Car maintenance is expensive, but not as expensive as your vehicle breaking down due to negligent care. Servicing your vehicle can be broken down into two categories:
- Basic Car Maintenance
- Replacing Worn Out Parts
You can expect to spend around $1,600 on your car maintenance per year according to AAA, but like all things this cost can vary depending on how heavily you use your vehicle, extreme driving conditions, road quality you drive on, and your driving style.
Basic Car Maintenance
Think oil changes and fluid replacement when you consider basic car maintenance costs. These are going to be costs associated with driving ANY VEHICLE no matter if you just drove it off the lot or if it is used with over 200,000 miles on it. The user manual in your vehicle will tell you exactly what maintenance your car needs and when it should be performed, but keep in mind the older your car is, the more care it is going to need.
- Oil and Oil Filter Change
- Tire Rotation
- Change Engine Coolant
- Multi Point Inspection
Why You Should Maintain Your Car:
Car maintenance can be overwhelming to keep up with if you don’t stay organized, but is nonetheless very important to stay on top of. Vehicles require maintenance to keep them running smoothly, most of these maintenance items in a car’s first few years of life are simple and easy repairs, like oil changes, with more detailed (and expensive) maintenance and part replacement required as the car gets older.
Keeping up with car maintenance can be expensive, but neglecting to perform necessary car maintenance will cost you more in the long run by causing damage to components that were not properly cared for. Replacing engine coolant is a $30 max repair if you do it yourself where as a blown head gasket caused by engine overheating if you fail to replace the engine coolant is going to cost you thousands of dollars. Another result of failing to maintain your car properly is a voided car warranty
Oil Changes And Filter Replacement
It’s imperative to change out your oil and ensure your car is running with proper oil levels. Without oil you can burn out your engine and total your vehicle very easily. That is why this the the first item we’ve listed here because it is one of the most important maintenance items. Don’t forget to change out the filter while you are at it. These maintenance items should be done together every 5,000- 7,000 miles. Expected spend: $35- $75
Because of the way vehicle’s drive, specifically cars and trucks that are front wheel or rear wheel drive, tires wear unevenly. This is generally due to where the power of the vehicle is coming from. Tire rotation is where the mechanic moves the front tires to the back and vice versa. This extends the usable life of your tires which save you big dollars because tires are one of the most expensive parts to replace when they have worn out. Perform this maintenance item every 6 months or 6,000 -8,000 miles. Expected spend: Under $50
Engine coolant is up there with changing out your oil. It’s not super expensive to replace but the consequences of not doing so may total your car.Engine coolant is responsible for removing heat from the engine block produced from the controlled combustions that make your car go. MAKE SURE YOUR COOLANT LEVELS ARE WHERE THEY SHOULD BE! I can’t stress this enough. Failure to do so leads to overheating which can cause a slew of issues that can total your car such as warped engine parts and a blown head gasket. No warranty is going to touch this negligence. Perform this maintenance item every 2-3 years or 30,000 to 50,000 miles. Expected spend: $100- $150
Multi Point Inspection
A multi point inspection is something that most mechanics will do for free when you bring your car in to be serviced. Essentially a multi point inspection is where key areas of your vehicle are looked over by the automotive professional to give them a greater idea of what will need to be repaired or at least looked over in more detail. Traditionally this will include brakes, radiator, belts and hoses, shocks and struts, tires and fluids. Generally the mechanic will also top off your fluids for you at this time. Have this done roughly every oil change. Expected cost: will vary. Most mechanics don’t charge for this service
Replacing Worn Out Parts
Replacing worn out parts, especially if you have an older car, is going to be where the majority of the cost comes in. There are just about endless components of your vehicle that can wear out or break completely (and they all will at some point if you keep a car running for long enough), but here are items that routinely wear out and need replacing:
- Change tires
- Replace battery
- Change windshield wipers
- Engine air filter
- Brake pads
Replacing your tires is going to be the most costly worn out part that comes cyclically. As you drive you slowly wear down the rubber, decreasing the tread and therefor the traction. As a major safety component it is dangerous and selfish not to replace your tires as you can injure yourself and others if you drive on balding tires. Tires should be replaced every 30,000 to 50,000 miles or every 3-5 years. You can prolong the life of tires by driving modestly and keeping tires properly inflated. Expected cost: $525- $725
The battery in your vehicle is imperative for starting the vehicle. Unfortunately they wear out semi frequently. You can expect to replace the battery in your car every 5 years. The average cost is $45- $250 depending on your vehicle
Another safety feature that wears out the more you use them, wipers are important to have especially if you live in a tropical or snowy area. Replace your wipers every 6 months. It won’t break the bank. Estimated cost of replacement: $62
Engine Air Filter
The filter removes outside contaminants in the air from reaching the combustion chamber of your vehicle as your car intakes air. As it skims the air, over time, the filter becomes clog and air passes through it at a slower rate. If it gets too clogged your car will be far less efficient with fuel and you can see a loss of power with your vehicle. Replace the engine air filter every 12,000- 15,000 miles or every year. Estimated cost: No more than $20
As you can probably tell, most of the items on this list are safety components that are used often/ every time you get behind the wheel and drive. Brake pads wear down over time and require more and more force to get the vehicle to stop. Because this is a safety feature, and a very important one at that you do not want to fall behind on maintaining your brakes. Replace brake pads every 2- 3 years. Estimated cost: $200- $300
|Type Of Service||Purpose||How Often?|
|Oil Change (Regular)||Keep your engine lubricated, reduce heat, and clear debris Cost: $35- $75||5,000 – 7,000 miles / Every 6 months|
|Oil Change (Synthetic)||Keep your engine lubricated, reduce heat, and clear debris.Cost: $65- $125||7,000 – 12,500 miles / Every 6 months|
|Change Oil Filter||Help keep your engine clear of debris.Cost: $10- $35||10,000 – 25,000 miles / Every 2nd oil change|
|Change Coolant||Helps maintain engine temperatureCost: $100- $150||30,000 – 50,000 miles / Every 2-3 years|
|Change Brake Pads||Allows for proper stopping distanceCost: $200- $300||40,000 – 60,000 miles / Every 2-3 years|
|Change Brake Fluid||Allows for proper stopping distance, and aids long term brake health.Cost: $75-$105||20,000-45,000 miles / Every 2-3 years|
|Change Cabin Air Filter||Keep cabin air free of mold, pollution, pollen and other dirt. Change it more frequently if you live in a dry and dusty environment.Cost: $30- $70||15,000-30,000 miles / Every 1-2 years.|
|Change Engine Air Filter||Keep engine air free of sand, dirt, and other debris. Change it more frequently if you live in a sandy/dusty environment.Cost: $15- $20||12,000-15,000 miles / Every Year|
|Rotate Tires||Allows tires to wear evenly, which extends tire life and helps to prevent early blowouts.Cost: No more than $50||6,000 – 8,000 miles / Every 6 months|
|Change Tires||Keeps your car on the road. Yeah, they are pretty damn important. $525- $725||30,000 – 50,000 miles / Every 3-5 years|
|Wash Car||Cleans debris from your car and improves highway fuel efficiency by up to 10%. Wash your car more frequently in dry, dusty environments, or if you encounter road debris, bugs, or bird poop. Opt for a hand wash over an automatic car wash.Cost: $7- $65||Every 2-3 weeks.|
|Wax Car||Protects your paint from debris, grime, and corrosion.Cost: $25- $75||Every 2-3 months.|
|Change Car Battery||Provides the energy to start your car.Cost: $45- $250||50,000-70,000 miles / Every 5-7 years|
|Change Windshield Wipers||Keeps your windshield clear of rain/snow/other debris.Cost: $62- $84||Every year|
So there you have it. Maintaining your car properly is so important for saving you money on big repairs and keeping yourself and others on the road with you safe. You can expect to pay on average $1,600 per year to maintain your vehicle, but if you have a low cost and easy to maintain vehicle you’ll pay far less.
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