The average car will last well beyond 100,000 miles. Used car sales and their values remain strong, and recessionistas are looking for ways to keep their older vehicles in tip-top shape. Here are 10 tips that can increase the life of your car while saving money.
1. Dust off your owner’s manual.
The owner’s manual of your car lists preventative maintenance schedules specific to your car’s make and model. Scheduling service appointments for routine maintenance such as oil changes, tire rotations, and engine checks will ensure that important preventive maintenance services are done in a timely manner.
2. Learn to do simple repairs yourself.
Save hundreds of dollars by doing some simple repairs yourself. You can learn how to change wiper blades, replace your air filter, change the oil, or replace your battery. Do your homework, get the tools you need, and remember to safely dispose of any liquids that come out of your car. See if your community college has a basic car care class, which will not only teach you much needed maintenance tips but will make you a smarter car consumer.
3. Keep it clean.
Waxing your car not only makes it shine, but it protects the finish on the car. Most experts recommend waxing 1-3 times per year. With spring is in full bloom, save your interior from sun damage by parking your car in the shade or use a windshield cover. This is especially important if you are looking to sell or trade-in your car.
4. Comparison shop for repairs.
When your car requires a repair that costs a considerable amount of money, check with 2-3 different dealerships or mechanics for estimates. Get estimates from various parts of your town, as prices can differ depending on the neighborhood. To search for Certified Women-Drivers Friendly™ service dealers in your area, visit Women-Drivers.com.
5. Use what’s available: car pool or take public transportation.
Hop on the bus or light rail; not only will you save gas, but you can use this extra time to get in some reading, get a few emails or texts handled, or, more importantly, unwind from a busy day.
6. Conserve fuel.
If you are the one driving the car pool, investigate alternate routes at rush hour to avoid stop-and-go traffic patterns. Bumper-to-bumper traffic is tough on brakes and gas mileage. On longer trips, use the cruise control setting to save 5-10 percent of gas per gallon. Never drive at high speeds with your windows rolled all the way down; this will waste fuel. Avoid constantly pressing the accelerator when driving; coast when you can. Keep your tires well inflated; check the pressure monthly.
7. Head to the pump more often.
Make an effort to avoid driving while the tank is below 1/4 full. Keeping a gas tank that low can increase the likelihood of dirt, debris, and rust forming in the fuel system.
8. Take a look at your accessories.
When upgrading your vehicle, it can be cheaper to buy certain accessories directly from another company. Accessories such as GPS units and specialty floor mats or rims can be hundreds of dollars less when purchased through the internet or big box retailer.
9. Inspect your car daily.
Something simple like paying attention to leaks can save money on costly repairs. Knowing the color of fluids will make it easier to detect the problem and will also tip the service manager that you know what you are doing. Brown fluid is engine oil; bright green or orange fluid is anti-freeze or coolant; clear or light brown fluid is clutch or brake fluid.
10. Know when NOT to scrimp.
While it may be tempting to buy a less expensive part for your car, it’s not always wise. Buying a high quality auto part will ensure peace of mind and will save money in the long run. Make sure that all vital replacement parts are of high quality and recommended by a dealer or advisor that you trust.
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