An automobile is a huge investment. It doesn’t matter whether you lease or own, and if your car is new or old, classy or dumpy — one thing it will never be is cheap. From the ever-rising cost of gas to the disproportionately expensive price of an oil change, every service and repair costs a sizable chunk of change. But here are five easy ways to extend the life of your car and your hard-earned dollars.
1. Drive less
Easier said than done. But when you take into consideration how much wear and tear your car sustains from being driven in the city, you’ll see it’s actually more practical (and healthy) to walk, bike, or bus when you have an opportunity. You’ll require less gas, and fewer oil changes, filter replacements, tire rotations and replacements, fluid exchanges, and even batteries if you drive your car on the highway instead of in town. All the stopping and starting, the turning, and idling: it’s terribly hard on your vehicle. By contrast, highway driving is easy on your auto, and cars with moderate to high highway mileage will be in better condition than similar cars with lower city miles.
2. Keep it clean
Another good way to save money on gas and maintenance: clean that filthy vehicle. Dirt on the exterior of the car reduces your performance, turning dirty cars into gas guzzlers. Since the cost of water is still less expensive than the price of gasoline, do your car and your wallet a favor and wash the former regularly. Similarly, certain prolonged exposure (to bird droppings, for example) can expedite the rusting process, degrade the paint, and provide unwanted opportunities for oxidation. If you live in a northern region, like Minnesota or Canada, consider your car rusted. The best thing you can do to extend the life of your undercarriage is spray it with stuff designed to slow and prevent the rusting process. Even then, rust is bound to occur. The best option: don’t buy a car that’s been in one of these areas if you don’t live there yourself.
3. DIY or take it to the pros
With regard to oil and filter changes, spark plug, headlights, and other repairs that are easy to learn, do yourself a favor and learn them. If you can’t or would prefer not to, at least don’t take your car to one of those drive-through, scam-artist oil change companies. Any garage that does repair can perform an oil change; they’ll do it for half the price of a Jiffy Lube and just as quickly. For other, more complicated repairs, keep in mind that what you’ll pay the most for is service. Parts are usually less costly than you would imagine. So avoid having major work done by your dealership. It will be more expensive than a regular garage every time, even though they may already have the part you need in stock.
4. Perform regular maintenance
This is true to a certain degree. Remember, your maintenance requirements will vary, depending on how and where you drive your vehicle. They will also vary based on what kind of vehicle you own. Getting a third party opinion online or elsewhere, from a mechanic who’s also a friend, will help you make better decisions about servicing your car. It’s important to refer to the owner’s manual, but it’s also important to understand that service recommendations are based on expected mileage averages — averages that may not apply to you. Always do your homework before assuming you need expensive repair work.
About Author :
Sam Bagons is a financial writer who has profound knowledge on the contemporary financial world. He loves to contribute his articles to various financial communities, websites and blogs so that people who are going through distress, can read and help themselves get out of the debt mess.