Cars are so ubiquitous nowadays that families often possess more than one. However, even though they are needed to live a normal life, cars are also expensive. Like, really expensive. When you think about it, you not only need to put gas in your car, but you also need to service it annually (or even faster), pay for auto repairs, and even lose money while it’s getting older. Luckily, at least we can help you cut the expenses when it comes to repairing your car (it would’ve been great if we could make the gas cheaper, though). Here are 5 ways to save money on auto repairs and service!
1. Regularly Check Your Car
Properly maintaining a car isn’t only about refueling it and cleaning it. To be sure that your vehicle is always in top order, you must also check the fluid levels. For example, by continually monitoring the oil level in your engine, you can be sure that it never runs out. Low oil levels can be terrible for the engine, and ultimately, this can result in whole engine breakdown. It’s the same with the engine coolant. Overheating your engine can result in catastrophic failure!
It is also essential to check the brake pads and see how much material there is left on them. If you altogether remove the material from the pads, you risk damaging the brake discs in your car, and trust us; they can get costly.
2. You can Fix Most of the Things Yourself
People today seem to know less about cars, even though they cover more miles. The reason is simple – cars are becoming very complicated and hard to repair. However, most of the things that might reduce the performance of your vehicle are easily repairable.
The thing first comes to mind is changing the air filter, which is very easy to do, even for a beginner. Then, you can also replace your wiper blades easily, which can cut the cost dramatically. Wiper blades are pretty cheap nowadays, but if you go to a mechanic for a replacement, you will probably pay a few dollars more. You can also replace your headlight bulbs and rear light bulbs very easy – there is a “how-to” video for almost any car on YouTube.
If you don’t care about making your hands dirty, you can even change the oil and oil filter in your car quickly. This way your annual service will cost much less, perhaps almost half the price. Auto mechanics often charge more for the work done then for the oil. Doing this process yourself on Sunday might save you up to $100!
3. Regularly Check Your Tires and Buy the Right Set for Your Needs
If you don’t want to spend too much money on tires, it’s time to take care of them better. Regularly check your tires for cracks in the tread and on the sidewall, as well as glass chips or stones. Carefully removing any debris and taking care of the cracks in time will result in long-lasting performance.
However, there are other things to consider when it comes to tires. Those high-performance models that the salesman recommended really look fantastic and will undoubtedly make your car better to drive, but they’re also costly to buy and even more expensive in the long run. They simply don’t last very long. Purchasing a set of tires shouldn’t be only about the driving experience, but also about expenses.
For example, touring, grand-touring and highway tires are the best when it comes to longevity and durability. Modern versions of these tires last up to 80,000-miles, which makes them the most cost-effective option in the long run. Sure, these tires aren’t as sporty as high-performance tires, but for 95% of the drivers, they are more than good enough. In other words, if you own an SUV or a minivan, chances are you won’t drive them like Lewis Hamilton in the corners.
Also, every type of tire is designed to work in a specific temperature range. All-season tires have the most extensive range and can generally be used from warm summer days to freezing winter days. However, if you use them in icy conditions, they might get warped.
Summer tires are even worse in this regard – they can’t be used at temperatures less than 50°F. In other words, winter tires might be a good bet if you want to save on further tire repairs or replacements. Oh, and of course, winter tires can’t be used in warm conditions, as they can get warped too!
4. Don’t Replace Your Oil Very Often
In the past, you needed to replace the oil in your vehicle every 3,000-miles. However, things have changed today. Cars are becoming much better at keeping the oil fresh – some can cover over 10,000 miles without change. Also, modern oils are much more durable and better at lubrication. In other words, we suggest replacing the used oil in your car once every 10,000-miles, or at least when according to the mileage the manufacturer provided.
You also might not need to replace other consumables that often. For example, some gearboxes can last over 200,000-miles with the same oil, while spark plugs can last for over 100,000-miles. That said, if your car is in the warranty period, you will probably need to change them earlier anyway. The dealership will simply press you to do it to keep the warranty, which brings us to the last piece of advice.
5. Don’t Go to Authorized Services or Dealerships
Repairing and servicing your car at the dealership is a smart decision only if your vehicle is still under warranty. If it isn’t, then you will only be overpaying for the job. Authorized services often charge twice the price for hand labor when compared to independent services. The job done will certainly not be twice as good. As a matter of fact, independent services can be more helpful and open to cheaper solutions that don’t always include the purchase of a new part.