This year has a funny way of throwing a massive curveball, and the pandemic was one of them. Most individual’s financial world was thrown into the air. It left many drivers wondering where their vehicle falls on their list of priorities. The last thing you’d want to be doing is scrounging for cash to pay for scheduled maintenance or a surprise repair. Now would be the best time to construct a vehicle maintenance budget to increase the life cycle of your vehicle and prepare for any unexpected repairs.
Without a car budget, it’s easy to forget to factor in your vehicle’s maintenance needs. This could lead to more significant mechanical issues and costlier repairs. Most major repairs can be avoided with preventative care and upkeep. If vehicle maintenance isn’t currently in the budget, keeping a standard maintenance timetable will help you budget for pending services in the future. Below are standard recommendations on service times. Review your vehicle owner manual for specifics related to your vehicle make and model.
- Oil Change - For most modern lubricants, you should have it changed every 5,000-7,000 miles.
- Brakes – 30,000–70,000 miles
- Battery – 3–5 years
- Cabin & Engine Air Filter: 15,000–20,000 miles or roughly once a year.
- Multi-Point Inspection – Every Visit
- Tires: 50,000–75,000 miles - This depends on how often you use your vehicle and the current state of your tires.
- Tire Rotation – 5,000–7,000 miles
- Wiper Blades – 6–12 months Depends on usage; rainy climates may need a shorter frequency.
How much you budget for your vehicle depends on a variety of factors:
- The make and model of your vehicle can give you an indication of maintenance costs. Drivers who own luxury vehicles will spend more on maintenance costs and may need to budget a bit more.
- How old is your vehicle? Owners of a newer car may not experience very many mechanical issues, and maintenance services could be covered under warranty. While older cars may have more wear and tear, thus it may cost more to maintain.
- What’s the condition of your vehicle? How well has your car been taken care of in the past will indicate whether you should budget more than usual.
- What are your driving habits? Does the pandemic have you currently working from home, or are you commuting long distances? How many miles do you put on your vehicle each year and how aggressively you drive may indicate a larger budget for potential wear and tear.
Before you start setting cash aside, take a moment to think. Analyze your current financial situation and how COVID-19 has impacted you. Review your previous vehicle maintenance receipts and records to see what’s all been done and how much you usually pay. Lastly, try to plan in advance for the worse. Keep your vehicle’s maintenance budget separate from your other expenses and save when you can.