With every car that you buy comes a routine maintenance schedule. In its pages, you’ll find the interval for most service items your vehicle will need in its lifetime. Oil changes, tire rotations, transmission fluid services, timing belt replacements – there’s a mileage and time interval set out for everything. What it doesn’t mention is what your car maintenance costs will be every year...
You know how much your car payment is and you can get a good idea of how much your car insurance will be. But how much should you budget annually to keep your car running and driving well?
First, here are three key areas to consider when devising your annual car maintenance budget.
In the US, AAA reports that a vehicle owner (whose car meets the 20,000 km/year mark) can expect to pay approximately $1,186 per year in maintenance fees. Comparably in Canada, it could average out to $1,400 to $1,500 per annum. Of course, this can vary depending on the above-mentioned factors and includes major maintenance items like brakes and tires also. While this number is a good place to start, here are some steps you can take to establish a much specific monthly budget.
Receipts and records of your car maintenance costs for the previous 12 months will give you a good indication of how much you should budget for next year. All these receipts are likely to include the costs of any oil changes, tire rotations, and any additional repairs and servicing you have had to pay for.
Add up all these maintenance expenses to calculate a total annual amount and divide by 12. For example, if you paid $900 in car maintenance fees that year, then it’s a good idea to set a budget goal of at least $75 a month.
Older cars typically need more mechanic attention, so you’ll want to factor the car’s age into that equation. If you paid $75 per month while the warranty was in effect, consider raising that monthly amount from $75 to $125 or even $150 after the warranty has expired to ensure you have budgeted enough for the remainder of the year.
On the other hand, if you have already replaced major vehicle components (like the tires or brakes) in the previous year, it is unlikely that you’ll have to replace them again the following year—so your costs may not be as high as in previous years. In that case, a compromise of $100 per month for your car maintenance budget may be enough to cover these annual costs.
Establishing your budget isn’t an exact science as there are so many changing variables. And we recommend erring on the side of caution to account for the unexpected. But understanding the above factors can help you plan for what it will cost to keep your vehicle in top form over its lifespan—without breaking the bank.
Canada Drives has a long-standing history of helping drivers obtain the car loans they need to get behind the wheel of a new car. As you learn more about how to properly budget for the cost of a car, you’ll find that owning a vehicle is more affordable than you thought. Click here to apply with us for free today!
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