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Rates & Commissions

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Driving Cost

The average cost of owning and operating a vehicle, AAA said, is about $8,500 and includes monthly payments, insurance and gas. But the cost, for example, of a new timing belt on average is between $400 and $900, an alternator or starter replacement is $400 to $600, and brakes are around $500.

Here’s what AAA recommends to keep your car — and your bank account — in good health:

  • Set aside $50 a month for emergency auto repairs.
  • Follow the automaker’s recommended maintenance schedule, which can be found in your owner’s manual or often online.
  • Get cozy with a mechanic you trust before you find yourself in need of one.
  • Get a written estimate for unanticipated repairs and confirm which repairs need to be done with the mechanic.
  • Get a second opinion if you can.
  • Take advantage of shop discounts or payment plans that help reduce out-of-pocket expenses, and see if there’s room to negotiate those costs.