Sixty-Four Million U.S. Drivers Can't Afford An Unforeseen Car Repair

It seems like skipping small repairs or maintenance when it comes to car ownership is saving money in the short term. In reality, it can get you into a pretty bad situation if and when sometimes goes wrong.

Sixty-four million U.S. drivers—a third of them—cannot afford a surprise car repair bill without going into the red, a new study from AAA found. This is kind of concerning!

From the story:

According to a new AAA survey, 64 million American drivers would not be able to pay for an unexpected vehicle repair without going into debt, indicating that some drivers may underestimate the full cost of owning and operating a vehicle. Because some car repairs are unavoidable, and the average repair bill is between $500 and $600, AAA urges drivers to save at least $50 a month for unforeseen expenses, and identify a trusted repair facility before trouble strikes.


AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair said that the average cost of owning and operating a car is over $8,500 annually.

“To avoid a surprise down the road, drivers should budget for monthly payments, insurance premiums, fuel costs and the inevitable expenses of routine maintenance and repair,” he said.

As we all know, a poorly maintained car is going to be way more expensive to fix when something inevitably goes wrong. Last year, AAA helped out almost 32 million stranded drivers.

Add to the fact that many Americans can’t really afford their car payments, either, and that financial institutions are going to get more and more selective with car loans and you’ve got a pretty vicious cycle on your hands.


That all sums up to expensive loans on top of expensive repairs.

via CarBuzz

Writer at Jalopnik and consumer of many noodles.

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Automobiles cost too much now. They cost too much to maintain. They cost too much to register. They cost too much to insure. And they keep costing more and more. My paychecks can’t keep up with this. I see so many people around here driving expensive-ass cars and huge bro-dozers with tons of expensive modifications, and I want to know what the hell all these people do to afford this stuff.

I have a little Colorado work truck that I bought back in 2008 for less than $18,000. If I had to replace this truck right now, I couldn’t. There is literally nothing on the market that’s comparable, and even the cheapest non-full-size pickup trucks now are literally thousands of dollars more expensive for just the base model. Hell, nobody even makes a real “small” pickup truck now. The Colorado that replaced my model is literally just a couple inches in each direction from being a Silverado. And they’re just as expensive as a Silverado, too.

One of the major reasons why so many people can’t afford unforseen vehicle repairs is because manufacturers keep adding so much extra bullshit to their vehicles without making it optional. All that extra junk just creates a huge increase in points of failure. And it increases weight. And complexity. And cost. It needs to stop.