Afraid of taking your car to a mechanic because you know they always find something wrong? It sucks going in for an oil change and leaving the shop broke because they had to replace the water pump.
Maintaining your vehicle is an important part of vehicle ownership, and while neglecting regular maintenance might seem like a cheaper option, it most certainly is not.
Check your owner’s manual for maintenance recommendations
Every vehicle has an owner’s manual, which you can typically find in the glovebox. Every so often you will need to change your fluids to keep the engine, power steering pump and cooling system running like new.
Each vehicle is different, so refer to your owner’s manual to know when it’s time to service the transmission, change the power steering fluid, etc.
If you’re lucky, the manual will even tell you the amount of fluid you’ll need to perform these services. If you don’t plan on doing the work yourself, just make sure to take the vehicle in to the dealership or local mechanic for maintenance.
Can’t find your owner’s manual? There are many websites that will help you with the specific model of your vehicle, and AutoZone includes free service guides to help as well.
Buy the right part the first time!
Finding the right parts for your vehicle can be tricky, and sometimes you have to order parts online and wait for them. It’s important that you buy the right part the first time to avoid any delays.
Stick with your local Autozone, Advance Auto Parts or NAPA and earn rewards or points. All of these auto part stores offer rewards to their customers, and you can even get special deals from time to time.
Want to learn more about the parts and options for your vehicle? Visit RockAuto.com, where you can find every part possible for your vehicle, and they even give you options based on your price range. It’s no doubt the best source for parts online. We’re not getting paid to mention the company in any way, we really mean it!
Avoid the cheapest parts and keep your engine running like new…
With certain parts, it’s wise to avoid the cheaper options, especially if you’re doing the work yourself and saving money by avoiding shop fees.
A quality set of NGK spark plugs will last 10 times longer than the cheap options. If you don’t change your spark plugs every 30k miles, then they’ll go bad and cause rough idle and reduced gas mileage.
Full synthetic oil will last longer than cheap conventional oil, so it’s worth spending a little extra on better oil to keep your engine running like new for as long as possible.
Don’t drive like a crazy person…
Drive carefully to avoid wearing out your brakes, tires and clutch. You can actually save money by driving more carefully and braking more gently.
Don’t accelerate super hard every time you go to launch the vehicle, as this will burn through more fuel and wear out your motor mounts.
It might sound like common sense, but a lot of people just don’t realize the difference it makes when you drive careful versus driving like a maniac.
Driving too crazy can ultimately lead to serious problems, such as a blown head gasket and an overheating car.
Learn to perform basic maintenance tasks and replace parts
Learning to perform oil changes, tune-ups and tire rotations by yourself is probably the best way to save money. Believe it or not, most of the basic maintenance tasks are simple!
An oil change is pretty much the same on every car, and there are guides all over YouTube showing people how to do a tune-up on their car and replace parts. You can most likely find a video of someone changing an alternator on the same car you own.
It won’t be hard to reduce maintenance costs on the vehicles you own as long as you don’t mind getting your hands dirty.
Do this if your vehicle hasn’t been serviced in a very long time…
If you have a car with a lot of miles on it and you can’t remember the last time it was properly serviced, then consider doing the following:
- Walk into your local auto parts store and ask for an engine oil filter, air filter, cabin air filter and NGK iridium spark plugs for your vehicle.
- Buy a high quality, synthetic engine oil.
- Change your air filter, oil and oil filter.
- Change your spark plugs.
- Check your transmission fluid. Is it black/brownish or does it still have red in it? Wipe the dipstick on a white paper towel so you can see. If the fluid looks bad, then go buy a transmission filter and transmission fluid for your vehicle.
- Check your coolant. Is it low? Is it really old? Drain and replace or top up as needed. Never let your coolant get low. Your local auto parts store will be able to tell you what type of coolant your vehicle needs, or you can refer to your owner’s manual for more information on the topic.
- Check your brake pads. You might have to put the car on jack stands and remove a tire on the front and rear to check the pads.
Conclusion: Learn How to DIY and Reduce Maintenance Costs
Start there, and if your vehicle is really getting up in miles and hasn’t been taken care of then consider checking the suspension as well. By learning how to do a proper vehicle inspection you can discover issues before they become a problem.
There are many video guides on the topic, and it’s better to know what’s going on with your vehicle then taking it in for an oil change and leaving the mechanic shop broke cause you weren’t prepared.
If you have any tips or advice on ways we can reduce maintenance costs on our vehicles then feel free to leave a comment below!