Monday, October 25, 2010

Preventive Maintenance Saves Cash on Car Repairs in Long Term

Taking care of your vehicle properly can help you avoid a huge hassle (and a huge repair bill) later on. Even those of us who are not car savvy can learn some basic things to make our cars last longer and to prevent future problems.

Unless you have a car with space age technology that does not allow you to work on it yourself, you should invest in a car repair manual from the auto parts store. Even if you do not know how to fix the problem, you can at least have an idea of what it is. This made a huge difference for me when a repair person tried to tell me my transmission needed replaced. Based on what my car manual said, the linkage was just stuck and the repair was covered under the warranty I had. It's sad but mechanics do try to take advantage of those that do not know the basics of how a car works. It pays to do your research!

It is also a good idea to keep a few other things on hand in your vehicle so that you are prepared for simple repairs on the road.

  • Keep a battery jumper in car and know how to use it
  • Screwdrivers (flat head and Philip's)
  • Flashlight
  • Tire pressure gage
  • Car jack
  • Tire iron
  • Quart of oil
  • Container of Antifreeze
  • Old rags
  • Water
  • First Aid Kit
*Unless you have AAA or some similar type of service, you should consider knowing how to change a tire. This could save you $80 or more alone.

Once a month, you should take some time to check out the components under the hood to see if they need any servicing. This can help you catch problems early on to avoid a large hassle (not to mention the bill on top of it) and more inconveniences than necessary.

  • Check tire pressure and know what is recommended
  • Know what types of fluids the vehicle is required to use (consult owner's manual)
  • Check all fluids including oil, antifreeze, brake, transmission/clutch. and windshield wiper fluids
  • Make sure all belts and hoses do not feel brittle, are swollen, or have cracks or shreds