Contra account just for car

I decided to come to my senses and start making regular deposits to a separate account just to be used for unexpected car expenses and repairs,

Not routine, preventative maintenance.

Do you guys think $15 a week or $720 a year is appropriate for an 11 year old car?

I take pretty good care of.


I take pretty good care of it****. Damn, why can’t you edit your O.P. ?

Depends, is it a Corolla or an Audi A8?

You have the right idea, and $15/week seems just right. Now, if only those foolish extended-warranty buyers would do the same thing!

ha ha, I knew those were a scam. I’d love to know what the deductible is on those. Also Murphy’s Law says that things tend to break after the warranty is void. Thanks.

$720 seems a little low. I would allocate over $1000+/year myself.

However doing anything is better than nothing.

No, $720 per year is not enough for an 11 year old car (mid size, non-luxury), unless you drive about 7000 miles per year.

The average US driver spends $1100 to $1300 per year on maintenance and repairs, depending on location. Your car is about 5 years older than the average on the road, so you should budget more.

I would put away $1800 per year or $150 per month for maintenance repairs and tires. That way you may end up with a small surplus.

When I was driving a full size V8 car for work, I averaged between $1100 and $1500 per year when the car had between 70,000 and 100,000 miles on it.

Hope this helps you with your financial planning.

What have been the average unexpected expenses the last three years? If $720 isn’t an average of the three, I’d bump it up.

I’ve only had the car one year.

Total repair expense: $0.00

I’ve had to replace a few bulbs but the cost isn’t significant enough to really count.

The $720 is going to be just for repairs, not regular maintenance like oil changes, brakes, etc.

If $15 a week is the most you can spare, it is a start and much better than nothing. Whether it is enough depends on the car (not nearly enough for a Volvo, or VW for instance), how many miles per year you drive, auto or standard trans., and how well the previous owner(s) maintained the car.

Unless you know the maintenance history of this car, then yes, bump it up to about $1,200 annually, or about $25/week as mentioned above. $720 seems really light.

What model car is it, what engine, and what transmission? If you do some or all of the work yourself, $720 can be enough. It really depends on whether you need it sooner rather than later. But it’s better than no fund if you can afford it.

99 Accord, 4cyl, auto. I am capable of doing very basic work on this car such as replacing the air filter. What keeps me from doing more is a lack of tools.

You’re on the right path. I’d budget a bit more, maybe $1,000 per year, but if that’s too much do what you can.

Keep a close eye on the transmission fluid in your Accord. Change it more frequently than the manufacturer’s schedule suggests, and use ONLY Honda automatic transmission fluid.

And keep your fingers crossed.

I also keep a separate account dedicated to car repairs. A few years ago, I setup several ING Direct savings accounts for these sorts of things. My wife and I have dedicated accounts for vacation, emergency, home repair, and auto and each pay period we have money direct deposited out of checking accounts.

It’s basically out of site, out of mind for us and we just let the money keep accruing. I think there’s a 3 day lag time for withdrawals – The interest rate is only half of what it used to be but it’s still much better than our banks rates.

Thanks all for your replies, I could probably swing $25 a week if necessary, but being a 23 y/o male , I am good at wasting the extra $10 on something like beer : )

So, um, how many here think $10 spent on beer is wasted money??? Heh, heh.

“Beer is proof God loves us” - Benjamin Franklin

The waste is that $10 you spend on that movie. The beer is a necessity.

I think that if you match the money you spend on gas, that would be in the ballpark. It also adjusts for usage of the car.

Of course, drastic changes in fuel costs can make this out-of-date, but around the $3/gal range, seems good to me.

(Wait, didn’t Ollie North get in trouble over a “Contra account” a few decades back?)

My, we are an argumentative bunch aren’t we?

You’re doing the right thing. Since routine and preventative maintenance is not included in this account, I myself think $750 a year is a pretty good amount. But, as someone else said, it depends on the kind of car.

Put aside the $15 a week. It sounds like that’s what your budget can safely afford. If you try to put away more than you can safely afford, you’ll inevitably end up having to use the money for other unexpected expenses and won’t stick with the program.

I applaud what you’re doing.