It’s no secret that we’ve had a rough time lately. Jobs have disappeared. Savings are being depleted. Life is uncertain.
If you’re looking for ways to cut costs, you might have considered doing your own car maintenance or have even avoided having needed maintenance done.
Remember what your mom said, “just because you can, doesn’t necessarily mean you should!” Here’s a short list of what you can easily do to keep your car running well, and other things that you might want to leave to the professionals (but we’ll still tell you how to save money on those!)
- Every month you should clean the inside and outside of your vehicle. Dirt and grime builds up. Food left in the car is an open invitation for all types of animals to try and get in (from mice to bears!) Outside grime can damage your car’s finish and chrome. Bird droppings are particularly bad for the finish. Maintaining your car’s interior and exterior can also keep your resale value high. Plus, if you get a job interview you might be judged on the condition of your ride. You don’t need to go to a pricey car wash, get out the hose and a couple rags…you won’t need to even look for quarters!
- Keep up with oil changes. If you ignore these you might be looking at bigger, more expensive repairs in the future. You can do these yourself but they are usually inexpensive, so why hassle with disposing the oil, finding the right filter, etc.
- Keep your tires property inflated. This will cost you nothing more than a tire gauge. Improper tire pressure leads to poor braking, instability and more gas consumption. You also risk a flat tire. New tires can be costly, so it’s best to take care of what you have. Tire rotation is important, too. If you’re up for it – it’s a pretty easy job. But your favorite service repair shop can also do it for you.
- Check your windshield wipers. Install blades seasonally or at least twice a year to battle snow and heavy rains. Blades are much cheaper than an accident!
- Make sure all of your lights work. It’s nothing to change a bulb or a headlight and it could save you money if you get pulled over. There are plenty of videos to show you how to do both.
- Keep your fluids topped off. Antifreeze, windshield washer fluid, oil, etc all serve very important purposes. Failure to keep these vital fluids at proper levels can mean big problems to come.
- Keep your car insured. While it might seem sensible to not pay that premium when you’re short on funds – letting insurance lapse and/or driving uninsured is just asking for bigger – more expensive – problems!
- Replace your air filter. While a dirty filter probably won’t make your engine blow up, it could cause drivability concerns and cause sensors to get dirty and not operate properly. It’s cheap and easy to replace…you’ll be done in 15 minutes (really!)
One more thing. If you’re experiencing problems – and even if you’re not - check and make sure there’s not a recall on any of your vehicle’s systems. These recalls often cover broken accessories that provide safety or leaks that can cause fires…or worse yet, faulty items that can even cause death! Go to https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls and enter in your VIN number to see if you vehicle is under a recall notice. But don’t fall for repair shops that use these recall warnings as advertisements! The dealership can usually do these safety recalls at no cost to you! Check for yourself to avoid being scammed.
LEAVE IT TO THE PROS
There’s a reason there are auto repair shops. They’ve seen it all and done it all when it comes to problems with all types of vehicles. They also have the computer diagnostic capabilities when you have no idea what’s wrong. Whether it’s an issue with your engine, exhaust, electrical system, etc take control by visiting your mechanic and find out what’s really wrong. Your repair center should be able to advise on what MUST be done VS. what can wait.
Some problems might be minor now, but if left unfixed will certainly cause bigger problems down the road. Brake pads need to be replaced regularly and although you CAN do it yourself, brakes are nothing to be messed with. If you don’t have complete confidence in your mechanical abilities, hire a professional. DON’T IGNORE the grinding or rubbing because if you do, you might end up also needing to replace the rotors or calipers and or have a roadside emergency that will lead to towing costs on top of brake replacement.
Goliath.com offers this list of things that DIYers should not attempt to repair.
- Fuel Pump. ...
- Radiator. ...
- Engine Diagnostics. ...
- Windshield Repairs. ...
- Shock Absorbers. ...
- Timing Belt. ...
To read more about why you shouldn’t tackle these projects, visit https://www.goliath.com/auto/10-car-repairs-you-should-never-do-yourself/
And finally, if you do need major work done to your vehicle, don’t forget to ask about financing. Many auto repair facilities have financing options that are much less than credit card interest. Check out Pickering’s financing options here!
Additionally, keep an eye out for coupons that can help save you money. If you’re located or work in or around the Lakewood or Arvada and Westminster Colorado areas, you’ll find money savings at https://www.pickeringsauto.com/coupons
Stay Safe & Healthy!