It seems like skipping small repairs or maintenance when it comes to car ownership is saving money in the short term. In reality, it can get you into a pretty bad situation if and when sometimes goes wrong.

Sixty-four million U.S. drivers—a third of them—cannot afford a surprise car repair bill without going into the red, a new study from AAA found. This is kind of concerning!

From the story:

According to a new AAA survey, 64 million American drivers would not be able to pay for an unexpected vehicle repair without going into debt, indicating that some drivers may underestimate the full cost of owning and operating a vehicle. Because some car repairs are unavoidable, and the average repair bill is between $500 and $600, AAA urges drivers to save at least $50 a month for unforeseen expenses, and identify a trusted repair facility before trouble strikes.

AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair said that the average cost of owning and operating a car is over $8,500 annually.

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“To avoid a surprise down the road, drivers should budget for monthly payments, insurance premiums, fuel costs and the inevitable expenses of routine maintenance and repair,” he said.

As we all know, a poorly maintained car is going to be way more expensive to fix when something inevitably goes wrong. Last year, AAA helped out almost 32 million stranded drivers.

Add to the fact that many Americans can’t really afford their car payments, either, and that financial institutions are going to get more and more selective with car loans and you’ve got a pretty vicious cycle on your hands.

That all sums up to expensive loans on top of expensive repairs.

via CarBuzz