Friday Financial Tidbit-How to budget for car repairs

Credit: Jason Cox

We know it is coming, but that does not mean we like it, and we do not want to admit it.  But your car will break down and will need maintenance from time to time. Yes, it is a real pain to take your car in and wait or have to drop it off and have someone pick you up, but it is important financially to keep your car in good shape now so you do not have to spend more money later.  Below are some tips on how to budget for car repairs.

Tip #1 Know how old your car is

Obviously, older cars are going to need more repair, so plan accordingly! While currently driving a car with over 100,000 miles on it, I know for a fact that I have spent more money on the car in repairs than 5 years ago when the car had 40,000 miles on it.

Tip #2 Some repairs you know about ahead of time

Depending on what type of tire you get, they will need changed every 25,000 to 50,000 miles. You brakes will last for only so long.  Fluids need changed in your car every 50,000 miles. These are not surprises, these are normal wear and tear on the car, so plan accordingly.  Do not get caught off guard when your tires go bald.

Tip #3 Save for repairs monthly even if you do not have any that month

Most people do not have $500-$1,000 laying around for repairs, so that is why you need to save systematically each month in your budget for these future expenses.  If you save $50 a month for car repair that is $600 a year, which will be more than enough for those $200 new tires and you will have enough left over for the big repairs.

As someone who just paid $500 for some repairs, I know it is not always the easiest thing to do.  But budgeting ahead of time lessens the pain by being prepared with the money in the bank, instead of reacting and wondering how you will pay for major repairs. Yes, there is a point where paying for a car repair every time it breaks down does not make economic sense, but repairing your car over the long haul will be more economic than simply going out and signing up for a new car payment every time your car breaks down.

So what are some tips you have for budgeting for car repairs?

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2 Responses to Friday Financial Tidbit-How to budget for car repairs

  1. Great post here, Jon!

    By no means am I trying to put a plug out there for myself but this ties in pretty well with a post I had written at

    I just think it’s insane that people won’t have an older car like you noted above, because they have to pay $500 for repairs every once in a while.

    Yet, they feel perfectly comfortable paying $500/month for a new car, which still needs repairs at times. Maybe I’m crazy, but I don’t get it? haha

    • Jon White says:

      Eric I totally agree. People use the excuse that they don’t want to pay $500 for car repairs because it is an inconvenience, yet they’ll pay $500 a MONTH for a new car. Seems like to me they are just looking for an excuse to purchase a new car. 🙂

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