These days everyone is trying to save a little bit extra here and there. One of the most overlooked (or avoided) ways to save is in the proper care of your car.
Given that April was National Car Care month I thought I’d share a few simple car care tips for properly maintaining your vehicles so that you don’t end up paying more down the road.
From my experience, car owners typically fall into one of two categories: those who know how to take car of their car and do most of the work themselves, and those who don’t want to think about it and simply outsource it all. I’d have to say I identify with that second category a bit more.
I dread having to think about maintaining my car. I just want it to work when I need it to. But the fact is, I paid a lot of money for it. And it’s not appreciating in value. Therefore, there is a big need to maintain it properly, if only with a few simple tasks, so that I get the longest use possible for it.
Financial Benefits of Proper Car Care
Generally speaking, the better you treat your car, the longer it’s going to last. Adding months and years to the life of your vehicle is like adding money to your wallet. And believe me, once you pay off the car loan, you’ll want to use your payment-free ride for as long as possible. With proper maintenance, you spend a little now to save a lot later.
Another financial benefit to caring for your car is that you’re most likely going to be paying for fewer repairs. A perfect example is your break pads. When these wear out, your break systems will start taking on wear. The quicker you can replace the pads, the less damage the break system will receive and the longer you’ll be able to go without a major break repair.
Lastly, let’s say you intend to sell your car in a few years. Taking care of your car and being able to show that maintenance history is going to mean a better resale value for your car. A better resale means more money to put towards your next ride.
With that, here are some simple steps you can take to take better care of your big investment.
Simple Car Care Tips
Routinely Check Your Tire Pressure and Wear – The incorrect pressure on your tires can cause improper wear. This will lead to you having to change the tires more often (as much as 25% sooner). Check your tire pressure every other visit you make to the gas station.
Make sure the pressure equals the proper psi located in your car’s manual or on the inside of the driver’s side door. An additional benefit to doing this is that it will increase your gas mileage, saving you money at the pump. Improperly inflated tires cause you to use more gas.
While you’re checking your tire pressure, look for any excess wear or nails in the tires which would need to be fixed quickly.
In addition to checking tire pressure, have your tires rotated every 6,000 miles. Some shops will do this for free if you purchased the tires from them.
Check Your Engine Oil and Fluids – Review your car’s manual for the list of fluids you can check under the hood. Most cars will at a minimum have a dipstick for you to check your engine oil level. Do this on the same schedule as your tire pressure check.
When is it time for a change? The traditional recommendation is 3,000 miles. However, be sure to check your car’s manual. Most newer cars have recommendations from 5,000 to 7,500 miles. Older cars may need more frequent changes, and require more routine checks.
That should be enough to get you started. For a full checklist of other maintenance suggestions, see the Car Care Guide from CarCare.org.
Look for Discounts This Month on Parts and Service – Finally, since it’s just been National Car Care month, many service centers are offering specials and discounts on car maintenance. Take advantage of whatever online coupons you can find and don’t pay more than is necessary for your maintenance. Happy driving!
How about you? What are your money saving tips for taking care of your car?
Image credit: Gerry Dincher