Replacing that aging piece of metal that you park in your driveway can be a harrowing experience. Just the recovery from sticker shock can be daunting. While you are absorbing all of the options available and deciding on whether to buy used or new, someone mentions car maintenance and upkeep.
A couple of simple rules need to be applied to begin computing the cost of maintaining your next car. Used cars almost always come with some built in problems. For a used car, it is a good idea to set aside about $500 to cover unknown costs.
A new car will usually mean a year of repair-free driving. Maintenance costs require a few calculations. You need to know how many miles that you plan to drive the vehicle during the time that you own it. Regular maintenance items are based on the miles logged on the car. If you expect to drive the car 10,000 per year for 5 years, the regular maintenance cost will be based on 50,000 miles.
Oil changes will cost between $20 and $40 each. Plan on one of these every 5,000 miles. This means about 10 oil changes during the life of your vehicle. So, you will spend somewhere around $300.
Brake replacement will be influenced by how you drive your car. Using the same number of overall miles driven, most drivers will replace front brakes once per year. Rear brakes will need to be changed about every other year or at most 3 times. This makes a total of 8 single-axle brake jobs. The brake shoe replacement with labor will cost about $80 to $100 each time.
At least once during the life of your car, expect to replace your brake rotors and callipers. This is an expensive fix. Plan on this costing about $200 to $300. For your car, you will spend about $1,000 on brakes during the 5 years of ownership.
You may replace all four tires one time during 50,000 miles of driving. The cost will depend on the size of the tires on your automobile. Smaller tires may be as cheap as $50 each with mounting and balancing. Larger tires can cost up to $200 each depending on size and brand. Plan a cost of about $500 for this.
If you pay for every car wash, this cost will run about $150 per year or $600 during the time that you keep the car. Fluids such as brake, washer, and power steering should add on about $50 to $75 during the entire life of your car.
For a new car, items like the water pump, fuel pump, the exhaust system, and other larger cost areas should last throughout the life of the car. On a used car, these costs are mostly included in the $500 needed to fix unknown problems that was mentioned earlier.
For either new or used cars, various filters, light bulbs, and windshield wipers will add up to $100 per year installed. You may need a new battery on your car. This will cost you about $75 or less. The total cost of maintenance for your car will run about $75 per month during the life of a used car. This cost will be about $60 per month for most new cars.