In the fast-paced modern world of 2021, cars have become commonplace luxury items, with many families owning more than one per household in order to meet all of their scheduling needs. At the same time, knowledge of maintenance requirements isn’t as popular as the cars themselves. In fact, many individuals end up going into debt shelling out for unexpected vehicular expenses either due to an accident or to general wear and tear. It is important to know how to prepare for the inevitable: care and repair of what many deem an essential product.
Save That Money!
The average unexpected car fix tends to be between $500 and $600. Many elect to put such a large expense on a credit card because they are unable to afford it out of pocket. Going into debt isn’t the only option when it comes to car repair. There are multiple ways to accomplish an auto nest egg:
- Paycheck Percentage: set aside a percentage from every pay period to put towards car expenses. The percentage can be small and can be adjusted to meet specific needs.
- Monthly Budget: set aside $50 per month to save $600 within a year. Throw some bills in a jar every week, do an odd job, donate some plasma; just stick to a set amount to achieve the end of month goal.
- Taxes to the Rescue: many individuals end up with a chunk of change when tax season rolls around. Rolling part of that chunk into a savings account or CD specifically for auto needs means that money will be on hand in the event of a mishap.
Know Your Vehicle
Different vehicles are going to have different care needs. Knowing what you need ahead of time will grant a clearer savings picture.
- Fluids: Different vehicles require different types of fluids, most notably oi. Oil changes are typically required every 3 to 5 thousand miles and the type of oil is engine-specific. Oil type can be found printed under the front hood somewhere and can also be found in the owner’s manual.
- Tires: Rims and tires are going to vary in size, tread, and function. Whether you are winterizing or replacing a tire that popped on the highway, this information is important to have on hand. It is also good to remember to replace two (front or back) or four tires at once (front and back); uneven tread can compromise tire function and safety and may shorten the lifespan of the tires.
- Parts: Buying a part to bring to a mechanic can lower the overall fix price. Depending on the vehicle, parts may be available at local shops, salvage yards, online, or at dealerships. Foreign or uncommon cars will have more expensive parts and may be dealer-specific, meaning you’ll have to pay dealership shop prices!
Pick the Right Mechanic
Always pick the right (i.e. qualified) person for the job; the right mechanic will get the job done right, but the wrong one may end up causing you more problems in the long run. Taking the time to read some online reviews or ask people you trust for a reliable mechanic may prove fruitful in terms of savings as well.