This article, entitled If you forget any of these six car tips, give a stack of cash to a mechanic now comes from SavingsAngel.com.
While winter conditions can be tough on vehicles, a little TLC and some preventive care can keep you safely on the road. What’s more, it can help ensure you don’t have to make more costly repairs in the future.
Are you doing all the following for your car?
b>Regular oil changes
Think of oil as the lifeblood of your car. It keeps the engine operating smoothly and decreases the friction between moving parts. Too much friction and those parts will wear out, warp or break.
So it’s really important to have not only enough oil but also clean oil in your engine. Traditionally, we’re told to change the oil every 3,000 miles or 3 months, whichever comes first. Some newer vehicles suggest you can go longer between oil changes. Check your owner’s manual to be sure.
Oil changes take about 15 minutes and there are plenty of quick lube shops or express options to be found. Depending on the type and amount of oil you need, an oil change can range from $15 on sale to up to $50 or more. However, on average, you can plan to spend around $25-$30.
After oil changes, tire rotation is probably the next most frequent car maintenance you’ll need to do. Tires need to be rotated regularly to ensure they wear evenly. Uneven tires can put you at risk for a blow-out or could even affect your vehicle’s alignment. In addition, some tire warranties may be void if you don’t rotate them on the recommended schedule.
Check with tire manufacturer for specifics, but in general, you’ll want to rotate tires every 8,000 – 10,000 miles. Some tire shops will rotate for free if you purchased tires from them. Otherwise, you may pay around $15 for this service.
Around the same time you rotate the tires, you probably want to have your brakes checked. You don’t want to wait until they start grinding before heading to the shop. At that point, you could be doing damage to your brake components.
Instead, take them in regularly for a quick look-see by your mechanic or at the local brake shop. The best thing about brake inspections is they are often free. Of course, if the inspection reveals you need new brake pads, then you could be paying up to a couple hundred dollars to have them installed. A lot of money, for sure, but it’s definitely cheaper than getting into an accident because your brakes fail.
Once upon a time, every car came with a mandate to complete regular tune-ups, usually every two years or 30,000 miles. However, today’s cars typically don’t require the same tune-up schedule as those recommended in the past. Even the tune-up itself has changed dramatically as car technology has evolved.
Still, tune-ups are the equivalent of a physical for your car. Filters, spark plugs and belts may be replaced. Valves may be adjusted in older vehicles, and fluids topped off. In addition, the tune-up is the perfect time for your mechanic to do a once-over of your entire system and alert you to any potential problems lurking beneath the hood.
Tune-ups are more expensive than other forms of maintenance, but you don’t need them as frequently either. The price varies depending on the type of car and any extra work that might be needed, but expect to pay a couple hundred dollars for most vehicles. But remember, for that price you can expect to increase your vehicle’s lifespan and well as improve your gas mileage.
Car washes in the winter
Ok, car experts are a bit divided on this one. Some say car washes in the winter can lead to water getting into window and door seals, freezing and causing problems. On the flip side, driving around with all that salt caked to your undercarriage probably isn’t doing the metal on your car any favors.
The compromise might be to wait until there is a break in the weather and then head to a full service car wash that will clean as well as dry your vehicle. It could cost as much as $10, but you’re protecting your vehicle from rust as well as avoiding the possibility of walking out of the store to find the words “Wash Me” written on the windshield.
If you’d like to learn all the top tips to saving money, buying, selling, and using your car, make sure to check out our Car Savings eCourse.
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