Maintenance. Repair. Money. Those seem to be dirty words when concerning your daily driver vehicle.

The thing is doing these items will make your daily driver last a lot longer than it takes:

  • To find a new car
  • Talk to the salesman
  • Figure out a payment you can swing financially
  • Take the time off work to go in and test drive the new one
  • Fill out paper work
  • Turn down unnecessary warranties and packages
  • Figure out trade in value on your daily driver and figure out if you can live with the depreciated amount
  • Have them get the car ready
  • Then take your new car out
  • Figure out what each new feature does
  • Get your seat and mirrors just the way you want them
  • Try and stay up on the maintenance on that new car at a dealer which may or may not be in your backyard or right around the corner (so add more driving time to get there)
  • Dealing with them upselling more than what is needed on your brand new car, where you may or may not need to stay with your vehicle in a large waiting room listening to elevator music, (but hey at least they have coffee and Wi-Fi).

And you went through all this because keeping up on maintenance and timely repairs on your 150K mile car was just too much. There are some things you just cannot control but there is a lot of maintenance that you can take care of and it will cost a lot less over the course of the year than the car payment and increased insurance.

  • Getting your vehicle undercarriage washed at least once a month especially in the northeast US where salt and brine are a daily occurrence on our roads, greatly improves your vehicle’s frame integrity greatly. I cannot tell you how many cars in the 10–15-year-old range that still in prime engine and transmission performance but have a frame and body like swiss cheese that we see. Cost per year -120.00
  • Get a suspension/ alignment check once a year or with every set of new tires. Alignments done on a regular basis allow your vehicle to keep tires in optimal wear condition and your ride to be smooth. Nobody likes to have their vehicle feel like you are riding in a theme park ride going down a straight road. Cost per year- 75.00.
  • Make sure that your engine oil is changed on time. If you do it yourself make sure at that time to check your tire air pressure and rotate tires if needed, fluid levels, air filters, wipers, lights, brakes and do a good general check over of your vehicle. I recommend getting a professional tech who has a lift to check over your car at least twice a year, once at state inspection time and then roughly 6 months down the lane if you do your own oil changes. Doing it this way allows for repairs you may not be aware of to be sighted. If you always have a professional do your oil changes for conventional oil change, we keep interval at 3500 miles and full synthetic oil changes at 5000 miles. The costs between doing your own and getting a professional to do it are very similar. Conventional oil changes for a year 200.00 synthetic oil changes for a year 220.00 based off a 20k mile year.
  • Change your air filter every year- keeps debris out of engine passageways and allows for optimal fuel to air ratio. Cost per year 45.00.
  • Change your cabin filter every year keeps allergens and mold away from you while you drive. Cost per year 50.00.

In theory if you keep up on maintenance and any action items that you see on your bills from work you might decline expect to spend roughly 1500.00-2000.00 a year. Some years may be better than others. But if you keep at it, the bills will not build up so much that you feel that the vehicle is nickel and diming you to death. Things do wear out over time it is the nature of the beast. As we say in the garage, keep it up and you might have a brand new 2004 Subaru that just might have 305k miles on it and running strong(yes we have a customer with more than 305K miles on his Subaru outback).