Cars are a large investment, so you want to make sure you maintain them and keep them running as well as possible to extend the life span of your car (and save you money in the long run).
In today's society, cars can be our lifelines – they get us to work, the kids to school, and to the doctor in case of emergencies. Taking great care of your car is a good habit to get into and practice your whole life.
However, car maintenance and repairs can get costly, so be sure to check out these 5 amazing ways to save money on car maintenance and repairs, include:
1. Don't change the oil more often than necessary
Back in the day, everyone SWORE by the oil change at every 3,000 mile mark. Gone are the days of needing to change the oil that often. Not only is it a waste of money and time, but it's also using more oil and increasing your carbon footprint.
Oil manufacturers have evolved along with their oil. Oils last longer now, create much less sludge, and are generally a lot cleaner than 20 years ago. Stick to your specific car's manual when it comes to the oil change schedule. Newer cars will typically need oil changes between 4,000 and 7,000 miles. You can even extend the mileage even further if you use synthetic oil. Some manuals even suggest following the cue of the “oil life” warning light that comes pre-installed on almost every car made after the model year 2000.
2. Tire rotations and how to get them at a discount
Tire rotations are one of the least of your concerns when it comes to car maintenance.
If you don't rotate them every few thousand miles your tires are likely to wear out faster. However, tire rotations are not important enough to pay extra for just rotating the tires.
For example, when you take your car in for an oil change most places will also offer a free inspection. During that inspection, they will have your car on a lift. Just before they are finished with the inspection, ask them nicely if they wouldn't mind rotating your tires while it's already up in the air. If you have a regular mechanic, most of the time they have no problem with a rotation. I can't remember the last time I actually paid for a tire rotation.
3. Avoid being charged for the same thing twice
Let's say that you've taken your car in for a specific repair. For example, perhaps you need to have a belt tensioner replaced. If you know this ahead of time, ask the mechanic or tech at the shop if you can get a discounted labor rate by doing a few similar repairs at the same time.
To replace a tensioner on a belt most vehicles will need the radiator hose, air box, or even the thermostat removed as well. While those are already out-of-place, why not replace them with new parts? So you're paying for the labor rate once and just buying the extra parts you want. In doing so, you've paid the labor rate for replacing the tensioner but had the extra parts installed for free since it takes no extra time replacing the parts that are already removed from the car.
4. Do the small repairs yourself
Simple things like windshield wipers, battery installations, air filter replacements, and even simple in-cabin electrical fixes can be done in your driveway with little to no tools.
Many times, buying parts from a local auto parts store can be cheaper than at the mechanic's shop. If you decide to replace your air filter, for example, buy it at the auto parts store and ask one of the clerks if they have time to help show you how to install it. Nine times out of 10 they are more than willing to help you out, because they know that a great customer experience ensures future purchases from them.
So you learn how to do the small jobs yourself, and they earn a loyal customer by showing you the ropes. It's a win-win!
#5 Fix paint rock chips as soon as possible
Whether they're on your windshield or on your paint, rock chips start out as nothing. But as time progresses, they can become much worse and more expensive to fix.
If you find yourself with a small rock chip on your windshield, get to a glass repair shop as soon as possible. Most shops will bill insurance and you won't have to pay anything out-of-pocket for a small chip repair. You'll likely not even see a rate increase for this repair.
Chips in your paint also need to be taken care of as soon as you notice them. They can cause the paint to crack even further down to the bare metal and start rusting (especially in northern climates). Also, damage to the clear coat on your paint job will start to spread from that crack and before you know it the clear coat is bubbling up and flaking off. Get to an auto body repair shop and spend a few bucks to get the crack sealed and recovered with clear coat.
Our cars are often an extension of ourselves, and we always want to make sure that they're in the best shape possible – mechanically and cosmetically. Using these 5 amazing ways to save money on car maintenance and repairs, you're well on your way to keep your wallet just a bit more full and your car a bit more happy.
Which tip on this list did you find the most useful? Are there any tips that you would have added to this list that you personally use?