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  • Rafael Ulloa

How Much to Budget for Car Maintenance and Repairs

We're all familiar with the particular irritation that ensues when the "check engine" light comes on while driving around. Car maintenance can be extremely costly and can make a sizable dent in your already tight budget.

Polls found that 1 in 3 Americans couldn’t afford to do a necessary repair without going into debt. You can’t just put off car maintenance until you have enough time to save so don’t ignore that check engine light and let matters get worse. The best approach is to save throughout the year and tend to your car’s maintenance when it’s needed.

We’ve got some advice on how to anticipate auto maintenance costs and best ways to save.

Be Prepared

The most common maintenance job is an oil filter change. This costs between $30 and $150 depending on what kind of oil your car takes. Modern cars typically need oil changes every 5,000 to 10,000 miles. Other forms of routine maintenance you’ll want to stay on top of include tire rotations and alignments, filter changes, and even spark plug replacements. You can address this around 5,000-, 10,000- or even 20,000- and 30,000-mile intervals. The best way to get the longest life out of your tires is to regularly monitor your tire pressure.

How Much to Budget for Car Maintenance and Repairs

We can’t predict the future to know when your car will need to be serviced and how much it’ll cost, but you can be prepared! The typical unexpected repair is in the $500 to $600 range. We recommend you save around $50 a month to cover repairs you can’t anticipate. This adds up to $600 a year. You’ll want to save around the same amount for regular maintenance which means you should put aside around $100 a month if you can. When budgeting, you can keep your budget from the previous year in mind. The budget will likely vary widely from year to year but if you invested in major work in the previous years you can anticipate lower costs. Inversely, if you’ve avoided paying for major work in previous years, it’s not a bad idea to anticipate higher costs.

Look for Cheaper Car Insurance

If you’ve enjoyed a clean driving record and haven’t paid your insurance much mind in a while, consider shopping around for cheaper car insurance. Car insurance companies would be happy to give you a quote. If you find savings between $20 - $50 a month, this can make a sizable dent in the $100 you’ll be setting aside each month.

If you are concerned about money due to a considerable amount of debt, there is help available. Here at Madison Monroe & Associates, we act as a partner to help you eliminate debt and get back on the path to financial freedom. Don’t hesitate to reach out to Madison Monroe & Associates at or call us at (877) 346-2797.

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