CHARLOTTE – So, you’ve got an older car that you like and you want to keep. Good choice! Keeping your current car saves you money, lowers your carbon footprint, and perhaps most importantly, keeps you comfortable in a car you know. Let’s dive into some basics on keeping an older car.
First and foremost, do the math. You need to know what you’re averaging yearly on repairs, both in time and in money. Did you spend on average under $560 a month? That’s about what the average car payment was last year. Next, time. On average were repairs taking one day? Did you have multiple trips that took multiple days? Don’t forget to factor in the time value of money, for some people, spending less than a car payment on repairs is irrelevant if your car leaves you stranded for days at a time every time it needs a fix.
Next, have an emergency account just for car repairs. Now that you know how much you’re spending, you can budget. Car repairs can be expensive! The average car repair falls between about $300-$400. The general rule of thumb is that Japanese and Korean cars usually cost the least to repair over their lifetimes, followed by American cars, followed by European ones. AAA recommends setting aside $50 a month into an emergency account for car repairs. For older cars, having about $2,000 set aside for emergencies is a safe, high-end number that should cover even the biggest repairs.
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