Every couple of months when I fill my car with gas I’m reminded how much money I save by riding my bicycles around town instead of driving my car. While it’s nice to save money on gas, what I appreciate more is not having to take my car in for service so often. Last week my car hit the 5,000 mile mark since its last oil change, so I took it in for service for the first time in years. Two years to be exact.
I hate taking my car in for service because they always recommend fixing something beyond the simple oil change or rotating tires. My 45,000 mile intermediate service only cost $233, but a leaking battery, worn front brakes and a little grease around CV boots brought the estimate up to $843. Ouch.
If I were driving the typical 15,000 miles a year, I’d be doing this intermediate service annually. Just one of the factors that makes car ownership so expensive. According to a calculator from Edmunds owning a Subaru Outback like mine in my area costs $50,000 to operate for five years after adding maintenance, repairs, insurance, financing and gas costs to the cost of the vehicle. That’s $10,000 per year. Double ouch.
Suddenly the $200 I spent last week on a pro tune-up, new brake pads and chain for Zella, my errand bike, seems really cheap. I don’t know her mileage, but I’ve had her almost 20 years and this is her first service beyond her replacing her tires and brake pads at the 10 year mark. Bikes are simpler than cars, that’s for sure.
The good news is that at my current rate of 1200 miles per year (what typical drivers do in a month, incidentally) I won’t hit the 60,000 mile major service for over 10 years. Now that makes me smile.
Do you track how much you spend on your car each year? What do you think costs the most: insurance, gas or maintenance and repairs? (Check out Edmunds calculator for your car to see what they estimate)