Purchasing a new car is exciting. However, it’s important to be prepared for the costs of owning and maintaining a vehicle. Here’s what you can expect in the first five years of car ownership.
The very first year of owning a car is when you break it in. You should care to drive carefully, avoid braking abruptly and you should take it in for its first maintenance appointment. This should include a fluids check, a tire rotation, and an oil change. This may cost you anywhere from $100 to $500, depending on the make and model of your car.
If you get into a fender-bender or accident, take it directly to a collision/service center.
During the second year of ownership, you should get the air filter replaced, the cabin air filter and you should get a mechanic to check the spark plugs. If you drive a lot, you may need to also check your tires. You will also need to perform routine maintenance once or twice.
You should budget anywhere from $400 to $1000 for the second year.
The third year is when you may need to replace the tires, the battery, or the brakes. While the cost of these repairs varies, you can expect to pay anywhere between $300 and $1,000. You may also run into minor electrical issues. Don’t forget about routine maintenance, as well. Always have a little set aside in an emergency fund for your vehicle.
As always, this year you will need to pay for routine maintenance. And, your warranty may expire this year. Most new cars come with a warranty that lasts for three years or 36,000 miles. This may cover the cost of repairs and maintenance during those years. Some specific parts may have longer warranties. You may want to consider purchasing an extended warranty or other coverage to help cover the cost of any repairs you may have to make down the road.
In the fifth year, you may run into larger maintenance problems, like suspension parts, a transmission fluid flush, or replacing the timing belt. The cost of this depends on the make and model, but you may spend anywhere from $600 to $1,500.
Also, keep an eye out for paint chipping, glass chips, or any rips in the car interior. These things aren’t necessary, but if you are planning on selling your car any time soon, you may want to stay on top of these aesthetic repairs. Check for rust or oxidation, and get any dents or scratches fixed right away.
You will also need to continue with routine maintenance like oil changes and tire rotations, to keep everything in good shape.
Don’t Skimp on the Budget
Owning a new car is exhilarating, but you should be prepared for anything that may come up. Don’t skimp when it comes to setting aside money for repairs and maintenance or you may find yourself in a hard spot should something happen. It’s better to always be prepared.