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$5000.00 a year to drive my car!?

I’ve got a 2004 VW Jetta TDI (diesel) wagon with 160K bought 4 years ago with 60K. BTW 33MPG.



I went over all my receipts and found that I’ve spent on average $153.00/ month for repairs, scheduled maintenance, tires, brakes, etc.



That seems like a lot to me. I know, I know, it’s still cheaper then buying a new car. Between the $153.00, fuel, $170.00, and insurance, $100.00 I’m spending about $423.00/month about $5000.00 per year to drive.



This doesn’t seem right. Am I nuts? am I doing something wrong here?



Should I buy a horse?



Thanks for your thoughts. Rob H.

You are using your car alot and for some reason you pay through the nose for insurance and you probably pay top dollar at the first hint of need for items like brakes,tires,and it is a German car.

Rob, I used your numbers and you drive 25K miles a year. Your $5,076 annual costs divided by 25K miles comes out to $.20 a mile. That is well under the IRS allowed costs per mile of $.45 (this is close, but I’m not a CPA so the actual IRS number could be different).

Running a car is expensive. If you drove a car that got about 20 mpg (close to the American fleet average mpg) your fuel costs would likely double to something more like $300 a month.

It seems like you are doing OK. It does cost a lot to own and drive a car. Remember that when you have a teenager dying to buy their first car.

Perhaps my insurance could be lower but I carry collision and live near Philly. I take my car to a local shop that obviously doesn’t spend money on fancy waiting rooms and espresso but I think they are honest and they do good work (see photo). I do not have work done at the first hint; I do it usually to pass inspection or because the car is not running well. I do tend to drive the car harder then I should.

Thanks for putting it in that perspective.

I’ll hold onto my Jetta until someone comes out with a small 4 door PU that gets 30+MPG perhaps in a diesel. I had hopes for Mahindra (in theory) but they can’t get it together. So looks like I’ll be driving the wagon for another 100.

33mpg for a TDI Jetta is terrible. My gas powered '97 Escort gets that.

Perhaps you could lay down a few details on what you’ve spent all of the repairs/maintenance money on. Then people might be able to say how much of it boils down to the Volkswagen effect.

Shop around for cheaper insurance. Raise deductibles. Consider dropping collision, what’s your car really worth? If somebody else hits you and they’re at fault, depending on the laws in your state, get their insurance company to pay for fixing or replacing your car.

Agree with prior posts. Driving anything German is more expensive than Japanese or US vehicles.

The average US driver spenbds about $1200 per year on maintenance, repairs and tires. That’s $100 per month. So you are 53% higher than average while driving a very average car.

Shopping around for insurance makes sense. There is a website where someone will find the lowest rate and then you can compare it with whah you are now paying.

We pay $115 per month for insurance for TWO cars, and it would be about $70 per month for the car we drive most, a 2007 Corolla.

Yearly average costs (last 5 years) for the 1994 Nissan Sentra are $735 for maintenance, repairs and tires, and only $276 per year for the 2007 Corolla since we bought it.

The Nissan has 130,000 miles on it.

If the 33 MPG is combined then I would say that you’re doing pretty well.
Those expenses you mention are the normal cost of driving and you will have this with any vehicle no matter the make. Scheduled maintenance, tires, brakes, are simply ho-hum wear and tear items.

Since the car is 7 years old with 160k miles you might consider changing the insurance coverage to liability only with a high deductible. This should shave some of that expense down and the only worry would be that you’re sans car if you have a wreck that is your fault.

The current policy is better than flushing money down the interest toilet on new car payments.

$5000 a year could be a new car payment, but then you’d still have the maintenance to deal with on top of the car payment.

You actually are sticking with one of the worst older cars to own.
Granted you are getting good gas mileage. But there is nothing like a VW to cost money in a shop, unless of course it is a Mercedes or worse, a Jaguar. By way of example, a VW requires a timing belt change - a major expense - every 60,000 miles. You don’t dare cheat this, as you will experience a complete valve-train failure if the belt fails while you are driving the car. The repair will cost you thousands of dollars. But the routine maintenance to replace the timing belt every 60,000 miles will cost at least a thousand dollars while you are still paying for the car each month.
What you need to do is just buy a much more reliable older car.
Buy a Toyota.

Try 90,000 miles for the timing belt change on a TDI. That $1000 figure also includes replacement of the water pump and belt tensioner (a good thing to do since you have to do the same work to replace a water pump, might as well get it done at the same time). The dealer charged $900 to replace the timing belt and water pump on our TDI.

$153/month seems high for maintenance and repairs. But, you also picked up this vehicle just when some of the expensive maintenance was starting (you said you purchased with 60K on the odometer). This engine has a 10,000 mile interval between oil changes, and the engine is rock solid.

Was there a big-ticket repair in that calculation? Or, are there lots of constant smaller repairs. You will have the same costs for tires and brakes for just about any car. Fuel costs will vary (most likely increase). Your insurance will most likely stay high given where you live.

Many engines use timing belts. Not just VW engines. And they all have scheduled replacement of the timing belt. But kizwiki is correct as Toyota does use timing chains now on almost all engines.

But, if I had a choice between a TDI Jetta and something like an older Toyota Corolla, I’d stick with the TDI. It’s more fun to drive.