Car repairs might seem like something you can’t budget for given their sudden and drastic nature. Yet, you need to save money for them in advance if you don’t want them to eat into your savings and spending money. You’ll never see the future clearly and perfectly, but you can take steps to prepare yourself.

You Can Spreadsheet It

Every vehicle has manufacturer recommendations for maintenance and replacements over time. These schedules rarely cover everything the vehicle will actually need, but it’s a good starting point. Also, have a mechanic or technician do a bumper-to-bumper inspection. Repair shops and garages love coming up with recommended services to make more money, but it’s also a great to-do list to plan around.

5 Things to Remember When Budgeting for Car Repairs

You Can Do Some Things on Your Own

Replacing the heat pump in your engine might not be something you can do on your own, but swapping out the spark plugs might be. Look down your to-do list to see what work you might accomplish as a DIY project, all of which will save on your repairs.

5 Things to Remember When Budgeting for Car Repairs

Shop Around

Having a regular mechanic you trust is vital to your peace of mind and vehicle longevity. However, don’t just go to that one place for everything. Routine tasks, such as wheel alignment, might be something you can look for coupons, deals, or better prices. Keep in mind that they may try to upsell you on other repairs, so stay steady with getting done only what you need.

5 Things to Remember When Budgeting for Car Repairs

Refinance Every Six Months

Car loans typically run for several years. However, you can refinance every six months. If you do it every half-year, then you can spread out your remaining payments over a longer stretch of time and lower your monthly car payments. This can free up more of your monthly income over time for repairs and other things. This may help you to even get better rates, but it could also hurt you by causing you to pay more interest. Take your time with making this decision.

5 Things to Remember When Budgeting for Car Repairs

Things Will Get More Expensive

Keep in mind that repair costs will rise over time. Parts might become harder to find, and your car will need more work and attention the older it gets if you don’t maintain it well throughout the years. Have some idea of where your end line is where the repairs needed aren’t worth the cost and it’s time to walk away.

5 Things to Remember When Budgeting for Car Repairs

Car repairs are inevitable, and some of them will be surprises to you when they happen. However, that doesn’t mean that budgeting for them is impossible. Make a spreadsheet based on manufacturer recommendations, learn what you can do by yourself, shop around for deals, refinance your car loan to save money, and expect costs to rise over time. Doing these five things will help smooth out the expenses that come with keeping your vehicle running well for a long time.

Author bio

Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook: @RachelleWilber