One fourth of Americans can

According to AAA, more than half of American drivers are keeping their vehicles for the long haul. That’s a smart move because repairs, monthly payments and gas prices make cars expensive investments. But there is another caveat to AAA’s study: Drivers are also avoiding repairs, a trend that is a result of a tough economy.  

“One in four American drivers could not pay for a car repair of $2,000 if faced with one today, according to the results of a survey released by AAA. The survey also found one in eight would be unable to pay for a repair bill of $1,000,” writes AAA. When repairs are neglected, it is likely that more costly maintenance will be needed further down the road.

Ideally, car owners who need to pay for vehicle repairs would use money they’ve set aside, but AAA states that’s not the case for many Americans. In AAA’s survey, 38 percent of American drivers would use money from a savings account to cover $2,000 in repairs, while 20 percent would use a credit card and 11 percent would dip into their retirement or home equity or borrow from relatives and friends.

More Americans could cover a less expensive repair bill of $1,000, with 46 percent using money from savings, 22 percent using a credit card and 14 percent borrowing money from friends, family, home equity or retirement.

While it is impossible to avoid some repairs, keep your vehicle in check by doing basic maintenance yourself. Simple fixes like replacing your wipers, lights and battery will not only get your acquainted with your vehicle, but will also help you save money that can go toward more expensive repairs down the road.  

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