Avoid Having Your Dream Car Turn into a Nightmare
Brian England, Wed, Dec 03, 2014
We’ve all seen the commercials. A guy wakes up Christmas morning, and waiting for him outside is his ultimate dream car — all wrapped up with a bow and a card from Santa.
It is so tempting. You see the car you always wanted selling at an affordable price, particularly for this time of year. What a great gift to yourself, right?
So, you buy it. Then you find out it costs an arm and a leg to maintain.
Recently a customer brought in a 2010 Audi A8. This particular Audi only cost the customer $33,000. Not much for a car that sells for over $100,000 new. When we checked it out for its 60,000 mile service, our customer discovered that it was going to cost $3000 to get the vehicle up-to-date on maintenance and make it safe and reliable — not to mention the fact that soon this same car was going to need four new tires. That’s another $2000!
It’s not just Audi; it can be any luxury car. A 2010 Jaguar can sell for an affordable $27,000. A huge discount from its $75,000 new car price tag. The problem is that now, it’s right at the point where it’s going to need a big investment in maintenance. When looking at high end vehicles, particularly from Europe, beware. Have the car evaluated before you purchase it, and then budget at least $3000 to $4000 for maintenance and repairs annually. On some Mercedes Benz models, changing the brake pads and rotors can cost $2750.
Edmunds.com has a really cool tool, a “True Cost to Own” calculator. When I plugged in a 2010 Audi A8 4.2 Quattro Sedan, the repair and maintenance cost came to $16,597 for the first 5 years for a zip code in Ellicott City, MD — with $3240 of that in the first year. That’s not far off from what our customer was facing on the recently purchased Audi.
The point is… do your research. Start with edmunds.com and see how much you should expect the car to cost you over the next five years. Then have a used car evaluation performed on your vehicle to make sure it’s in line with your expectations, and then budget for maintenance. Do all this and you will love driving the car of your dreams. Plus, you will have budgeted appropriately for it!