Car repairs can be costly and difficult to predict. Fortunately, there are strategies that can help you prepare for sudden expenses and save money on unexpected maintenance. With some smart budgeting, you’ll be able to keep your car running smoothly and mitigate a costly repair’s financial impact.
Here are a few ways you can start planning ahead.
Adding Car Maintenance Into Your Budget
Maintenance costs are inevitable, so it’s important to always have a maintenance and repair plan ready. By keeping track of your usual costs, you can formulate a monthly budget that accounts for most car repairs.
The exact amount to budget for car maintenance will vary based on several factors, such as the type of vehicle, how old your vehicle is, and how many miles you drive per year. On average, you can expect to pay around nine cents in repair costs for every mile you drive. While this number may seem small, it can compound quickly.
Using the nine-cents-per-mile estimate above, if you put 15,000 miles on your car each year, expect your annual maintenance costs to be about $1,350.
If the damage is already done, there are still many cost-effective options for financing repairs. Some mechanics may offer no-interest financing programs that divide your total cost into monthly installments. Just be sure you read the fine print and understand any fees you could face using these programs before you sign up.
Additionally, you could earn 2%* or 1.5% cash rewards by paying for your repairs using our Founder’s Card.
Preparing for Common Car Repairs
When you notice an issue with your car, it might be time to head to the repair shop to see what’s going on under the hood. Eventually, vehicle components such as catalytic converters, fuel injectors, and oxygen sensors may need to be fixed.
How much you’ll need to spend will depend on the type of vehicle you have, where you take your car to have the work done, and even your location. Kelley Blue Book® can give you an idea of the average cost of these types of repairs.
Even if it seems like a minor issue, it’s often better to get your car seen by a professional sooner rather than later. This preventive approach can save you money in the long run. Scheduling an appointment for your car to be evaluated by a mechanic can help identify an issue before it gets worse.
Tips for Reducing Car Repair Costs
By servicing your car on a regular basis and visiting a mechanic as soon as a problem arises, you can reduce the cost and frequency of future repairs. There are other ways to reduce repair costs, as well, such as:
- Learn how to perform regular maintenance yourself: Performing tasks like changing your oil and replacing your filters can help you cut down on visits to the auto shop. If you need some help getting started, check out the information provided in your car’s manual.
- Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations: It can be tempting to use inexpensive parts and vehicle fluids, but doing so could potentially reduce your vehicle’s longevity. Car manufacturers run tests to determine which parts and fluids work best with their models and make recommendations based upon their findings. Even if the higher quality options are more expensive up front, you’ll likely save money down the road if you follow their guidance.
- Adhere to the manual’s maintenance schedule: Just like using the manufacturer’s recommended parts, following the manual’s recommended maintenance schedule helps prevent problems before they arise. Even though nothing may appear wrong with your car on the surface, regularly scheduled maintenance can help lengthen the life of your vehicle and detect small issues before they worsen.
Keep Moving Forward with an Auto Loan from PSECU
If your car is regularly costing you more in repairs than it’s worth, it may be time to consider trading it in for a new – or new-to-you – car. We have flexible terms and loan rates that can help you secure a monthly payment that fits your budget. Learn more about your options today.
*You can earn 1.5% cash rewards on purchases. You can earn 2% cash rewards on purchases if you maintain a PSECU checking account and qualifying monthly direct deposit(s) of at least $500. See the Visa® Founder’s Card and Visa® Alumni Rewards Card Rewards Program Terms and Conditions for full details.