Hey guys! Lorrenzo here again! I’m so excited to be joining my wife on this blogging journey as we attempt to grow our blog and supplement our income! If you missed my big debut, you can check out my first post on How Women Pay More on Car Maintenance. As promised, I wanted to follow up with some car maintenance tips to help you save some of your hard earned cash. (Disclaimer: Just in case you were wondering, the picture below was chosen AND designed by my wife.)
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6 Simple Car Maintenance Tips that will Save you Hundreds of Dollars
1. Familiarize yourself with the basics in your car’s user manual
Every vehicle is different and requires varying levels of preventative maintenance performed at certain times and mileages. If you do not have a hard copy in the glove compartment of your car, or if the manual your car came with is in a foreign language, check online. Maintenance tips for most vehicle models can be found on the internet. This is critical as it saves you from falling victim to myths and ‘rules of thumb.’
Firstly, the manual gives you basic valuable information such as the right type of gas to use to begin with. Also the grades of additional fluids and basic maintenance parts can be found. It is not necessary to go with all premium fluids if you don’t need to. The highest grades and brands of parts and fluids usually translate to the most costly. Stay away from these unless the manual calls for them.
2. Don’t fall prey to “Rules of Thumb”
There is an old myth that a car’s oil should be changed every 3000 miles. This is nothing but a myth and should not be followed unless your manual says so. However, it is quite unlikely that this would be the case.
Also, because your dad and grandfather changed the oil in their car every 5000 miles, this doesn’t mean that you need to also. Even though, this is a great ball park figure and guideline to work with, some car manufacturers guarantee up to 10,000 miles without an oil change. So why spend twice as much as you need to by following a shallow estimate? Obtain the recommended figure from your manufacturer and follow that!
3. Perform regular checks on your vehicle
At least a ‘walk around’ should be done to your vehicle every time you are about to drive. This takes a minute and ensures that you don’t drive off on a flat tire, ruining your rims in the process.
Furthermore, this practice confirms that you don’t roll over some foreign object that miraculously appeared while you were parked. Some years ago, I parked my car in front of my parents’ house which was located on an incline. Another driver parked a pickup truck in front of mine momentarily and then drove off leaving a large concrete brick in front of my car, which he had used to chuck his rear wheel. I drove over it; my tire was cut, rim dented and wheel well smashed in. A simple walk around could have saved me the $800 it cost me to get my car up and running again.
At least once a week and before long trips, check your fluids. Familiarize yourself with the location of your dipstick or electronic oil gauge as well as the locations of the various fluid reservoirs in your vehicle. Check your oil level, power steering fluid, brake fluid and coolant routinely. Familiarize yourself with the clean golden coloration of the motor oil on your car’s dipstick immediately after an oil change. If you recently had your oil changed and it looks murky and discolored, this could give a hint that something is wrong with the engine. Get it checked out before your engine croaks.
Additionally, perform checks on your lights, battery contacts, wiper blades and tire air pressure. One object often forgotten in a vehicle is the spare tire. Most spares are usually tucked away in a remote location and can easily be forgotten. Ensure that you put an eye and hand on this ever so often. Be sure to confirm that it is in good condition and the jack and other accessories needed to change a tire are ready to use.
4. Rotate your tires routinely
All tires on your car will never be exposed to the exact same levels of wear and tear. It is impossible for a vehicle along with its own weight distribution coupled with persons and objects being transported inside it to maintain an even distribution of wear across all four tires. Therefore, to maximize the lifetime of your wheels, the tires should be rotated on a scheduled basis. Your car’s manual will indicate when is the best time to do so.
Along with the rotation, ensure that the wheels are balances and aligned. This would save you from replacing your tires as often.
5. Change your filters and belts when you need to
The oil filter is changed when the oil change is performed as indicated by the timing in the user manual. Many persons go crazy during an oil change and through ignorance end up changing the air filter and belts also.
Changing an air filter is a separate task and should be done when required or when indicated by the manual. Furthermore, this is the easiest task a car owner can perform for themselves. These filters are usually positioned in a box-like compartment and changing is as simple as popping out the old and replacing with the new.
Belts are expensive and definitely do not need to be changed unless the existing ones are worn down. Changing belts by mileage are another rule of thumb myth that persons fall victim to. Obtain the right mileage number from your user manual or by checking online. However, this should be taken to another level as these numbers should be just used as a guide. Let your mechanic check it out and if they are in bad condition, change them out before a failure occurs. If they look good, don’t waste your money on a replacement.
6. Do what you can yourself
As I said before, this isn’t for everyone but it is a relatively easy way to keep a few extra hundred dollars in your pockets. For all you outdoorsy, physically inclined, do-it-yourselfers out there feel free to learn how to do oil, filter, belt changes and the list goes on, on your own. Of course, the more complicated tasks would involve more tools and at some point it would just become uneconomical to invest in complicated equipment just to take care of your car. As long as you feel confident to do it on your own with a couple YouTube tutorials, go for it!
Well that’s all for today, folks! Hope these tips can help you put less towards your car costs and more towards some more important things…
Like this. HA!
On a serious note, it’s never too late to start adopting smarter habits and saving hundreds!
Are there any other money-saving car maintenance tips that you’d like to add? Share with us in the comments below!
Don’t forget to pin for later and share this post! While you’re at it, don’t forget to follow Amanda on Pinterest!
Until next time,
Hey! I’m Lorrenzo!
Husband to Amanda. Dad of two.
Oilfield Engineer, Coffee Lover,
and Avid Cricket Fan.
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