Monitoring Auto Maintenance Costs
Monitoring auto maintenance costs is an important task to keep up with as a car owner. There are certain auto maintenance tasks that are just too important to skip over or skimp on, and most car owners realize that. But at the same time, we have to be aware of what we are spending on the things we’re getting done to our cars, and to not let them get too out of control for price.
Cost of Tune Ups
Auto tune ups are very important. These are a prime example of auto maintenance that is essential to the durability of the vehicle, but also an item whose cost can get out of hand. If you do this work on your own, make sure to price out the parts and accessories needed at several different supply stores. And if you pay to get it done, get prices from several shops in the area and also see what their prices include.
Be sure not to fall for a lower price that doesn’t include as much. For instance, one service center might charge less but fail to replace spark plug wires, while another shop with a slightly higher price calls for replacing them in its estimate. Part of the notion of controlling auto maintenance costs is in knowing where your money is going at all times, giving you the opportunity to lower your auto expenses.
Repairing versus Replacing Cars
The price of auto maintenance typically increases as a car gets older. The more time goes by, the more expensive it is probably going to be to keep that old car going. It is true that it’s great not to have a car payment, and it is wonderful to have cheap car insurance on an old vehicle, too. But when the cost of maintenance gets out of hand, those savings every month go out the window because you end up spending so much on fixing the car all the time.
There is a pretty simple formula that doesn’t get very scientific but serves more as a baseline for thoughts of buying a new car versus continuing to pay for repairs to an old one. If the old car has gotten to the point where maintenance costs now resemble or exceed what you would pay for a car payment and insurance on a new car, you are spending money on the wrong vehicle. Strictly from a financial standpoint, it is the wrong move to keep wrenching a car under these circumstances when a new car would actually be cheaper.
New Car Maintenance Expenses
Of course, when you start thinking in that direction, you also have to try to figure in the projected expenses for maintaining any new car you’re considering buying. New cars these days don’t need tune ups as often as they used to, but tune ups are still a normal part of the maintenance routine. Think about the cost of this and other normal maintenance and really try to get a sense of the real cost of ownership if you’re thinking of buying something to save you money in this area.
Auto maintenance costs is an area of financial expense that can get very expensive very quickly for car owners. Controlling those expenses is about the only hope we have of keeping the overall cost of ownership affordable for us. Do what you can to control your costs and make sure not to pay more than you have to for maintenance. Keep your cars well maintained and you’ll get more life out of them, but don’t spend more than is necessary to get it done.