Car maintenance is not just important to your car; it is also a good way of saving yourself a few bucks which you could otherwise have to part with if you let the matters to the level of involving a mechanic. Maintenance is not that hard, though, you only need to be on the watch to know what to do and when to do it best.
Do your own inspection. It’s basic, but gives your car a once-over periodically so you catch anything that looks out of the ordinary. Make sure all your lights are working. Check the air pressure in your tires every month or so (and buy a cheap tire air pressure gauge and keep it in the glove compartment).
Learn to check your fluids. Even if you don’t ever learn how to change your antifreeze, power steering, coolant, or even your wiper fluid (although seriously, don’t let someone charge you to change wiper fluid), you should learn how to check those fluid levels. If you’re running low, add more (if you can) or get it changed. Most importantly, never ignore a leak.
Check your oil and get it changed regularly. Whether your car has a dipstick to check the oil’s color and oil level or the dipstick has been replaced with an electronic gauge, you should know how to check it. Knowing the difference between clean oil and muddy, murky oil will save you a ton on unnecessary changes and gives you a way to tell if something’s wrong with your engine (e.g. the oil looks terrible but you just had it changed).
Replace your engine air filter. Getting to the engine air filter may be a little trickier depending on the vehicle you have, but replacing it regularly is important.
You may not have to be the perfect mechanic to keep your car on top form. But you can still manage simple DIY tasks to keep your car in the best form. Oil changing, air filters, battery conditions, fluids and other simple maintenance are easy tasks you can do all by yourself to keep your car in the best condition without having to involve your mechanic.
In trying to live a more frugal life, I’m getting better at handling projects that I used to pay professionals to do. In addition to home improvement projects, I’ve learned that I can save plenty by taking on some auto repairs and maintenance jobs myself.
Trust me; I’m not an auto expert. I’m not even very mechanically inclined. But I’ve found the kinds of repairs that just about anyone can handle quickly and easily, with minimal expenses.
An oil change can cost $40, and having your spark plugs changed professionally will run you about $60. The list goes on and on. You can easily slash these eight auto expenses by taking the repairs on yourself – saving perhaps thousands of dollars over the life of your vehicle.
But remember, one of the biggest steps to any DIY project is knowing when not to do it yourself. If you need a partner, seek out a neighbor who also wants to save money and learn more about cars, or take the opportunity to teach your kids some auto basics. Just be sure that you know your experience level, and don’t try a DIY project that’s too big to handle. Don’t risk injury or take apart pieces that you can’t put back together.
Otherwise, you can learn a new skill, teach others, and save yourself a few bucks all at the same time.
As much as you may want to save some cash and yet keep your car in shape, you have no choice than parting with a considerable sum of cash to keep your car safe and reliable. Servicing once in a while is good for your car, and best if done by a professional, which by far surpass the costs involved.
Why should I have my car serviced regularly?
There are many good and important reasons to have your car serviced regularly. Regular servicing extends the life of mechanical components, ensures that your car is safe and roadworthy, is likely to make your car more reliable, provide greater economy and increase your resale value. Cars that are not regularly serviced are more likely to breakdown and have their owners pay excessive amounts for car repairs. Regardless of how well you care for your car, all cars need professional servicing.
What does a car service include?
The requirements for your car’s service will really depend on the make, model and any obvious problems, but any service should always include:
The engine oil being changed
Replacement of the engine oil filter
A thorough safety check
How often should my car be serviced?
The best piece of advice here is to check your owner’s manual. This will specify how frequently your car should be serviced and the most important components and systems for checking.
For older cars, an oil and filter change is necessary every six months or 10,000km (whichever comes sooner) at an absolute minimum.
Generally speaking, a car should be serviced at least every six months (and therefore twice a year). Of course, if you notice that your car is underperforming, this is a sign that attention is necessary.