A well-maintained car has good resale value and the capability to serve you for the longest time possible. Many car owners equate proper maintenance with excessive expenses they are not ready to meet.
This is far from the truth. By making the best choices and deciding wisely, you can save unbelievable amounts money on car care and maintenance.
The first thing to know is that car care and maintenance is not one-size-fits-all. Each car model is unique in its maintenance requirements.
Therefore, the first step in saving money is to know your car’s maintenance schedule as this is dependent on the car’s make, model, year of manufacture and mileage.
Taking care of each car part and all the other little things mentioned in the maintenance schedule will help you avoid unnecessary maintenance that could run into hundreds of dollars.
Besides reading and applying your car’s maintenance manual, here are a few applicable tips that can help you save money yet achieve the best from your car in terms of value and longevity.
1. Always Check Your Fluid Levels
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You do not have to be a mechanic to understand how to check and even replenish the fluid levels of your car. Most of the car parts that use fluid are readily accessible under the hood. You just need to look closely.
The common fluids you need to check and possibly replenish include engine oil, coolant, transmission fluid, brake fluid, windshield washer fluid, clutch fluid (from manual transmissions), differential fluid and power steering fluid.
You will do well by checking each of these fluids every time you get your engine oiled. Less than recommended fluid levels can cause premature failure of your transmission, engine, power steering system, as well as the differentials.
Regularly checking your fluid levels and replenishing them could potentially save you thousands of dollars in preventable repairs. Since certain fluids come in more than a single formulation, make sure you use the correct fluid for your car before doing anything.
2. Check Your Tire Pressure Frequently
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A car with the right tire pressures is well balanced and safe to drive. A way to save money on your care is to always check the pressures in each tire. Tires offer the contact point between the car and the road.
Many things on the roads such as boards, nails, rocks, tree branches as well as other debris can damage them. Furthermore, tires tend to lose air and leak naturally.
Check tire inflation as frequently as possible and correct the inflation where possible. A good advice is to check your air pressure when the wheels are cool to take readings that are more precise. Additionally, you need to inspect your car tires visually for any cracks, signs of wear, bulges and slipped belts among other abnormalities.
Underinflated tires will reduce your mileage to the tune of 15 percent and reduce the life of your car significantly. Over-inflation, on the other hand, will create balloon effect and will predispose the tires to significant and immature wear.
Replacing tires can be extremely costly. Checking your tire pressures frequently, making corrections and keeping the wheels well aligned will save you a lot of money and limit any chances of having a blowout in the middle of the interstate.
3. Frequent Cleaning and Vacuuming
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The best way to extend the life of your car and save a lot of money in the process is to keep your car clean. Cleaning and vacuuming the interior of your car frequently will keep it looking good and new and lengthen its time.
A car is like an extension of a house and your house that is not cleaned frequently wears out prematurely. Things like dust, dirt, sand and salt particles can adduct to the car paint and ruin its finish.
Salt is the culprit when it comes to rust and corrosion. It is therefore important to wash the exterior of your car on the first warm day of winter to remove any remnants of salt. Piling salt may also increase the rate of failing brake lines. Having the salt washed for a few dollars will save you hundreds in brake line replacements.
The interior is more sensitive to dirt than the exterior. A clean interior will be fresh and hygienic. Cleaning will extend the durability of the floor mats and seats; increase the aesthetic appeal of the car and make the car safe for all who use the car. It will also extend your driving safety.
Take care of your car interior to save money on maintenance.
4. Use the Right Products
If you buy a new car, you will most definitely receive a user manual containing information on how to care for the automobile. Most manufacturers will recommend the right products that will be less harmful to your car. For instance, when changing any part, it is vital that you only use a compatible replacement part. This is not limited to car parts.
When it comes to cleaning the exterior or interior of your car, you need to be careful of what cleaning agents you are using. The best cleaning agent must be able to remove grease, organic residues (such as food fragments) and germs on plates.
There is often confusion on whether to use liquid dish soap or specialized car washing soaps available in the market.
Well, you can save money by using the former but be careful not to wash a car regularly with dish soap because it could shorten the life of your car wax.
5. Maintain Your Battery Properly
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Although it is fact that very cold temperatures can reduce your battery power by as much as 50 percent, summer temperatures should be more worrisome. The heat of summer has tremendous effects on the internal mechanisms of the battery, which may cause premature death of the battery.
To increase the life of your battery and save a few bucks, make sure you clean the battery terminals as frequently as possible during summer with a mixture of baking soda and water on a bristle brush.
Also, tighten the cable connections. Expert advice is that you need to take your battery for testing if it is three years old or more. This way any problems can be solved before the battery dies helping to save you money for a replacement car battery.
Always be careful when handling the battery to avoid accidental electrocution.
6. Change Your Cabin Air Filter
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Imagine living in a house with inadequate and dirty furnace air filter. Chances are that all the family members will suffer from allergies as well as other medical conditions resulting from breathing in impure air.
Cabin air filter does the same job in the car as that done by furnace air filter. It traps harmful dirt and debris that could act as allergens from reaching the occupants of the car.
A clean cabin air filter will keep the air fresh, and save the money you could otherwise use in buying medications to treat allergies and other conditions.
During these terrible economic times where money never seems to be enough, you need to seize any opportunity you get to make savings. One way is to save on your car care.
Check our article on how to save on car repair bill by doing things on your own.
Following the above tips can help you save thousands of dollars and eventually ensure your car attracts good resale value if you choose to sell it. If you love cars then a good resource for all information on automotive is available at here.