Unless you’re rich Uncle Pennybags, spending $600 on car repairs is a tough pill to swallow.
Unfortunately, that’s the going rate for the average car repair bill today, according to new AAA research. What’s more, an estimated 30 percent of Americans are unable to pay the average car repair bill without going into debt, the survey found.
Here are a few ways to make paying for unexpected car repairs a little easier, courtesy of AAA experts.
Your driving costs include a lot more than your monthly car payment. They include money spent on fuel, registration fees, insurance premiums and, yes, upkeep. It costs on average $8,500 to own and operate a vehicle in the U.S., according to the AAA 2016 Your Driving Costs study. Consider the total cost of vehicle ownership when shopping for a new vehicle.
Even well-maintained cars break down. Just ask the 32 million motorists AAA provided roadside assistance to in 2016. It helps to anticipate an unanticipated mechanical or electrical failure. AAA recommends drivers put aside at least $50 a month to help cover future car troubles. “If anything, that rainy day fund will take the sting out of an unexpected repair bill,” said John Paul, AAA’s Car Doctor.
Sometimes little problems become big ones. After a while, squeaky brakes can become grinding brakes and a frayed timing belt can snap. Problems like these often result in drivers broken down on the side of the road. “Little problems aren’t going to fix themselves,” Paul said. “The key is to find a high-quality repair shop that will examine the entire car a couple of times per year during a routine service like an oil change.” Of course, drivers who want their vehicle to last should follow the service schedule in the owners manual, Paul added.
To find a trusted repair facility near you, go to AAA.com/AAR.