Re-think your monthly car budget

A monthly car budget that won’t let you down
If you’re guilty of setting aside just enough for your car debit order and petrol every month, you’re not alone. Most people keep car payments to a minimum. As long as it gets you from point A to B it’s fine, right? Maybe not. There are additional considerations for your monthly car budget that can prevent a last-minute cash panic when something needs to be fixed or replaced.

Roadside assist
It’s one thing to be stuck on the side of the road with the sound of your meeting or social gathering whooshing by. It’s quite another to come to a grinding halt in a dangerous area or on the highway with cars approaching at speed. Working a roadside assist payment into your monthly budget provides invaluable resources and peace of mind in an emergency. Many insurance providers offer roadside assist – find one who does and opt for the extra. Alternatively, an AA membership gives you quick support when you need it most for as little as R85 per month for the Essential Option.

The expense of tyres doesn’t seem like a month-to-month priority until it poses a financial inconvenience when you have to replace them. Why not set up a monthly debit order and start a small savings bundle for tyres? The amount can be adjusted according to the price of your car’s tyres. By the time you have to replace your tyres, you’ve got the money saved up without having to dig into your monthly budget.

The battery is the heart of your car’s engine. Without that, your car won’t start and most of the controls won’t work. Your battery should be replaced about every two to three years. Quality batteries like Raylite costs between R1 000 and R2 500, which means a monthly budget of R80 to R100 will cover the costs when it needs replacing.

Get a free battery check every six months at any Battery Centre – the specialists will let you know if it needs replacing and will provide expert advice on the best options available for your specific needs. Alternatively, consider replacing your battery if your car battery light is on, the starter motor is sluggish, your battery loses power quickly in extended starts, or the headlights dim when idling.

A regular deep-clean of the interior of your car is essential if you want to prevent infestations of pests, strange smells and stains that affect resale value. If you have young children with sticky fingers, even more so. Budget for a full auto-valet every three months at around R400. That means around R150 per month set aside for the service. It will save you from those awkward ‘Please excuse my car’ conversations when friends or colleagues have to catch a ride.

With a little extra planning around car maintenance and insurance, you can make repairs and emergencies easier to manage.