How much does car maintenance cost?

12 minute read Published on Dec 29, 2023 by BrokerLink Communications

Technician writing on a paper with car oil pan in the background

Our cars are essential for our everyday commutes, road trips, and the occasional last-minute getaway. As convenient as having a car is, vehicle ownership also comes with a responsibility: keeping our cars in excellent condition. Understanding the costs associated with routine auto maintenance is crucial for new and seasoned drivers. Join BrokerLink as we outline some of the primary costs you can expect to rack up with your own car.

Types of car maintenance

Maintaining your car is essential to keeping it in good working order and to guaranteeing road safety in general. Here is a closer look at the different types of car maintenance tasks you’ll need to perform on your car on an ongoing basis:

Oil change

A key aspect of auto maintenance is routine oil changes, which are usually advised every 5,000 to 10,000 kilometres, though the exact timing may differ depending on the make and model of the vehicle. Making sure the engine's parts are adequately lubricated is the primary goal of an oil change. Engine oil can deteriorate and become less effective with time, which increases heat and friction on your engine. But, with regular oil changes, you can prolong the life of the engine, keep it operating at its best, and reduce wear and tear.

Windshield wiper replacement

Windshield wiper replacement is an essential maintenance activity that should be done every 6,000 to 12,000 kilometres. Maintaining good vision in poor conditions, such as rain or snow, is why performing this task is so important. Driving conditions can become hazardous because of reduced visibility caused by worn-out wiper blades. In order to guarantee that wiper blades properly clear the windshield and improve overall road safety, it's essential to frequently inspect and replace them when they show signs of deterioration.

New battery

A car's battery is essential for both starting the vehicle and running different electrical systems. Even while car batteries typically last between 3 and 5 years, it's always a good idea to get the battery inspected every year, particularly before stormy seasons. By being proactive, potential issues can be identified before they become more serious ones that are more expensive to repair.

Brake pad replacement

Brake pads are essential components for ensuring safe and effective braking. They typically last between 40,000 and 80,000 kilometres, but their actual longevity depends on your driving habits and the conditions under which your vehicle operates. Regular inspection and timely replacement of brake pads are crucial for maintaining optimal braking performance. Worn brake pads not only compromise stopping power but can also lead to more severe damage to the entire brake system, emphasizing the importance of this maintenance task for overall safety on the road

Tire rotation or replacement

Tire maintenance involves both rotation and replacement. Tire rotation is recommended every 8,000 to 10,000 kilometres to promote even tread wear and extend tire life. Additionally, tires should be inspected regularly for signs of wear, and replacement is typically necessary between 40,000 and 80,000 kilometres, depending on usage. By keeping tires in good condition and with sufficient grip on the road, proper tire care improves traction, handling, and safety as a whole.

Fluid top-up

For the car to operate correctly, a number of fluids, including power steering, brake, transmission, and coolant, must be regularly topped off and checked. Ideally, this should be done every 5,000 kilometres or with every oil change. Sustaining appropriate fluid levels is essential to avoid overheating, guarantee the smooth operation of many vehicle systems, and prevent damage to vital parts.

Air filter replacement

The air filter is an integral part of the vehicle's engine and should be replaced regularly, usually every 15,000 to 30,000 kilometres, depending on driving conditions. The air filter prevents dirt, dust, and debris from entering the engine, ensuring clean air for combustion. A blocked or dirty air filter can reduce engine performance and fuel efficiency and, over time, potentially lead to more severe engine issues. Regular air filter replacement is essential for maintaining optimal engine function and prolonging the life of engine components.

In the end, routine maintenance not only guarantees the reliability and endurance of your car but also enhances road safety.

Car maintenance cost

The cost of routine car maintenance can vary based on many factors, including the make and model of the vehicle, the region or city where the maintenance is performed, and whether the service is done at a dealership or an independent repair shop. It’s also important to keep in mind that the cost of labour and available parts will vary over time. Therefore, while we can’t give you a precise cost analysis for each maintenance task, we can give you an average estimate. Let’s take a closer look at this below:

  • Oil change: The average cost of a basic oil change is between $50 and $150. The brand and type of oil used—conventional or synthetic—as well as other factors affect the price. The more expensive end of the pricing range can be caused by specialty oils for high-performance vehicles and higher-grade synthetic oils.
  • Windshield wiper replacement: In Canada, the cost of replacing windshield wipers ranges from $20 to $50 per pair. Again, the brand and quality of the wiper blades will affect the price. Standard replacement blades are usually more reasonably priced. However, premium or specialty wiper blades may be more expensive.
  • Car battery replacement: Replacing your car battery can cost anywhere between $100 and $300, depending on the type of battery purchased.
  • Brake pad replacement: Replacing a brake pad costs between $150 and $300 per wheel. The type of brake pads used and if other parts, like rotors, need to be replaced are factors that affect the price as well.
  • Tire Rotation or Replacement: Tire rotation is often included with an oil change, while the cost of tire replacement per tire ranges from $100 to $200 for mid-range tires. Premium new tires will be more expensive. Tire prices can vary based on factors such as tire size, brand, and tread pattern. Tire rotation, when performed separately, may cost around $20 to $50 per tire.
  • Replacement Air Filter: The average cost of replacing an air filter in Canada is between $20 and $50. The type and quality of the air filter are some factors that will influence the cost.
  • Fluid top-up: Although the price of fluid top-up varies across regions, it is often included in an oil change service. That said, the type of fluid and the particular needs of the vehicle will determine the cost of any further fluid services, such as flushing and replacement.

Tips to budget for car maintenance

Setting aside money for car servicing is a wise financial move that will keep your car in good working order and help you avoid unforeseen costs. Here are some tips to help you budget costs:

  • Create a separate savings account or set aside a certain amount of your monthly income for auto repairs.
  • To estimate an annual routine car maintenance cost, consult your owner's manual for your vehicle to go over the recommended servicing schedule.
  • Give routine car maintenance tasks like tire rotations, having your oil changed, and filter replacements top priority. Ignoring regular maintenance can eventually result in more severe problems.
  • Find out how much typical repairs and replacements for your particular make and model typically cost. Having an idea of these approximations will enable you to plan ahead and modify your spending plan appropriately.
  • Consider seasonal changes and their impact on your vehicle so you can prepare for the upcoming season accordingly.
  • Keep track of every maintenance and repair that is done. This aids in cost tracking, trend recognition, and service planning for future needs.
  • Budget for an allowance for unforeseen repairs or emergencies.
  • To find the cheapest deals on regular maintenance and repairs, compare costs from several service providers. Getting quotations from numerous businesses will enable you to make well-informed choices, as they may have different prices.
  • Think about purchasing an extended warranty for your vehicle if it is new.

How long do cars last in Canada?

As a motorist, you've probably wondered, how long do cars last in Canada? The average car mileage frequently ends out at about 322,000 kilometres, which equates to a lifespan of roughly between ten and twelve years. It's crucial to remember, though, that every driver's driving habits have a significant influence on this timetable. People with longer commutes or more frequent driving may find that their vehicle gets to the maximum mileage sooner than they had anticipated. Ultimately, if you want to extend the lifespan of your vehicle, routine maintenance is critical.

Protect your vehicle with high-quality insurance

There’s no denying that car protection is crucial to driving reliable cars on public roads. However, beyond routine maintenance, it's also essential that motorists purchase high-quality policies that protect them should a collision or other incident occur.

At BrokerLink, we understand that navigating the insurance landscape can be tricky, which is why we’re here to outline the different types of auto insurance so you can have a better idea about what policies you may want to purchase the next time you're up for renewal.

Comprehensive insurance

An optional insurance policy that offers protection against non-collision incidents is comprehensive coverage. It provides monetary assistance for the repair or replacement of your vehicle in the event of theft, vandalism, fire, severe weather events, and vehicle impacts with wildlife. While comprehensive car coverage is an optional policy, if you have a newer vehicle or want additional peace of mind, adding this plan to your portfolio is recommended. Remember, however, that comprehensive insurance has a deductible, which is a predetermined amount you will need to pay out of pocket before your insurance kicks in. So, choose an amount you can afford and are comfortable with.

Liability car insurance

A vital part of vehicle insurance is liability car insurance, which protects against property damage and bodily injury for which you, the insured driver, are held legally liable in the event of an accident. This coverage, which encompasses both property damage liability and bodily injury liability, is mandated by federal law. However, the amount of liability you need as a driver will be determined by which province or territory you live in. For example, in Ontario, the minimum third-party liability car insurance you must have is $200,000. That said, most drivers opt for higher coverage limits for added protection.

Accident benefits

Accident benefits cover lost income, medical costs, rehabilitation, and burial costs for you and your passengers in an accident, regardless of who is to blame. This coverage is mandated by law in all provinces and territories across Canada except for Newfoundland. Ultimately, this accident benefits coverage aims to ensure victims of car accidents receive swift financial assistance following a collision so they can focus on recovery without the financial burden.

Collision coverage

Collision coverage is an add-on option that, regardless of who is at fault in an accident involving another car or object, covers the cost of replacing or repairing your vehicle. Collision coverage, which offers additional financial protection in the event of a collision, is sometimes advised for newer or more valued cars. Similar to comprehensive, motorists will need to pay a deductible amount before their coverage kicks in to pay for repairs.

Uninsured automobile coverage

Uninsured automobile insurance, or uninsured motorist coverage, is a policy that protects you in the event of a collision with a driver who lacks or has insufficient coverage. This coverage can also cover hit-and-run incidents, giving you financial security in the event that the person who caused the accident is unable to pay for the injuries. Uninsured motorist coverage is a useful addition to your coverage that adds an additional degree of safety while driving, even if it's not required by law.

Accident forgiveness

Some companies provide an option called accident forgiveness that protects policyholders from premium increases following their first at-fault collision. Should your insurance policy include accident forgiveness and you are found to be at fault in an accident, the provider will forgive the incident and not increase your premium. This feature is intended to provide drivers with a clean driving record and some leeway in the event that they make a mistake or are involved in an accident. At-fault collisions without accident forgiveness usually result in higher insurance rates since the at-fault driver is viewed as a greater risk.

Remember, there are multiple auto insurance policies available to motorists across Canada. It's crucial to remember that insurance requirements and coverage options can differ depending on where you live and your insurance company. The key is finding the right policy plan that fits your needs and budget. You can do so by speaking to your insurance company directly or working with a broker.

Contact BrokerLink today

Are you looking for customized car insurance solutions? Whether you're seeking to renew your car insurance in Toronto or have questions about your existing coverage, the knowledgeable team at BrokerLink is more than happy to assist you!

Contact us to have a personal discussion with one of our brokers. If you would prefer to speak with us in person, you are also welcome to visit any of our several offices located across the country! You can also get customized rates while relaxing in the comfort of your own home by using our free online quote tool!

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Car protection costs FAQs

What is the maintenance cost on a normal car?

The average car maintenance cost on a standard car usually falls between $500 and $1,000 each year. This estimate covers standard repair costs like tire rotations, brake pad replacements, oil changes, and fluid refills. However, actual expenses can differ depending on things like age, driving habits, and the make and model of the car. Regular maintenance is necessary to keep minor problems from getting worse, lower the chance of malfunctions, and extend the life of the vehicle. Proactive maintenance is also a wise investment for the long-term value and durability of the car, as it can improve performance and gas mileage.

Is it worth doing car maintenance at a dealership?

Depending on your car's age, warranty status, and personal preferences, you may want to consider completing maintenance at a dealership. Dealerships can be more expensive than independent mechanics, but they frequently offer authentic parts and specialist knowledge specific to your vehicle. Dealership maintenance is sometimes required to maintain coverage if your car remains insured under warranty. To ensure accurate service, dealerships frequently use the most recent diagnostic tools and adhere to manufacturer specifications. The final step in deciding whether dealership maintenance fits into your priorities and budget is to consider pricing, convenience, and the particular requirements of your car.

How much is car maintenance per km?

The cost of car maintenance per kilometre can differ depending on a number of factors, including the age, make, model, and driving circumstances of the vehicle. That said, you can expect the cost of owning and maintaining your new vehicle to be between $0.08 and $0.15 per kilometre. Routine maintenance costs such as tire rotations, brake pad replacements, oil changes, and fluid top-ups are included in this estimate. Due to possible wear and tear, older cars may be a little more expensive. Ultimately, proactive maintenance can cut the cost per kilometre by decreasing the possibility of significant problems.

How much does the average Canadian spend on car repairs per month?

The average monthly cost for car maintenance in Canada is about $81, though this might vary depending on the kind of vehicle. In most cases, if you recently bought a new car, the manufacturer's warranty covers repair costs for the first three years, meaning you won't be responsible for expenses during this period. But after the warranty expires, you may have to pay more for future repairs on your used car. Therefore, it's critical to budget ahead of time, adhere to regular vehicle maintenance plans, and be aware that expenses may vary as your automobile ages. Also keep in mind that electric vehicles may have different maintenance needs. Therefore, the expected cost for maintenance and repairs will be different from the cost of owning and maintaining a gas vehicle and how much you will pay annually.

How do car maintenance costs change over time?

When your car is brand-new and still covered by warranty, vehicle maintenance expenses are often minimal because the manufacturer will cover a large portion of the repairs. The requirement for routine maintenance increases as your car ages in order to avoid issues. This means expenses will progressively increase over time, mainly when the warranty expires. Due to wear and tear, older cars naturally may require extra car maintenance, so just keep this in mind when calculating repair costs over time. Therefore, the secret is to take proper care of your vehicle now to prevent larger, more costly problems down the road.

How much is car insurance per month in Ontario?

Numerous factors that vary significantly amongst drivers are used to determine auto insurance prices. These include your driving history, age, gender, residential location, policy constraints, and the kind of car you drive. In Ontario, a typical monthly cost could range from $100 to $300. However, bear in mind that exact numbers may differ as this is simply an estimate. Policy rates may increase for drivers with less experience, those who are just starting out, and those who have a past record of collisions. For a custom quote, we suggest speaking with different providers directly or using their online quote tools that are typically available through their website.

If you have any questions, contact one of our local branches.