Flat tires. Broken windshields. Oil changes. Whether you have a new car or an old car, things come up and these things cost money. So how do you make sure you have enough money set aside for car repairs and regular maintenance? We’re walking you through everything you need to know below.

Create a budget & start saving

Take some time to look back at what you spent on repairs and maintenance last year (save those receipts or look at old bank statements) and create a budget based on that number. So if you spent $1,200 last year, plan to save $100/month this year. Keep in mind this is separate from your car payment or auto insurance! 

If this is your first time owning a car, AAA recommends saving $100 per month for car repairs and maintenance. This doesn’t mean you’ll use that money each month and that’s a good thing. Saving now will help cover anything that comes up in the future. Here are some things you should expect to spend on but be sure to check and follow your car’s maintenance schedule:

Oil Changes: As a general rule, you should have your oil changed every 5,000 to 7,500 miles, depending on the type of oil you use and your driving habits. The cost of an oil change can vary depending on where you go and what type of oil you use. Synthetic oil is more expensive than conventional oil, but it also lasts longer, so you may be able to go longer between oil changes. As a general rule, you should budget between $50 and $100 for an oil change.

Tire rotations: These help to ensure that your tires wear evenly, which can help to extend the life of your tires. You should have your tires rotated every 5,000 to 7,500 miles. The cost of a tire rotation can vary depending on where you go, but you should budget between $20 and $50 for this task. If you go back to the place you purchased your tires, they’ll often

Brake inspections: You should have your brakes inspected at least once a year, and more often if you notice any issues, such as squeaking or grinding noises. The cost of a brake inspection can vary depending on where you go, but you should budget between $50 and $100 for this task.

Fluid Checks: Your car has several different fluids that need to be checked and topped off regularly, including coolant, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and power steering fluid. You should check these fluids at least once a month, and have them topped off as needed. The cost of topping off these fluids can vary depending on the type of fluid and where you go, but you should budget between $20 and $50 for this task.

Air Filter Replacements: Your car’s air filter helps to ensure that your engine gets clean air, which is important for its performance and longevity. You should have your air filter replaced every 15,000 to 30,000 miles, depending on the type of driving you do. The cost of an air filter replacement can vary depending on where you go and what type of filter you use, but you should budget between $20 and $50 for this task.

Do your research

You want a mechanic you can trust. Ask friends for recommendations and read reviews online before you book your first service appointment. If an unexpected maintenance issue comes up, it’s a good idea to get quotes from multiple repair shops.

Look for discounts

Don’t be afraid to ask your mechanic if they offer any discounts for things like paying in cash or being a student. And take a look at your local paper for coupons on everything from oil changes to tires. 

Get cash when you need it

If you find yourself with a car repair emergency and are short on cash, we can help. With Brigit Instant Cash, you can get up to $250* deposited in your account. No interest, no fees, and no credit checks.

*Subject to Brigit’s approval and policies. Not all members are approved for advances and the amount varies per customer. Advances range from $50 – $250. Log into the Brigit app to learn more. No credit checks or interest, ever.