According to a new study by AAA, the average auto repair bill comes to between $500 and $600. For most Americans, this is a substantial cost, especially if unplanned… Keep reading to explore how you can plan ahead and budget for car repairs so that surprise costs like these won’t derail your finances.
An Introduction on How to Budget for Car Repairs
Budgeting for car repairs can be a tricky thing to do. Even the same repair across 3 different manufacturers can vary greatly in cost. There are a few tricks to help you get a better grasp on it though. Keep in mind that we cannot predict exact costs, and it’s usually better to err on the side of caution and save a little extra just to be sure.
If you have a high-performance sports car, you will be looking at more repairs that are also more expensive than a small economy car. The same goes for a large truck compared to a smaller SUV. The age of the vehicle also comes into consideration, because when you have an older vehicle, it means that all of the components have been working together for longer and even the more robust parts will start to wear down. For instance, at about 120,000 miles on average is when a water pump and alternator will start to fail on most standard cars, so many vehicles reaching 6+ years old will need to start thinking about these replacements. Also, many of these parts in high-performance vehicles will fail sooner, since the components of this type of vehicle are usually pushed to the edge of their capabilities for longer durations.
Common Car Repairs
Almost all cars have a similar set of consumable materials that will need to be replaced over time. You can check your vehicle manual for what the manufacturer recommends and how often to replace them. Some of the main costs include oil changes, brake pads, coolant flushing, tires, air filters, and spark plugs.
If you have a brand new vehicle, your repair costs should be very low, since all of the car’s components are new and haven’t been made to work yet. On the other hand, as the vehicle ages and the components are exposed to time under strain, more things will fail. All vehicles should have a manual with regular service intervals that will give you a good idea of when things normally start to wear out, and roughly when you should be prepared to replace them. This will help you plan ahead and avoid costly surprises down the road.
Common Repairs for SUVs and Costs
SUVs have a lot of the same expenses as their smaller sedan counterparts, but they usually run more expensive due to larger-sized parts, and a larger motor. If an SUV is being used as a sports utility vehicle for offroading and such, it can lead to the suspension components, air filters, and tires wearing out faster than otherwise expected due to more strenuous usage and possibly worse driving conditions – so keep this in mind and be prepared for additional expenses.
Your average car will spend the majority of its life on paved roads, dealing with at most some rain and snow year over year. In contrast, an SUV is built for more rugged travels. They often spend more time offroad dealing with gravel, mud, rocks, intense hills, and whatever mother nature throws into the wilderness that day. While they are incredible vehicles, their parts will wear out just like any other piece of machinery. When SUVs are exposed to rough conditions, mud can cake into grooves in parts, or get wedged into moving components and slowly grind away the metals, which can lead to uncomfortable and sometimes very dangerous driving conditions.
Common Truck Repairs and Pricing
Your average truck is very similar to an SUV as far as maintenance is concerned, provided it is a gas-powered vehicle. Diesel-powered vehicles have more expensive parts, but they need to be replaced less often. A Diesel truck usually has larger and more durable brakes and suspension components, for instance, since they are usually made for more commercial applications.
When you run a diesel vehicle, the running costs of fuel may be higher, but their mechanical parts tend to last longer. Therefore, the life of the vehicle as a whole can be greatly extended so long as proper maintenance and care are taken. A gas truck of the same make will start to have engine failures long before the diesel engine shows signs of wear, due to how they are made and how the engine actually generates power.
Saving for Car Maintenance and Repairs
In order to properly save for your vehicle repairs, a few things need to be kept in mind. Mainly, what is the vehicle’s make, and what is the average cost of the parts for it? What is your vehicle’s current mileage? Has the vehicle been run hard, or has it had a mellow life? And what repairs or replacements have already been done?
Do some research on your car or truck to see what their average running costs are, look into the manual to see how often services are needed and think for yourself to see if any of the repairs would be things you could manage on your own. You can usually save money on services if you’re able to do them yourself, but you definitely need to make sure you study what you’re doing thoroughly and feel comfortable with the work. If not, it could make the repair take much longer or result in other damages.
A vehicle that has been pushed or poorly maintained before your ownership can drastically affect its current health and service life. Oftentimes, the best way to check into your vehicle’s health, and find out what kind of intervals it will really need is to have it thoroughly inspected by a reputable mechanic shop. They can give you a comprehensive understanding of what’s currently wrong, what will go wrong soon, and what repairs or replacements to budget for.
Your Trusted Mechanics in Portland, Oregon
Living in Portland, Oregon leads to a lot of varied weather, and some rather rough driving conditions. Having a trusted mechanic you can rely on to get the job done right is a massive weight off your shoulders. If you’re looking for a Portland, OR mechanic to help with a vehicle inspection or any auto maintenance, repairs, or replacements, we’re here to help. At AG Automotive, we strive to not only be mechanically capable but also to be a good neighbor and work to make you feel secure in your choice to partner with us. Check out any of our reviews, and come in to see why people trust us to keep not only their business vehicles running but their family ones as well.