For many of us, cars are a vital part of our everyday lives. Unfortunately though, looking after a car and keeping it running can be very expensive. You can keep your costs to a minimum, however, if you are careful with your money. Here's how to save money on car maintenance.
1. Shop around for the Best Price
Both garages and mobile mechanics will charge very different prices for jobs to be done, so it is well worth ringing a few different companies to get a list of quotes, especially when getting an annual service or buying new tires. Then, you can look through and see where is the best place to go. Just remember, don’t travel so far that it is not worth the saving you make on the work being done. There is no point in travelling miles and miles to save $20 if it’s going to cost you that much in gas.
2. Drive Carefully
Your car really will gain a lot more general wear and tear if you don’t drive sensibly. Try and drive economically, and don’t speed, constantly brake sharply or skid. Also, try not to use more force than is necessary with your gear stick, handbrake, or doors.
3. Do What You Can Yourself
Some people go to garages for simple top-ups of screen wash, and new light bulbs. This is completely unnecessary, and expensive especially because there are gadgets to help, such as a diagnostic sensor. If you’re not sure how to do something, then you should refer to the owner’s manual, which will be full of helpful information, including what types of parts you need. This makes it possible to buy and fit parts yourself. If you no longer have the manual, then ask someone in the know to show you how to do it, or look it up online. But if you really must take your car to a mechanic, why not ask them to show you how to do things so you can do it for yourself the next time around?
4. Use Your Contacts
It’s often all about who you know, not what you know. Whether you know a mechanic personally, or your next-door-neighbor’s aunt’s brother-in-law knows someone who can fix your car for you, use your contacts to get yourself the best price. Many mechanics will do special rates for friends and family members and for more distant contacts if they offer to recommend them to others.
The other advantage of using a mechanic that has been recommended or that you know is that they are far less likely to try and rip you off. Sadly, if a mechanic realizes that you have very little knowledge about cars, they can sometimes invent a lot of problems that your car doesn’t have so that they can get more money off of you.
5. Share Your Skills
If someone down the road knows a lot more about cars than you do, then why not ask them to help you with your car in return for sharing some of your time or expertise with them? You could offer to babysit for them, do some gardening, or anything useful that you have to offer.
6. Check Your Tire Air Pressure
Both under inflation and over inflation can cause problems for your car, so check the air pressure regularly. You should do this when your tires are cool, if possible, so the readings are accurate. If you tires are at the right pressure, you won’t only save money on maintenance but on fuel too!