One In Four Americans Unable To Afford Major Car Repair, AAA Says

August 3, 2011

A new survey out from AAA shows that a major car repair of $2,000 is too much for one in four American drivers to pay. Not only that, but one in eight can’t afford even a $1,000 repair bill.

The survey also found that more than half of American drivers are holding onto their older cars because they don’t want to be in debt paying for a new one. And one-quarter of those surveyed also admit to neglecting necessary car repairs and maintenance during the past 12 months because of the current uncertain economic climate.

According to AAA automotive experts, neglecting needed maintenance and repairs can greatly increase the likelihood of a costly repair down the line.

Highlights of the survey include:

-  38 percent of American drivers could pay a $2,000 repair bill with funds in a savings account

-  20 percent would pay for repairs to their vehicle using a credit card

-  11 percent said they’d need to borrow money from family, friends, retirement or home equity to be able to pay for a $2,000 repair

-  46 percent said they’d be able to afford a $1,000 repair bill using savings

- 22 percent said they’d use a credit card to pay for a repair bill costing $1,000

-  14 percent would need to borrow money from family, friends, retirement or home equity to pay the $1,000 repair

What many drivers don’t realize is just how quickly a vehicle repair bill can add up to $1,000 or $2,000. According to the AAA, the cost can escalate easily for older vehicles that haven’t been properly maintained.

While repair costs do vary considerably by vehicle make, model and type of repair, an engine repair can exceed $5,000, while repairing a transmission can run from $2,000 to $4,000. Replacing a set of tires with new ones can set you back from $300 to more than $1,000 and brakes requiring major repair could range from $350 to $1,000.


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