Did you know that car ownership costs about 11% more than it did last year? If you’re hoping to keep your costs down, you may need to start keeping a car maintenance budget. And if you know what to expect, you might even be able to prevent some significant repairs down the road.
Read on to learn more about the average car repair costs!
Budget for Monthly Car Maintenance Needs
Are you socking away money to go toward car repairs? If you aren’t, it’s time to start funneling money from your paycheck toward a separate car fund. That way, you won’t be blindsided by a major repair and you’ll have enough in your budget to cover routine maintenance, such as tire rotation.
Average car repair costs per year can easily exceed $1,000. But the final number you invest in your car hinges on several factors. These include the age of the car and how well you’ve maintained it.
Further, car maintenance costs by brand can vary, as well. Luxury cars tend to cost more to service because the parts are pricier and the servicing is more intricate.
Typically, fewer luxury cars are sold each year. This means that it can be harder to find the right parts — especially when those parts are made from premium materials.
But for the typical car, you should expect to spend around $100 each month. Count on scheduling oil changes at least twice a year. And also plan to do a transmission or coolant flush as part of your yearly maintenance plan.
Understand the Car Repair Pricing Structure
Each car shop structures costs slightly differently, but there are some things you can count on. For instance, if you bring in a car that’s making an unusual sound, it might not be obvious what the culprit is.
The mechanic may charge a diagnostic fee to dismantle parts of the car as they determine the problem. And if it consumes a lot of time to find the issue, plan on spending more.
If the car repair is a fairly routine one, the shop may have a flat rate price assigned to it. In other words, the shop has a sense of how many hours of labor it will take to complete the job — and what the new part costs. For instance, getting a new brake pad is a common repair, so you can know the price to do it quickly.
Some shops use an equation to determine the cost for less common repairs. They’ll estimate the number of hours needed and multiply that by the hourly rate for the labor. Then they’ll add in the cost of the new part.
While it might be tempting to tackle repairs yourself if you think you’re handy, don’t do it. Technicians with the right expertise should be able to complete a safer and more reliable fix.
Just hang on to receipts and reports to make sure you’re not going back for the same repair a few months later. Then it’s fair to negotiate a better price if the job wasn’t completed the right way the first time!
Age Impacts the Cost of Car Repairs
As you might expect, the older your car is, the more repairs it will need. If you’re trying to hang onto your vehicle until it hits 200,000 miles, you’ll need to budget accordingly — and commit to milestone repairs.
For instance, you’ll need to keep an eye on your timing belt after 60,000 miles. You’ll pay around $500 for servicing. Failing to replace it could hurt your engine.
Replace power steering fluid and coolant at 100,000 miles. Have a mechanic check all belts for cracking or brittleness. And know that you may need to replace brake rotors and pads at this maintenance milestone, as well.
A broken brake line is a real possibility as they rust over time. And because brake pressure is so critical to safe driving, you can’t avoid this fix. You could be faced with a bill of around $1,000.
You may want to invest in used car warranties to help offset repair costs. Some plans cover transmissions, electrical systems, and engines. When you’re driving an aging car, a warranty can provide peace of mind.
Set Aside Money for Bigger Issues
Finally, be sure to set aside money in your account for big-ticket repairs. These will become inevitable as your car ages. And at a certain point, you might want to put that money toward a down payment on a replacement vehicle.
Some of the most expensive car repairs can set you back thousands of dollars. For instance, repairing an entire engine can easily approach $5,000. This is especially true if you’ve neglected to seek servicing for oil changes or check engine lights on your dashboard.
Along the same lines, a busted camshaft means your engine won’t get the right amount of air it needs. Replacing one could cost $3,000.
A new head gasket or suspension also could run you over $2,000. Ultimately, your best way to limit hefty repairs is by staying current on routine repairs. Check your owner’s manual to know exactly when you should be taking your vehicle for servicing.
Understand What Impacts Average Car Repair Costs
With average car repair costs rising, it’s wise to stay on top of routine maintenance. Budget money for typical repairs, like oil changes and tire rotations. But you’ll need to save up more as your car ages, or if you own a pricier vehicle.
For more tips to keep your vehicles in good repair, check back soon for new and informative articles!