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Money for car maintenance – Do you reserve it?


Toyota Camry hybrid engine

Imagine that an early morning you walk to your car park and start the car. You try to crank the car several times but it just doesn’t start. You make a call to the nearest mechanic and he comes over for $100 service charge. After half an hour checking, the mechanic tells you that the car must be towed to his workshop for further checking. You were told that he suspect some major parts is giving problems and that may cost at least $5000 to fix it. OMG! what are you going to do? You are forced to take a half-day emergency leave from your job on the day and it is headache to fork out an extra $5000 dollars to fix the car.

In Malaysiaminilover’s car buying guide, we always mentioned that do not purchase a car by looking at the monthly car payment but look at the car price. For example, a $40,000 car could have two payment methods:

  1. Pay $40,000 cash and drive the car away from the showroom.
  2. Go for a car loan and pay roughly $900 per month over four years or 48 months loan term.

Many consumers always look at the $900 per month but not the $40,000 car price. The real value of a car should be judged according to the performance, reliability, and second hand value (in the future). Most consumers always arrange 1/3 of their monthly salary to go for their desired car. However, they may forget about car maintenance which could burn their pocket a big hole after several years.

Take a look at the case above. A person with take home pay of $3,000 per month is paying $900 for the car every month. He or she must at least reserve some money for the maintenance of the car. Please read the basic car maintenance schedule. There are several things we need to do every 10,000 miles. Engine oil, washer drain, and oil filter are the most common things that cost us a little money to maintain a car. When the car grow older, we will have to pay for some other parts such as element filter (air filter), spark plug, coolant, brake fluid, clutch fluid (for manual transmission car), automatic fluid (for automatic transmission car), and others. However, there are some situations where we need to pay extra money if certain parts worn out or spoilt. These thing could cost more than usual maintenance including air-condition compressor, radiator, brake pump, suspension, or even hybrid battery. Therefore, it is a must to reserve an adequate amount of money every month in case something wrong with the car and it is no longer under warranty. What do you think then?


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