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Maintenance Spending

March 20th, 2013 at 02:28 am

We are spending this week. And spending big. We are having routine maintenance done on our Honda vehicles. The van went in today for alignment, oil change, tire rotations, a couple of fluid changes, including the transmission fluid. The charge today was about $389.

It was suggested we do the timing belt for $775 since the vehicle is six years old. However, it is also recommended at 90,000 miles and the van only has 61K. I think we can wait a bit longer to hit that one. Maybe next year or late this year.

The truck goes in tomorrow. The charge is expected to be about $300. Seems like a lot of money, but we never have any problems with our vehicles...just the routine stuff that has to be done on any car.

Our new and current dealership seems to be really clear on what needs to be done when, and doesn't ask us to do extras. Love that!!

We don't specifically save for maintenance, but in recent years seem to have the money in our slush fund. If you don't spend it, it is easy to save it! This time we will put the charges on our Chase Freedom card, earn the rewards and then pay it off right away.

Do you keep up with your vehicle maintenance? What kind of plan do you have to save for these types of expenses?

8 Responses to “Maintenance Spending”

  1. rob62521 Says:

    We don't "save" particularly for maintenance, but we have the extra money saved if we need it, at least so far. It is good to keep the vehicle maintainted.

  2. Wino Says:

    I do my vehicle maintenance with a vengeance. I go beyond what is required. For example, I add fuel additive to the gas tank for injector cleaning every time I get my oil changed. I do the oil additive every three to four oil changes (around 10K miles; 16K Km). My Jeep had 231K miles on it when I gave it to my brother-in-law, who has put at least another 45K on it. I think most cars will give you a minimum of 200K, and if you really take care of them, you can get close to 300K without major issues.

    For perspective, if you drive the car a lot, you can get 15 to 20 years out of a new car. Assuming $300 payments, you're saving $67K to $90K in payments you are NOT making during that time.

  3. Jazzmint98 Says:

    I have a 2005 Honda Civic, and I am faithful about getting oil changes and tire rotations on it. I also had the timing belt changed at the recommended mileage; however, I don't think I would personally spend around $500 again to get that done as maintenance (especially on a Honda or Toyota). I have talked to many people who have never had to replace their timing belt for the life of their Honda. These are the same people who drove the Hondas for over 15 yrs and lasted them well beyond 250K miles.

  4. creditcardfree Says:

    @Jazz, thanks for your opinion on the timing belt. I think I will look into that a bit further. I would prefer to skip that one if possible just because of the price.

  5. snafu Says:

    Each time we get a vehicle I write a list of mileage maintenance recommended in the manual and download it on the computer's calendar. I've also checked the make & model on the 'Lemon Aid' and noted the likely trouble points. When I checked at the two closest dealerships, I discovered that young, high school teens would be doing the actual oil changes under supervision of a journeyman mechanic. It 's part of a successful apprenticeship program between High Schools & dealerships. Since there is such a major price differential between the dealership and the sale price or coupon price at Quick - Change type outlets I rotate to these.

    We were able to find an excellent, self employed, journeyman mechanic who checks our vehicles at the start of season change overs. She does any needed repairs for about half the 'book' rate and uses the best parts available. I particularly like her view 'if it's not broke - don't fix it.' Fluids are checked and replaced if dirty or require top-up.

    We drove our Accord to 202 km before the timing belt went. She had explained that it had reached it's lifespan and what would happen when it gave-out. We were not to attempt to drive it, just tow to her shop. If you drive a car when the timing belt has gone you can damage lots of other things.

  6. Wino Says:

    I suggest you get the timing belt replaced. I threw a timing belt about 25 years ago, and blew the entire engine. It cost me about $2500 (1980's dollars) to get it fixed. It never ran right, and less than 2 years later, the car literally blew the engine on the interstate and left an oil slick about 1/4 mile long.

    Either do the maintenance or sell the car. I bought my Jeep (mentioned earlier) because it didn't have a timing belt. It is gear-driven.

  7. Wino Says:

    My suggestion should have been: "I suggest you get the timing belt replaced according to the warranty."

  8. MonkeyMama Says:

    On some vehicles, a belt failure is catastrophic. BUT, it is not catastrophic on all vehicles. IT if was recommended for that reason I'd change it. If not, and there were no signs of wear, I would not bother. The problem with dealerships is their recommendations generally have nothing to do with the car itself - is just a schedule they set up to maximize profits and a schedule they can use across a wide variety of their models. So, I personally would notdo any maintenance recommended by a dealership (or car manual).

    We rely on our trusted mechanic to inform us if it is wise to change a belt ahead of time, to be on the safe side.

    All of the above to say, our approach to car maintenance is pretty hands off. We are sticklers on keeping the oil changes, the tires and fluid levels checked. Other than that, our attitude is to not fix it if it is not broken. We have kept several cars in our families for 20 years. So, it definitely works. & I am talking cars built in the 80s and 90s - they probably easily last longer these days. The key in this equation is having a top notch mechanic who does not recommend work that doesn't need to be done.

    We try to save around $1500/year for car maintenance. IS probably a kind of worse-case scenario. Our average spending the past 4 years was about 50% of that (for two vehicles). But our cars are getting old enough that I don't think a larger repair here and there would be surprising, so we leave breathing room in our budget for the "very foreseeable."

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