Value of Preventative Maintenance

Value of Preventative Maintenance

Spending more than $400 annually on maintenance and repairs may sound like a lot, but Value of Preventative Maintenance is nothing compared to the added expense of buying a new car, especially if your current car is paid off. In fact, by some estimates, every five years you drive your car after paying it off saves you the monetary equivalent of a new car.

Standard Maintenance

To understand how, let’s compare a new car to a paid-off car with standard maintenance. To make it interesting, let’s stack the deck in the new car’s favor by saying that you drive 24,000 miles (38,624 kilometers) per year, which is double the national average. In five years, that adds up to 120,000 miles (193,121 kilometers) under your wheels, which translates to 35 to 40 oil changes. At $40 apiece, you’re looking at $1,400 to $1,600 — let’s call it $1,500. Figure in another $2,200 for miscellaneous service costs (filters, hoses, tire rotations and so on) and another $1,500 for a few major items like a timing belt replacement, new brakes and shock absorbers. Tally that up and you get $5,200, or around $1,040 per year.

National Maintenance Cost

Now let’s compare that to a new car. According to the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), the average price of a new car sold in the United States in 2009 was $28,966, but we’ll lowball it and say you found a good deal at $24,000 and financed $20,000 at 7 percent interest for 48 months. That comes out to a monthly payment of just under $479, which tallies to $5,747 per year [source: U.S. Federal Trade Commission].

In other words, for the cost of owning a new car for one year, you could own a paid-off car for five years, drive it into the ground, and still have money left over for tolls.

According to Consumer Reports, the average life expectancy of a new vehicle is around eight years or 150,000 miles [source: Weisbaum]. A well-maintained car also means a safer trip for you and your loved ones. And who can put a price Value of Preventative Maintenance?

Auto repair costs

Picture this: You’re buying a new car. You’ve found the model you want with the perfect color combination and it’s in the right price range. You’ve made your down payment, carefully examined your financing options, and evaluated what your budget will be like with a new car payment and perhaps a change in insurance costs, too.

But have you figured in the cost of maintenance for your new car? We all know that it can be expensive to keep a car in proper working order, but we don’t always include that in our financial plans. Consumer Reports estimates that over five years, 4 percent of the total cost of your vehicle will be spent on repairs and maintenance. That doesn’t sound like much. That is, until you have to pay for something big like a blown transmission, for example [source: Consumer Reports].

Value of Vehicle Maintenance

According to one recent study, the average American household spent $5,477 on gas and automotive expenses last year. $2,208 was for gasoline, but the rest — a whopping $3,269 — was for expenses like dealership maintenance, service station fixes and body shop repair. That comes out to $272 a month, which is almost like a second car payment [source: Paskin].

Hopefully you’re not paying $272 each month in maintenance. That figure is an average, which includes cars of all different makes and model years. How much you pay in the long run definitely depends on what you choose to purchase. Buy a brand-new Honda Accord or Chevrolet Impala, and your repair costs will.

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