The cost to keep your car running has exploded.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), maintenance costs to keep a vehicle running up to 80% of its operating life cost more than $400 a year for the average homeowner.
But what is that maintenance that needs to be done?
The answer is pretty much anything you want to call “car maintenance.”
It’s not uncommon for a new car to require maintenance like a tire change, oil change, or brake pads replacement, according to the IIHS.
That means the cost of those expenses has skyrocketed as the car has aged.
It is estimated that the average cost of a new vehicle is $16,000 to $21,000.
So how much money should you spend on car maintenance?
Let’s start with the basics.
How Much Is a Car Maintenance?
Car maintenance is generally comprised of two parts: maintenance costs and operating costs.
The IIHS defines maintenance costs as the actual expenses a vehicle owner has to pay to keep their vehicle running at full capacity for the entire life of the vehicle.
What that means is that if your car has been running at 70% of capacity for 60 days, you’ll have to pay $16k to keep it running at that rate for the next 60 days.
For an average $20,000 vehicle, that means the maintenance costs will be about $17,000 per year.
But the cost to maintain a car is only half of the picture.
Operating costs include the costs of servicing the vehicle, maintenance, and other costs.
Operating costs are not included in maintenance costs.
Maintenance costs do not include operating costs such as fuel and insurance, which can add up to thousands of dollars per vehicle.
To put it in perspective, let’s say your maintenance costs are $7,000 a year.
That equates to $17.75 per month.
For your average $30,000 car, operating costs would cost you $1,250.
So What’s the Bottom Line?
The cost of operating a vehicle can be as high as $150,000 or as low as $12,000 depending on the age and condition of the car.
The average cost for the life of an average used car is about $2,500 to $3,500.
So what can you do to save money on car repairs?
If you want more detail on the exact cost of your maintenance, read the full report by the IIHHS here.