I was listening to a radio host joking about cars being cash cows for a wide-range of businesses. It was funny because it’s true, but cars are also a necessity for most people.
Recently, I had trouble with my car and hated the feeling of not having a reliable mode of transportation. Besides the inconvenience, it can also be expensive.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to keep your car running smoothly and minimize expenses.
1. Keep Up on Routine Maintenance
Make every effort to follow your car’s maintenance guidelines. For example:
- Change the oil based on what it recommends in your owner’s manual. The old “every 3,000 miles” rule is considered outdated.
- Keep the tires inflated and have them rotated.
- Make sure the timing belt is changed around 90,000 miles.
Your owner’s manual will have the full list, so look through it and create calendar reminders.
2. Find a Repair Shop You Trust
It helps to find a mechanic you trust and enjoy working with. Do your homework before scheduling an appointment and look up reviews for the mechanic you’re considering. You should also make sure the place you pick hires Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certified mechanics.
If you find a few you like, don’t be afraid to get estimates and see which one gives you the best price.
3. Get Your Own Tools
Doing some work on your own will obviously help you save some cash. One tool that is exceptionally helpful is a diagnostic code reader that works with your smartphone. Whenever a light goes off on your dashboard, this device can tell you what’s wrong so you know what you’re getting into.
This article links to how-tos on common car maintenance tasks like changing the oil and replacing brake pads.
4. Do Your Research
Thanks to the Internet, you can easily look up your car’s symptoms or what your mechanic’s diagnosis is. When my mechanic said I needed a new catalytic converter, I immediately looked up what others paid and experienced when theirs went bad (and it was definitely what was wrong with my car).
Don’t be afraid to tell your mechanic you need to call them back in an hour so you can do your due diligence and decide if you need a second opinion.
5. Take Advantage of Free Services
Many big chain stores offer free services such as:
- Tire rotation
- Battery and electrical tests
- Check engine light diagnostics
- Wheel alignment
Some even offer free memberships that allow you to get additional services as well.
Have you reached your limit with your current car? Take a look at our Member Showroom and start shopping for your new car. Our Loan Experts are also happy to help – 855. MY CU LOAN (855.692.8562).