How To Save Money On Car Maintenance
Posted by: Dan on 2/04/2015
There’s no doubt about it, cars cost money. From the moment you buy your car, whether you’ve bought it brand new or picked up one up second hand, you’ll inevitably need to start forking out cash. Cash to purchase the car, cash for registration, cash for insurance and of course, the never ending costs for ongoing maintenance.
But the good news is, while there’s not much you can do about the price of rego and insurance, you can help to lower your maintenance costs. There are a number of simple things you can do to look after your car and help it run more cheaply. Here are just a few ways you can help cut down the costs of running your car.
Read your owner’s manual
One of the most important things you can do to get the best value out of your car is take the time to read your owner's manual. Your owner’s manual will detail all the kinds of maintenance your car requires, as well providing practical information such as the oil your car needs, tyre sizes, part numbers etc. So don’t just leave the manual in the glove box untouched – read it thoroughly and learn how to start saving money!
Do it yourself
You don’t have to be a mechanic to do simple repairs and maintenance checks. With very little time or effort you can do to keep your car running smoothly and lower the cost of maintenance. Here are some simple things you can do yourself with very little mechanical experience:
- Keep an eye on fluid levels: Checking fluid levels is one of the simplest and most effective ways to maintain your car. Once a month, take a quick look under the bonnet to check the oil, brake fluid, water, power steering and transmission fluid (where relevant) – a quick check will only take a few minutes, but keeping fluid levels right can help prevent permanent engine damage
- Change your own oil: If you’re confident in changing your own oil, this is something you could easily manage yourself. It’s really straightforward and definitely worth the effort if you’re wanting to lower maintenance costs
- Take care of the tyres: Good tyres with quality tread are imperative to safe driving. To keep your tyres in good shape for as long as possible, regularly check the air pressure. Your tyres will naturally leak air every couple of months, so keep them inflated to avoid uneven wear. It’s also important to keep an eye out for cracks or bulges – get into the habit of taking a quick look each time you fill up petrol. This way you can spot any small issues before they become a big problem
- Air filter: The air filter is a simple thing to replace and very easy to do so with no mechanical knowledge. When your air filter becomes filled with dirt you’ll start chewing through petrol more quickly. As a general rule of thumb, change your air filter every three months – but refer to your owner's manual for your car’s specific requirements
- Brake pads: Changing the brake pads does take some skill so not everyone will be comfortable doing this on their own. But a mechanic will slog you for what’s essentially a twenty minute job, so if you know anyone that can teach you how to change your brake pads, ask. It really will save you in the long run
Find a good mechanic
Unless you have years of experience you won’t be able to do all the repairs yourself, so you will need to find a good mechanic. It’s important to shop around and find a mechanic you like and trust, so start by asking for recommendations from friends and family. Once you’ve found a good one, stick with them. They’ll get to know you and your car which will be beneficial in the long term.
Even when you’re using a mechanic, you always have the option to find the parts you need yourself. By cutting out the middle man and sourcing your own car parts, nine times out of ten this will save you money.
At the end of the day, looking after a car costs money. But you can reduce the amount you spend by investing time into simple ongoing maintenance. Not only does looking after your car help reduce maintenance costs, but it also means your car will be in great condition when it comes time to sell it. Putting in that extra effort means you’ll spend less money on your car over the years, but can ask a higher selling price – it’s a win-win!