Unexpected Costs to Save for When Buying Your First Car

Before you purchase your first car, you may think that all the money needed is what’s in your wallet right now. Unfortunately, there are other things

Before you purchase your first car, you may think that all the money needed is what’s in your wallet right now. Unfortunately, there are other things to consider—and unexpected costs and repairs can catch unsuspecting buyers off guard. Whether they are major or minor fixes, it’s important to know ahead of time what types of repair expenses can come up when buying a car, as well as any other unexpected expenses, so that you will be prepared for them and not overwhelmed by their cost. 

In this blog post we’ll explain everything from oil changes to transmission problems and parking tickets, and provide some tips on how best to go about paying for any unexpected auto repairs down the road.

Brakes and Tires

As a first-time car owner or buyer, it can be tempting to focus solely on the upfront costs of purchasing a new or used vehicle. However, it’s essential to keep in mind that owning a car is an ongoing investment. When it comes to maintenance and repairs, two of the most critical elements to consider are the brakes and tires. Neglecting either of these components can result in costly, dangerous consequences. That’s why it’s crucial to make saving money for brake and tire repairs a priority from the get-go. By doing so, you can ensure the longevity and safety of your vehicle, as well as save yourself a significant headache and expense down the road.


In general, car batteries have a lifespan of around three to five years. Factors such as consistently extreme weather conditions or leaving the car unattended for extended periods can shorten this time frame. Therefore, it’s crucial to have enough saved up to cover the expense of a new battery that is compatible with your vehicle when the time comes. Regular maintenance, like ensuring your battery terminals are clean and free of corrosion, can also help prolong the life of your battery. 


One of the most crucial aspects of car maintenance is windshield repairs and regular windshield wiper maintenance. Neglecting these tasks can lead to costly consequences down the road. A chipped or cracked windshield can quickly escalate into a larger problem, leading to the need for a full windshield replacement which can be expensive. Regularly replacing your windshield wipers, on the other hand, can prevent scratches and damage to your windshield. By setting aside some money for these tasks, you can ensure that your car stays in top condition and avoid larger expenses in the future.

Parking Ticket

Unexpected car costs can include more than just expensive repair bills or rising gas prices. One frustrating expense many drivers face are parking tickets. Even if you are just a few minutes late getting back to your car, an overzealous parking enforcement officer may have already slapped a ticket on your windshield. These tickets can add up quickly, especially in busy downtown areas or crowded parking lots with limited time allowances. While it’s best to avoid tickets when possible by being on time, fighting tickets you believe were issued unfairly is often an option. However, that process takes time and effort and does not always result in the ticket being dismissed. The best approach is to build some buffer time into your parking plans and be vigilant about feeding meters or displaying permits to minimize the chances of an unexpected ticket expense.


One of the most expensive repairs that a driver may encounter is the replacement or repair of the transmission. But what exactly is a transmission and why is it so important? The transmission is essentially the component that transfers power from the engine to the wheels of your vehicle. It allows your car to shift gears and adjust to different speeds, making it an essential part of your car’s operations. Unfortunately, transmissions don’t last forever and may need to be replaced or repaired at some point in a car’s lifespan. While the exact lifespan of a transmission can vary depending on the car and driving habits, experts generally recommend getting it inspected every 50,000 miles and replaced every 100,000 miles to ensure that your car runs smoothly for years to come. So, if you’re buying your first car, it’s important to factor in the cost of transmission repairs or replacements when budgeting for maintenance costs.

Rising Gas Prices

Rising gas prices are one unexpected cost that can hit car owners hard. As fuel costs fluctuate, the price at the pump can increase significantly from one month or year to the next. This unpredictability makes budgeting for gas challenging and can create financial strain when prices spike unexpectedly. To help mitigate the impact, drivers can consider fuel-efficient vehicles, minimize unnecessary trips, use gas price tracking apps to buy when rates are lower, and set a monthly gas budget to avoid overspending in months with higher prices. While unexpected, there are strategies to help handle rising gas costs as an inevitable part of car ownership.


When purchasing your first car, it’s crucial to consider setting aside funds for suspension repairs or replacements. The suspension system is an often-overlooked component that plays a crucial role in a vehicle’s stability, handling, and overall safety. It is made up of various components that work together to ensure a smooth ride by absorbing impacts and controlling the car’s body movements. As time goes on, these components can wear down, leading to reduced handling and significant safety risks. Although the suspension system’s durability depends on various factors such as road conditions and driving habits, experts recommend a replacement every 50,000 miles. By saving money in advance, you can avoid unwanted financial surprises and ensure the longevity of your first car’s suspension system.

Owning a car is an exciting prospect, but it can also be overwhelming when it comes to unexpected repairs. Fortunately, by understanding the most common repair items that you might have to contend with, you can plan ahead. You should keep brakes and tires at the top of your list due to frequent use and harsh road conditions. Battery replacements are inevitable, so make sure to stock up on spare batteries or learn how to jumpstart your car. Keep your windshield in top shape by investing in protection coatings or getting regular checkups. Avoid transmission problems by having them serviced regularly and detect any suspension problems in advance before they become more serious. With some preparation, you’ll always have a reliable ride on hand while still feeling empowered to navigate unexpected repairs like a pro.