Creating a Vehicle Maintenance Budget

Vehicles require maintenance and repairs, and most of the time those repairs can sneak up on you. If you are trying to plan out your finances responsibly, a sudden repair bill can put a stop to those efforts. Without a budget for anticipated vehicle maintenance, you might put off needed upkeep, which will just cause more damage and expenses in the long run. It’s smart to start a vehicle maintenance budget that will pay for anticipated expenses and serve as a buffer when there is an unexpected, more expensive repair.

Here are some tips on developing your own vehicle maintenance budget from the experts at Christian Brothers Automotive in Riverview, FL:

Collect all of your car maintenance records for the past year

This can include your checkbook register, maintenance receipts of credit card statements. It all depends on how you pay for things. Maintenance costs include repairs, oil changes, tires and other necessary work, but it does not include car payments or insurance.

Add all maintenance costs together

Get the total amount you spent on maintenance during the last year and divide it by 12 to get your average monthly maintenance expense. If you spent $900 in the past 12 months, you should budget at least $75 a month for car maintenance.

Consider your car’s current condition

If you have an older car, remember that it will probably need significant repairs in the coming year. You should increase your budgeted amount in this case. If you spent a significant amount over the past 12 months and think your expenses will be less in the coming year, you can budget less. Experts recommend setting aside at least $100 per month for car maintenance and adjusting to reflect the actual condition of your car.

Separate car maintenance funds from other money

You use this specified money just for the specified purpose of vehicle maintenance. Normally, you should keep car maintenance funds in a savings account until you need them. Add to this budgeted amount every month so you have the money available when it comes time for maintenance and repairs.