A recent survey by the auto club group AAA found that one in three U.S. drivers can't pay for unexpected car repair bills.
According to the survey, 64 million American drivers wouldn't be able to pay for repairs without going into debt.
For most motorists, the average repair cost is between $500 and $600.
That's why they're telling drivers to save at least $50 a month for unexpected costs.
Tips from AAA:
- Batteries: Automotive batteries typically last between three and five years, with reduced battery life in hotter climates. To avoid an unexpected battery failure, AAA recommends that drivers have their vehicle’s battery tested when it reaches three years of age and on an annual basis thereafter. According to a recent survey, two thirds of Americans have never had their car battery tested prior to their vehicle failing to start.
- Tires: Keeping tires properly inflated and routinely checking tread depth is critical to safety, yet AAA found that 60 percent of Americans do not check tire pressures regularly. Tire pressures, including the spare tire, should be checked at least once a month, and when tread depth reaches 4/32” AAA recommends replacing tires. Additionally, while locking lug nuts are helpful in preventing tire theft, missing keys prevented roadside assistance technicians from changing 21,000 tires in 2014. AAA recommends storing the locking lug nut key with the spare tire or in the glove box.
- Check the level and condition of the engine oil. If driving under extreme conditions - such as very hot summer weather or pulling a heavy trailer- you may want to consider switching to oil with higher viscosity. Check your owner’s manual for specific recommendations.
- Look for worn, cracked, blistered or soft belts or hoses. Always perform this check with the engine off.---
Local repair shop owner Ryan Cherry, said paying for routine maintenance will save you money in the long run.
Cherry owns King Industrial Repair Shop off Dr. M.L.K Jr. Boulevard in Tampa and said some shops may try and find discounted parts or find discounts.
AAA has a site to search for reliable repair shops near you. Click here for their AAA Approved Auto Repair section.