There is a lot more to owning a car besides the car payments, paying the car insurance and putting gas into it. Unfortunately, there are also many car maintenance costs to manage. In order to make sure your car runs properly and to get the most life out of it as possible, maintaining your car regularly minimizes major costs later. Plan to pay these five unavoidable costs.
1. Oil Changes
Oil does wear out and oil filters do get clogged with junk. Your owner’s manual will outline how frequently you need to change the oil, and if you’d like, you can top it off on your own halfway through the interval to ensure there’s enough oil to get all the way to the recommended time to change it. Look for coupons to limit the cost of your oil changes.
2. New Tires
Your car will go through a set of tires every 40,000 miles or so, depending on the car and the tires. To prolong the life of your tires and to decrease overall vehicle repair costs, keep them properly inflated and rotate them every 5,000 miles or so to ensure they wear evenly. Keep an eye out for tires with low tread so you can start saving up to replace them.
3. Brake Pads
You will need to replace your brake pads every 30,000 miles or so, depending on how you drive. If you do more highway miles than city miles, your brakes will likely last much longer than that, especially if you make an effort to keep from braking hard and coast to a stop as much as possible.
Most car batteries are rated to last anywhere from 2 to 5 years under normal conditions. Selecting batteries with longer life spans will be more expensive up front but save you in the long run. In addition, maintain the connections going into the battery to help it last as long as it’s supposed to and limit your vehicle repair costs.
5. Scheduled Maintenance
The last major category of costs is for general scheduled maintenance. The owner’s manual for your car is the best place to find the information you need to estimate these costs. The manual will let you know when you need to replace spark plugs, belts, and other major components. Plan ahead so you have money to pay for these when it’s time.
If you’re aware of what car maintenance costs are coming up, it’s much easier to plan for them in your budget and have the money to pay for repairs when they’re needed.