You probably don’t think about the maintenance cost of your vehicle, but these expenses can add up over time and put a dent in your bank account. With rising gas prices, you have to be smart about your vehicle’s maintenance and repairs to save money. If you want to learn some useful tips to cut down on your annual maintenance costs, make sure to read this article from start to finish.
How Much Does Car Maintenance Cost?
Car maintenance costs can take up a large portion of your monthly budget. According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), the annual maintenance and repair cost of vehicles has gone up by 4% in 2020. That’s an average of $0.09 per mile. If you drive 1,200 miles in a month, for example, expect to pay $1,080 on routine maintenance and repairs. Factoring in depreciation rates, insurance, license, registration, and taxes, the overall average cost to own and operate a new vehicle in 2020 has ballooned to $9,561. Some vehicles are more expensive to maintain than others. Here’s a breakdown of the average driving cost per vehicle.
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Smaller vehicles have lower overall driving costs than larger vehicles. This is the reason why budget-conscious drivers will choose sedans over pickups. It’s important to know how much your vehicle’s maintenance will cost so that you can plan your budget.
What Are Commonly Replaced Parts During Maintenance?
The windshield wipers, battery, brake pads, and tires are the most commonly replaced parts in your vehicle. You’ll need to inspect these components regularly to make sure that they’re in good working condition. Vehicles with faulty or damaged parts will usually display symptoms. If you notice any problems with your vehicle, don’t hesitate to get it serviced.
Driving in the rain can be dangerous without functioning windshield wipers. You should replace your windshield wipers when they begin to squeak, chatter, or skip. Other indications that your windshield wiper blades have failed include a broken frame, corroded joints and claws, and a cracked or stiff rubber edge. When the blades no longer make contact with the windshield surface, they can scratch the glass and leave streaks that reduce driving visibility.
In general, windshield wipers should be replaced every 6 to 12 months or as soon as you notice problems. Aftermarket windshield wipers can cost anywhere between $40 and $100.
A weak battery can cause all kinds of engine problems and even leave you stranded. That’s why you should replace your battery every three to six months. Batteries can deteriorate over time, just like any other component in your vehicle. However, some outside factors can shorten your battery’s lifespan. If you leave your vehicle parked for an extended period of time, it will cause the battery to self-discharge. Persistent or overcharging can also speed up the battery’s deterioration. Some symptoms of a bad or faulty battery aren’t readily noticeable, so you should ideally inspect your battery at every oil change to make sure the cable connections are clean and tight and the unit is secured.
Aftermarket car batteries can range from $70 to $500 depending on the brand and series. Make sure to consult your owner’s manual to figure out the right battery replacement before you have any work done on your vehicle.
You should replace your brake pads every 20,000 and 65,000 miles to keep wear to a minimum. However, the timeline for brake pad replacement can be shorter depending on your personal driving habits. City drivers usually have to replace their brake pads earlier than rural drivers because they have to use their brakes more often when navigating traffic. A bad brake pad can produce a screeching sound when you brake. It can also trigger a malfunction indicator light in newer vehicles.
Aftermarket brake pads can cost anywhere between $1 to $940 depending on the brand, pad material, and recommended use. They’re available in sets of two and four.
Your vehicle’s tires should be rotated every 5,000 to 8,000 miles to prevent tread wear. A high tread depth can increase your vehicle’s stopping distance in wet highway conditions, making your drive unsafe. Tire rotation can cost around $35 to $45 depending on your location.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends replacing your tires every six years regardless of your driving habits to maintain your vehicle’s reliability. Aftermarket tires can cost about $140 depending on the brand and part inclusions.
When Do You Need to Service Your Car?
Experts recommend getting your vehicle serviced every 12,000 miles, but the mileage might vary depending on your vehicle’s make and model. Check your owner’s manual to find the recommended maintenance schedule for your specific vehicle. Low mileage vehicles only need minor maintenance to function properly. However, as your vehicle racks up more miles, you can expect more visits to the mechanic.
Where Can You Get Your Car Serviced?
You can take your vehicle to a dealership for scheduled maintenance. However, if you want to save money on maintenance and repairs, you should get your vehicle serviced at an independent auto repair shop instead. Just make sure that you’re ready with a printed copy of your owner’s manual in case the service advisor tries to upsell. They might suggest additional repairs or replacements that your vehicle doesn’t need.
If you’re having trouble searching for a reliable auto repair shop in your area, you can try CarParts.com’s expert installation service. We’ll make it easy for you to buy parts and schedule maintenance for your vehicle at trusted and certified auto repair shops. Upfront pricing means you don’t have to negotiate labor rates, which saves you time and hassle.
Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.