Car maintenance is a lot like installing updates on your computer: the reward is having it not break down on you later. It’s a proactive move, and with car ownership, proactive is a whole lot cheaper than reactive. You can expect to pay between $948 and $2,523 per year for car maintenance in Texas.
Whether you’re a first-time driver or a seasoned driver heading off on a road trip, you can’t escape maintenance. In some ways, Texas is easier on cars than other states in the country. There are exceptionally smooth highways, very little snow and ice, and just enough rain to wash the dust off. Still, Texas also has its rugged aspects: strong sunlight, dusty breezes, extreme heat and hot road surfaces, and its fair share of stop-and-go traffic.
All of these things put wear and tear on a car. To effectively budget for the year ahead, you’ll want to know how much it costs to perform annual maintenance in Texas. Below, we explain the individual repairs and their costs to give you a better idea of how much you’ll spend:
1. Oil Changes: $175 to $225 per year
According to Kelley Blue Book, the cost of an oil change averages between $35 and $75. Cars need oil changes every 3,000 to 6,000 miles, with regular oil on the lower end and synthetic oil on the higher end of those numbers.
For Texans, who drive close to 16,500 miles per year, that’s three to five oil changes per year or between $175 and $225 annually for oil changes. Remember that although synthetic oil is more expensive, it’s better for your engine and may prolong the life of your vehicle. This also can avoid costly engine repair down the road.
Remember that an oil change is the cheapest maintenance you can do for your vehicle when you take into effect what it’s preventing. Go too long without changing your oil, and small metal shavings will start to build in your piston chambers, gouging the sides and causing irreparable damage. Or worse yet, your engine could run out of oil and fail completely! Not changing your oil regularly is one of the easiest ways to ruin your car.
2. Tire Rotations: $100 to $360 per year
Kelley Blue Book puts the cost of tire rotations between $20 and $120, depending on your vehicle (more tires, for example, on duly trucks, require more labor to rotate). You should perform a tire rotation with every single oil change. With Texans needing three to five oil changes per year on average, this will fall between $100 and $360 per year.
Tire rotations are critical in Texas. Extreme heat makes tires solid and pliable, which despite improving traction, also makes them more vulnerable to wearing down on hot asphalt. And when tires wear down, your car suddenly becomes quite unsafe — you will have much less stopping power, lower traction, greater slide-out risk, and a higher risk of hydroplaning when it’s wet.
3. Change Windshield Wipers: $73 to $146 per year
You should change your wiper blades every six to 12 months, or more often if you notice streaking or uneven wiping. The cost to replace wiper blades is around $73 on average, which means $73 to $146 per year, depending on how often you replace them.
4. Serpentine Belt Adjustment/Replacement: $100 to $292
If your serpentine belt is whining, it may be a sign that it needs tensioning or replacement. Either way, you’ll need to pay a mechanic to take a look. Expect this to cost between $100 and $292, as the mechanic will likely charge you for an hour minimum, even if they’re just performing a simple tensioning job.
Belt replacement can also be a much more expensive job, depending on your vehicle’s make and model. A Ford F-250 might take longer than a compact sedan, for example.
5. Car Wash and Wax: $200 to $600 per year
If you pay someone to detail your car’s interior and wash and wax the exterior, expect to pay between $50 and $150 per session. You should have this service performed every three months to protect your car from wear and tear, as well as to keep the paint from getting damaged by sunlight and debris.
6. Replace Brake Pads: $300 to $900 per year
Brake pads are the one thing stopping you from rear-ending every car that slows down ahead of you. Because they can wear down quickly, you should have them checked regularly and replace them when needed.
According to Kelley Blue Book, brake pad replacement costs between $150 and $300 per axle. The price variation is due to the material of the brake pads — cheaper brake pads are made with organic materials, while metal is used on more expensive pads. This comes to between $300 and $900 per year if you have to replace them.
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