How Much Does Car Maintenance Really Cost?

How Much Does Car Maintenance Really Cost?

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For your vehicle to run safely, efficiently, and reliably, it needs routine maintenance.

Regular oil changes ensure proper lubrication for critical engine parts, enhancing performance, fuel economy, and lifespan.

Rotating and replacing tires as needed keeps your car securely fixed to the pavement and increases safety, especially when driving in rough weather.

And brake pad and rotor service ensures you have the stopping power you need to safely navigate all types of roads.

But what's the average yearly cost of regular maintenance? 

Let's look at average maintenance costs for vehicles and how much you can expect to spend.

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The importance of auto maintenance

Just like your body needs water, food, regular exercise, and rest to function its best, your car needs the proper fluids and maintenance.

Manufacturers specify unique maintenance schedules for replacing wear and tear items on your vehicle, like the engine oil, air filters, spark plugs, and more. Following the guidelines in your owner's manual will help keep your car in excellent running condition.

Motor oil lubricates your engine’s many components, keeping them moving smoothly during high temperatures and demanding driving conditions. Automaker recommendations for oil changes cover a wide range (usually 5,000-10,000 miles). Oil degrades over time, so periodic oil changes will help ensure your engine runs steadily. 

Your tires are what make contact with the road, which is why it's crucial for them to always be in good shape. Not only do tires provide traction through varying weather conditions, but they also absorb bumps and, when properly inflated, increase fuel economy. Rotating tires on a routine basis and inflating them to their recommended air pressure helps them work as designed and decreases wear. When tires finally reach the wear bars, installing a new set will renew your car's traction and safety.

There are, of course, other parts that will wear out and need replacing over time. Keep an eye on your car’s brake pads and rotors, various belts, air filters, and wiper blades. 

Multipoint inspections identify any possible problem areas on your car so that you can fix or replace specific components. Typical components looked over include the brake pads, hoses, belts, windshield wipers, air filters, and more. You can take your car to a repair shop or, if you feel up to the task, perform a DIY multipoint inspection yourself.

Buying a used car can save you thousands, but finding a pre-owned vehicle in excellent condition with a good maintenance history can be a hassle. At Shift, we make finding your next car easy. Shift's certified mechanics perform extensive 150-point inspections on every car and have complete vehicle history reports, so you know your used car feels as good as new. Shift's website has a large selection of fully inspected vehicles located across the country that are ready to go. The website is user-friendly, and you'll be able to find various makes and models to suit your needs and budget. If you need to finance, we have that covered too.

Shift works with a network of trusted lenders who compete for your business, so you get the best deal on financing. Applying for financing with Shift is quick and easy, with no cost or obligation. Many applicants receive an offer within minutes instead of days. Financing with Shift is so convenient that nine out of 10 customers choose us when they need a loan. If you have low credit, don't worry because we welcome co-signers.

Average maintenance costs

Car maintenance costs depend on a vehicle's make and model and where you take it for auto repair.

Oil changes run from $20-$100, with luxury and performance cars requiring synthetic oil on the higher end of the scale. 

Tire rotations are relatively simple, averaging $20-$50. 

The cost of a multipoint inspection varies according to many factors, like the type of car, the repair facility you visit, and how detailed of an assessment you want. 

Besides these routine tasks, you also need to replace certain parts from time to time.

When it's time for new tires, the average cost per tire ranges from $50-$300 per tire. Specialty tires, like those for trucks, SUVs, and high-performance models, usually cost more. 

Replacing a vehicle's air filter is an economical way to maintain performance and keep your engine healthy. Generally, automakers recommend air filter replacement every 20,000-60,000 miles, usually costing $20-$75. 

Wiper blades keep your windshield clear in all sorts of weather, helping you see the road and drive safely. It makes sense to change them every 6-12 months at the cost of $7-$15. 

Every time your vehicle stops, the brake pads wear down slightly. Replacing them as needed ensures safety on the road. Typical intervals for brake pad replacement are around 30,000-50,000 miles, at the price of $100-$350. 

Cost of car maintenance by brand

Because vehicles differ in design and materials, they have distinct maintenance needs and average maintenance costs. 

It’s important to remember the cost of a vehicle’s maintenance can vary substantially depending on the make and model. According to YourMechanic.com, these are the average maintenance costs for specific brands over a 10-year period:

The average cost of car ownership

Besides the manufacturer, different categories of cars have varying yearly expenses.

AAA's 2019 study entitled "Your Driving Costs" looked at nine types of vehicles and calculated their yearly ownership price based on several factors, like fuel expenses, insurance costs, maintenance, fees, car payments, tires, and depreciation. 

Based on the study, this is the yearly cost to own these nine types of cars while driving 15,000 miles per year with full coverage car insurance:

  • Small sedan - $7,114
  • Hybrid - $7,736
  • Electric - $8,320
  • Small SUV - $8,394
  • Medium sedan - $8,634
  • Minivan - $10,036
  • Medium SUV - $10,625
  • Large sedan - $10,403
  • Pickup - $10,839

When it's time for a new-to-you vehicle, you'll probably want to sell or trade in your old one. Making sure you get the most for the time and money you put into your car can be a hassle. How can you be sure you receive good value? When selling your car to Shift, there's no need to worry about any of that. All you'll have to do is enter the make, model, year, and mileage on Shift's easy-to-use website, and you'll instantly receive a purchase offer that's valid for seven days.

With our fair, no-haggle prices Shift's no-pressure sales environment takes the stress out of car buying. Whether you want a Nissan, Audi, or Toyota, Shift has what you need. You can get a fair offer, better than at the dealership, driven by powerful machine learning algorithms and tons of data. With Shift, there is no need to spend the extra time waxing and washing the car. A little dirt won't affect the quote, as we fully detail the cars ourselves anyway before listing them for sale. 

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Author
Shift Editorial Team