What's the Real Cost of Not Maintaining Your Vehicle?

Auto maintenance is something quite necessary, yet most vehicle owners rarely give it a second thought. Many only do so in hindsight, thinking how much could they have saved if they just took their vehicle in before it completely broke down when they needed it most. In hoping to save a few extra dollars, we skip paying its maintenance costs, not thinking about how much it will cost us in doing so.

To understand how much we have to pay for not maintaining our cars, we must first look at how much car maintenance does cost. Estimates point to somewhere around $550 per year, but this number can fluctuate, depending on the vehicles age, model, driving style, road conditions, and overall usage. In this $550 figure, include everything from oil changes, tires, alignments, brakes, belts, hoses, transmission, and every other type of maintenance work.

Most people are or should be encouraged to set aside this sum for car maintenance every year, yet very few people do. To make matters worse, the American Automobile Association (AAA) says that only one in three people can afford to pay for an unexpected repair. So, what are the costs of these unexpected repairs, mostly brought on by a lack of regular maintenance? 

Tire Rotations

In some cases, annual tire rotation is free, given that your tire provider offers it.  If not, it's usually around $100. Though a rather simple procedure, tire rotations can extend the life of your tires for several years. But if disregarded, many, especially those using their vehicles extensively, may find themselves buying a new set of tires every year. The average price of a set is somewhere around $350. Other signs of uneven tire wear can be attributed to misalignments or faulty components. If you see any of these unusual wear patterns on your tires, have you vehicle checked by a professional!

Oil Changes

An engine oil change costs roughly $45. Regularly changing the oil is vital since, over time, it loses its ability to lubricate the engine. Some may be tempted to skip paying that $45 but in doing so; they set themselves up for serious engine repairs going as high as $1,000 or even $4,000, in some cases. 


Both brake pads and brake shoes wear down in time. Changing them when necessary will cost somewhere around 60 to 150 dollars. If owners allow their brakes to wear down completely, they will do extensive damage to the brake rotors and drums. Changing everything can cost somewhere over $600. 

Timing Belts

timing beltTiming belts are made to last somewhere around 100,000 miles. Replacing one is about $600. However, most of us will reach 100K miles in about seven years, meaning that you should set aside roughly $85 per year for this expense. Some will be tempted to go past the maximum recommended mile limit, but the timing belt will inevitably break at some point - usually when you least expect it. If you're left stranded somewhere, this will cost you $100 for the towing, $600 for the belt, and upwards of $2,700 to any engine damage done to the valves. 

Spark Plugs and PCV Valves

Similar to timing belts, spark plugs last for around 100,000 miles. Nevertheless, they lose their potency over time, firing erratically, weakly, or not at all. Not only does this mean more fuel consumption but also damage to the catalytic converter, which can cost $1,000 to replace. 

The PCV valve, on the other hand, costs roughly $10 and it helps protect your engine. A faulty valve can result in oil leaks, sludge formation, and burnt oil. All of these can result in over $1,500 in engine repairs. 


By setting aside the $550 for their annual maintenance, drivers will extend the life of their vehicles and avoid paying thousands of dollars in extensive repairs. For any maintenance work or repairs, Mike Duman Auto Superstore is at your service. Contact us today!