literally every time I drive it is a pleasure long or short trips. This is the most useable and practical Land Rover that I have owned. Reliability is a worry but then again I am a big worrier and I even worried about my Defenders.

I would only ever replace this with another Disco 4 or a new Defender but at that cost it just does not seem justified for what you get vs what I have. But that’s another whole debate on its own.

Leave a Reply