For many people, the family car is more than just a luxury. It’s a downright necessity. We depend on our cars every day; to get to and from work, and to get the kids back and forth to school. So when the family car breaks down, it disrupts our very lifestyle. More than that, it puts a real dent in the family budget. Auto mechanics don’t come cheap, and even the smallest of repairs can really set you back. If it’s a major repair job, you may need to tap into your savings or take out some payday loans to cover the costs. That being said, there are ways to save on auto maintenance and car repairs, so when the unexpected happens you won’t have to go into debt to get back on the road.
#1 – Know Your Owner’s Manual
When most of us get a car, the owner’s manual gets tossed into the glove box never to be seen again. That’s a big mistake. The information in your owner’s manual is your key to maintaining your automobile, and avoiding costly car repairs. Now, reading your owner’s manual is not going to teach how to perform major car repairs, but it well teach you how to keep your car in good running order. That includes using the right weight oil, the best gasoline (leaded or unleaded), and the proper brake and transmission fluids. These are small things that will help you avoid any serious issues with your automobile. Your owner’s manual will also teach you how to replace fuses and light bulbs, so you can avoid the service station when it comes to simple tasks.
#2 – Finding a Good Mechanic
This is especially important, particularly if you have a foreign car. Finding a mechanic that you know and trust means that you will never have to pick one at random out of the phone book. That’s a big deal in an emergency, when you can easily end up at the mercy of an unscrupulous auto shop. Ask your friends and co-workers about their auto history, and see if they can suggest someone who is inexpensive and trustworthy.
#3 – Preventative Maintenance
This follows hard on the heels of understanding your owner’s manual, and finding a trustworthy mechanic. We’ve all heard the adage, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of medicine”, and that’s just as true for auto maintenance. Following your manual’s guidelines, be sure to have the oil changed regularly. Schedule routine tune ups to keep your car running efficiently, and to ward off any wear and tear that may result in an expensive repair job down the road. One simple tip, always keep your tires inflated to the manufacturers suggested pressure. This will help to prolong their life, saving you money on replacements.
#4 – Warning Lights and Signs
The warning lights on your dashboard are there for a reason, don’t ignore them. They can help you avoid costly repairs. If you oil light or engine light comes on, check with your mechanic to see what is happening. Cars have gotten fairly sophisticated, and those little warning lights will indicate when trouble is on the way. If you act promptly, chances are you can solve the problem before it gets any bigger, or more expensive.
#5 – DIY Maintenance
Some simple car maintenance tasks you can perform yourself. For example, replacing windscreen wipers, installing new tail lights and head lights, and changing fuses. Even these simple jobs will can be expensive when handled by a professional mechanic. Again, the more you understand your owner’s manual, the more simple repairs you will be able to handle yourself. If you have questions, ask the clerks at your favorite auto parts store. They have the experience you need, and are usually happy to help.
A major car repair can definitely set you back. However, if you take some preventative steps you can avoid some of the more costly car repairs. All it takes is a little foresight, and a bit of know. Use these five tips to protect yourself from unexpected, and unwanted, auto repair bills.