Edmunds says 2019 will mark the 5th straight year new auto sales top 17 million. In the same year, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported a record 7 million Americans were at least three months behind on auto loans. That’s a million more delinquent borrowers compared to 2010 when delinquency rates were at their worst.

In November 2019, Edmunds data revealed the average transaction price for a new vehicle climbed to an all-time high of $37,981. AAA reports the average overall cost of vehicle ownership is $9,282 a year or $773.50 a month.

All these numbers add up to reasons many people should stick with their current vehicles. With proper maintenance, many cars can safely and reliably make it to 200,000 miles.

Every day, your Neighborhood Auto Repair Professionals (NARPRO) advise consumers on how to keep their cars running longer while minimizing expenses.

Pay attention to your car

• If a warning light popped on, note it. Along with unusual sounds or smells. Details will help a mechanic fine-tune their diagnosis.

Be curious

• Keep asking questions until you understand what needs to be fixed.

• A good mechanic will give you a lesson on how parts work together.

• Ask to see the problem. If your timing belt needs replaced, have the mechanic show you the belt.

Develop a relationship 

• Think beyond the current maintenance appointment or repair. 

• Long-term relationships with a reputable repair shop can build trust and help you avoid headaches down the road.

• Having your vehicle’s history will help a mechanic provide a road map for future repairs, which can help you plan.

Focus on maintenance

• If you don’t want to review your owner’s manual, ask a reputable repair shop to provide recommended major service intervals for your car.

• Preventive care and maintenance will extend the life of your car and ultimately save you big bucks. It’s almost always cheaper to take care of your can than buy a new one.

Handling repairs when you’re financially strapped

• Get quotes from at least two reputable mechanics. Ask for a breakdown for parts and labor.

• Determine what repair(s) can wait. Focus on the highest priorities, especially safety issues.

• Do it yourself. Maybe you don’t want to tackle an oil change but changing an air filter is one of the easiest replacements on your car. Ask your trusted mechanic for other suggestions and check out online tutorials, but always do your research and follow all safety precautions.