Cars can be expensive to run, and the timing of when things go wrong can be unpredictable. Being proactive and keeping an eye on certain aspects of your car can actually save you time and money in the long run.
Here’s our checklist of car maintenance tips that will help save you money.
Schedule Checks and Services
One of the top ways you can save money on maintaining your car is to book in regular checks and services. This may sound like spending money when nothing seems to be wrong with your car, but you should view it as keeping on top of maintenance tasks before anything becomes an issue.
For example, brake pads need to be replaced regularly and this is a fairly cheap job. But if you don’t replace them in time, you’ll cause damage to the brake discs, which is a far costlier job.
How frequently you get your car checked and serviced depends how much you drive. If you clock up a lot of miles every year, you’ll want to get your car checked more frequently than if you just use your car for infrequent local journeys.
Check your Windshield
Chips and cracks in the windshield from stones and debris are a fact of life. But catching them early is important. It’s important to clean your windshield regularly, which is good practice for visibility anyway. When your windshield is clean, have a close look to see if there are any chips or cracks. And make sure you get them fixed before they spread and get larger.
According to Auto Glass Repair Newark, fixing a chip or crack costs around $100. On the other hand, an extensive crack across the windshield can cost up to $500.
The cost of many car parts is fairly standard, wherever you go to get your car fixed. The exception to this rule is tires. The cost of tires can vary hugely, and it is worth shopping around to find a good price. Compare different brands and tire providers, and do some searching online too. Look out for special offers as well – many car tire brands will try to get your business by offering a deal if you buy multiple tires.
It’s always worth asking if your preferred supplier will offer a price match on a quote you have gotten elsewhere. You can apply this same rule to any car parts if you want to be sure you really are getting the best price.
You can also extend the life of your tires by practicing a few good driving tips. Stick to speed limits, and try not to start or stop the car fast – as this all wears out tires quicker. Also try not to hit the curb when parking on the street to help your tires live a little longer.
Check your Oil
There are many things a lot of people only feel comfortable having a mechanic do. But there are some things that are easier than you might think to do at home. Many cars have an oil light or alert in the car that warns you there is an issue with your oil. Don’t ignore it in the hope it will go away!
Oil is absolutely essential to the running of your car. If it gets too low, it will stop lubricating the parts of the engine. This can cause clunking and grinding that can damage engine parts that are expensive to replace. Sometimes oil gets too dirty, which can also damage engine parts and decrease fuel efficiency.
Check your oil regularly and keep tabs on the last time it was changed. Even if you decide not to change the oil yourself, knowing how to check it and monitoring its changes is a great place to start.
Ensuring all your lights are working in your car is an easy maintenance check to make every week or two. Headlights, brake lights and indicators are all especially important. Ask someone to help you so you can test if the brake lights work properly when you put your foot on the pedal.
Having lights that don’t work is dangerous and will also cost you money in fines if you are stopped by the police.
Invest in OBD2
If you want to take a more proactive approach to maintaining your car, it could be time to invest in an OBD2 reader. This pocket sized onboard diagnostics gadget plugs into your car and tells you a variety of details about the health of your car’s health. Many newer OBD2 readers work with apps, enabling you to access key information quickly and easily from your cell phone.
As well as helping you spot potential problems with your car before you experience any difficulties, an OBD2 scanner can also help you save on diagnostic costs when you go to a mechanic or repair garage.