I mentioned that maintaining your car is financially important as car emergencies can ruin a family’s budget quite easily. For couples looking at paying down debt, investing more for their future, or saving up for a paid for vacation, it can be incredibly frustrating to see huge expenses come up with their cars.
Every Car Needs Maintenance
Fortunately though, many car expenses aren’t emergencies, but simply scheduled repairs that weren’t planned. While you can definitely minimize many big repairs, you still have to spend money to keep your car running, especially if you plan on driving it for many years.
Besides oil changes and tune ups, here are other common car maintenance care services you’ll probably need as a car owner at some point:
Rotate and balance wheels and tires
Replace windshield wiper insert(s)
Replace air conditioning filter
Inspect A/C and heater operation
Replace oil drain plug, gasket
Inspect shocks and struts
Inspect and adjust drive belts
Putting it On Your Budget
To show you how to plan ahead for your next appointment and keep your budget in tact, I’ll use the example of having your timing belt replaced.
For some vehicles timing belts are replaced around 90,000 miles. When I checked repair shops in my area, I found estimates of $550-$650 for everything. At some point in the next year I’ll need to get this done, so budgeting some money now will make it much easier on our finances.
I’m going to go with the higher amount ($650), so that comes out to around $55/month. I can either go ahead and schedule a regular transfer into savings for that amount or I can keep that money in checking and use it when needed. Either works – savings will give us a bit more money, but with that amount, it’s not much so keeping it checking is not a big deal.
Don’t Forget the Other Expenses of Owning a Car
Besides maintaining the cars, we also have to pay property taxes and registration fees for them. in fact I just had to take care of that with our Honda. Fortunately it wasn’t too bad, but it’s still an expense in our budget. Factoring those expenses in with your family budget and help you stay on top of your finances.
Thoughts on Keeping a Car Budget
How have you been doing with staying on budget with your cars? How much do you two spend on your cars each year?