Cars: You need them to get to work and go places you want to go, but they can be very costly to maintain. There’s your car payment, your insurance payment, and all that maintenance. Who would blame you if you decided to skip out on an oil change for a month or put off getting your brakes checked?
Unfortunately, that’s a false economy that can cost you big down the road.
The best advice as far as keeping your maintenance costs down might seem counterintuitive at first. Make sure you’re constantly getting work done on it. Engines, brakes, and transmissions don’t get better on their own. Taking a proactive stance toward car maintenance can help you avoid major bills from your mechanic.
Brake fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, windshield wiper fluid: These are all easy to forget about, but you want to keep their levels stable.
Keeping the levels of these fluids topped off keeps your engine running well, even in extreme weather conditions. Letting these levels get away from you can cause a domino effect in your engine that results in much costlier repairs. Some of these may be cheaper to top off yourself, while others can be checked and maintained during a routine oil change. Speaking of oil changes…
Keep up with those oil changes! They don’t need to be pricey. You can use oil changing coupons to keep the costs from being out of control. You might not need to get the oil changed as often as some mechanics recommend, either. Check your owner’s manual and see how often it suggests you get an oil change. Some newer cars don’t need an oil change every 3,000 miles and could go as long as 6,000 or 7,000 miles before they need maintenance.
Get your tires rotated while you’re at it. Rotating the tires ensures that they are wearing evenly. That means you’re getting the most mileage from a set of tires–and you have more time to save up for a new set when they eventually need replacing.
Another important thing to keep an eye on in any vehicle: parts that are prone to wearing out. These include belts, hoses, pads, and gaskets. All of these parts are made from softer materials, such as rubber, that can become damaged more easily than metal. When these parts give out, it can cause serious issues in your vehicle. Trust me, it’s much cheaper to get worn-out brake pads replaced before you start grinding your rotors.
It’s vital to keep up regular maintenance on your car. As the old saying goes: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.