How Much Money Would You Spend To Keep Your Car On the Road?

Illustration for article titled How Much Money Would You Spend To Keep Your Car On the Road?

Whenever I introduce the idea of buying a depreciated car over a new one, I get a perfectly timed, not-at-all novel response of “It’ll cost an arm and several legs to keep on the road!” That got me thinking - what’s a reasonable threshold to maintain a car on a road for a year?

Personally, I’m one of the cheapest people on the planet, so I’d scoff at anything that cost me more than a few grand a year to maintain, unless it’s an extreme rarity or a supercar, but I understand that my situation might not be the typical one. Let’s get a car enthusiast consensus, how much is too much to keep your car running for a year?

(Photo by Alan Bruce on Flickr)


Tavarish is the founder of APiDA Online and writes and makes videosaboutbuying and selling cool cars on the internet. He owns the world’s cheapestMercedes S-Class, a graffiti-bombed Lexus, and he’s the only Jalopnik author that has never driven a Miata. He also has a real name that he didn’t feel was journalist-y enough so he used a pen name and this was the best he could do.

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DISCUSSION

urambotauro
Urambo Tauro

My car is 20 years old. I expect to encounter (on average) two repairs per year.

For example, it may need a battery and a water pump one year, then a heater core and a brake job the following year. If I get through one year where it needs nothing but a new thermostat, well that’s a great relief as far as my wallet’s concerned, but I’m going to prepare for the next year, which could be a doozy between a starter, tires, a tune-up, and a leaking power steering hose.

You just never know what’s going to be next. Since I do as much of my own wrenching as possible, I loosely budget about $1000 annually, which goes towards parts/materials/tools, and occasional shop labor for special jobs like alignments, etc.