Car maintenance and repairs can be costly and if you don’t have a regular budget set aside for maintenance and repairs, it’s going to hurt your wallet in both the short and long term. So how can you save money on car maintenance? Here are our best tips.
Prevention is key
This is the number one thing you need to know about car maintenance: prevention is key. Prevention is the best possible way you can save money on car maintenance. So what do you need to know? First, is to check your owner’s manual and familiarise yourself with the Scheduled Maintenance Guide. This will let you know when maintenance is suggested by the manufacturer. From this guide, you’ll learn where you should spend your money and when. Spending a little now is going to save you a lot of money on costly repairs later.
Do it yourself
Now that you’ve read the owner’s manual and know when you should schedule maintenance for your car, you can save money by doing it yourself. Here are some of the best ways to save money on car maintenance by doing it yourself:
Rotate your car tyres
If you don’t rotate your car tyres, you’ll end up with uneven tread wear. Front and rear tyres wear differently. Front tyres typically wear down faster than the rear ones as they hold more of your cars weight. By rotating your tyres regularly you’ll ensure a smoother and safer ride. An easy way to remember to rotate your car tyres is to rotate them whenever you change your oil.
Change the oil and air filters
And that brings us to changing the oil. Changing the oil and air filters in your car regularly is one of the cheapest ways to maintain your car. Check your owner’s manual for the suggested schedule to change your oil and air filters and make sure to use the correct oil. Inappropriate oils for your car will reduce fuel efficiency from 1-2 per cent.
Keep your car clean
This is something many people overlook when it comes to car maintenance. If you’re not a car lover, you might loath the thought of having to wash your car, but this isn’t just a job for car lovers to keep their cars looking spick and span. Having a dirty car means your car is more likely to corrode and wear down the paint and metal, which will affect resale value if you’re thinking of putting your car on the market.
Maintain fluid levels
Make sure you maintain your cars fluid levels, from engine coolant to transmission and brake fluid. If the fluid levels drop too low, you’re risking damaging the mechanics of your car. You can check your car’s fluid levels yourself, simply consult your owner’s manual on how to do so. Low fluid levels can cost thousands in repairs when it comes to having to replace your transmission.
While prevention is the best medicine when it comes to car maintenance as well as health, if your car is in need of replacement parts for a repair you can save money by buying used. You can save hundreds of dollars on repairs by buying used car parts. You can consult your mechanic for where to buy used parts. Research is key.
Don’t go to the dealer
Of course, if your car is still under warranty then it can pay to go to the dealer for any maintenance and repairs needed. But the dealership is the last place you should take your car when trying to save money if it’s no longer under warranty. You’ll end up paying more money than you would almost anywhere else. Instead, do your research on good, local service centres to find competitive pricing.
Don’t ignore the check engine light
Last, but certainly not least, do not ignore your check engine light. Ignoring it can cost you big time. If your check engine light comes on, get it checked as soon as you can (within a few days). Hopefully it’ll be a simple fix but it could be something serious. If the check engine light is flashing then you’ll need to get your car towed to the mechanic right away. If you drive it, you could cause severe engine damage. Prevention is always cheaper than replacing your engine.
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