Consider Maintenance Costs

When you’re choosing what car to buy, whether new or used, besides whether you can afford the price of the car overall, you really need to think about the other costs. Things like insurance or how much gas a certain car uses seem to be the obvious costs that people think about, but there’s another that it seems like a lot don’t: regular maintenance.

Every car will need repairs at some point, and in general, the higher-end, more luxurious a car is, the more it will cost to get it fixed. But even cars that are reliable still need just regular maintenance, and the cost of that can vary quite a bit as well depending on the vehicle. Oil changes, air filters, wiper blades, those might not vary that much, but a big one I see a lot is tires.

Generally, the bigger the tire, the more expensive it is. For example, the tires for my Civic cost under $100 each, but for my full-size pickup, could easily be $200 each. You also can’t just assume that because you bought the family sedan instead of the big SUV that the tires will be cheaper, because if it’s one of the sportier models with low-profile tires, those will be expensive. I’ve seen this many times on Honda Accords in recent years, where the LX trim level has 16 or 17 inch wheels, while the Sport or Touring models have 19 inch wheels, and those tires can cost over $200, and the number of times customers have declined replacing their bald tires because they can’t afford them is troubling. Before you buy a car, look up how much the tires will cost, and if you can’t easily afford them, consider a different model of car.

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