Let's face it: car emergencies are inevitable, so preparing for them is a necessity. A repair emergency fund seems like the right move, but not everyone can afford it. The rule is to set aside 20 percent of your income and have six to 10 months of savings for unexpected expenses.
That is easier said than done, but don't give up yet. There are a few auto repair emergency fund alternatives to keep your vehicle running smoothly.
Make sure you have an extended warranty
You can purchase an extended warranty— either a manufacturer's warranty or an extended warranty. You want to choose one that will cover major repairs or parts replacements on your vehicle.
Coverage can last for several months or years, or until your car reaches a certain mileage, whichever comes first. The warranty price depends on the type of vehicle but averages between $1,200 and $2,000. Many warranty companies allow you to break down the cost into monthly payments.
Just make sure you understand exactly what the warranty covers. Prepare yourself for a possible deductible for certain repairs also.
Add road hazard tire coverage
Tires are a core part of your vehicle that you know will need regular maintenance and repairs. You can get a good 25,000 to 50,000 miles from your tires, according to Kelly Blue Book. That frequency applies to normal road conditions.
But what happens when you need tire repairs or a tire replacement as a result of a nail puncture, for example? In that case, road hazard tire coverage can come in handy. Road hazard policies cover repair or replacement of tires for specific damages.
Plans cover rim damage in certain cases, too. The conditions could include pothole damage, wood punctures, or other objects in the road. Review your policy for more details about what qualifies as a road hazard.
Whether the coverage will pay the entire cost depends on several factors. For instance, the wear and tear on the tire may contribute to the damages and reduce the coverage amount.
Devote a credit card to auto maintenance and repairs
According to Cars.com, AAA estimates $500 to $600 as the average cost of auto repairs each year per vehicle. That is in addition to regular maintenance costs such as new tires, or major repairs such as needing a new alternator. Spending out of pocket for these repairs all at once is a major financial setback.
An emergency credit card just for your vehicle maintenance can take the place of an auto repair emergency fund. Using an auto repair credit card can help you afford expensive but necessary maintenance. It can also keep your finances organized with records in one place.
The best card benefit is the promotional financing on select repair purchases. Having a promotional payment program available during a repair emergency can save you interest and give you peace of mind.
One auto repair emergency fund alternative may work better for you than the others. Evaluate your budget and car expenses over the last few years to decide the best option. In any case, an auto repair credit card offers a lot of payment versatility.