Frugal Living Tip of the Month
Tip: Car Maintenance
How Much can you Save? $1,000 or more, per year.
Making it Work:
According to the 2014 Edition of AAA's Your Driving Costs, the cost of gasoline, tires and maintenance for a mid-sized sedan is 19.1 cents a mile. If you drive an average of 15,000 miles a year, that's $14,325 that will disappear from your bank account over five years.
However, there are a few simple steps that you can take to cut your car maintenance costs by 50-90%!
These strategies can help you to save big on car maintenance and repair:
1. Read your owner's manual. When you first acquire your car, read your owner's manual and frequently refer to its recommended schedule of maintenance. By following this schedule, you can ensure that any issues that develop with your vehicle are caught early, before they escalate into more expensive repairs.
2. Prolong the life of your tires. Underinflated tires raise your fuel costs by 15% and dramatically shorten the life of your tires. According to the ASE, most tires loose between 1 and 2 pounds of air pressure a month, so check the air frequently, such as when you gas up. Frequent tire rotation ensures that they wear evenly, further extending the life of your tires.
3. Perform simple maintenance tasks yourself. Labor accounts for 75 to 90% of your charge whenever you see a mechanic. Complete simple tasks that require little skill yourself, such as changing your air filter, wiper blades and lamp bulbs to save big on these costs. Changing the air filter also helps to reduce gas consumption as well, increasing savings.
4. Learn more detailed DIY automotive tasks. If you enjoy DIY tasks, and have high annual mileage, acquiring the skills and tools to change your own oil, spark plugs, and brake pads, as well as coolant flushes, will increase the amount that you are able to save on regular maintenance tasks.
5. Make friends with a mechanic. Check with your network of family and friends for recommendations for a mechanic. Smaller, independent garages usually charge less than dealerships. Dealership mechanics often look for additional work on the side and charge reduced rates, so ask around.
6. Visit and get quotes first. In addition to your network, check online sites for reviews and recommendations. Before you select a new mechanic or shop, visit first. You can learn a lot by seeing firsthand how welcoming the shop is and how the mechanic interacts with other customers. Obtain a detailed quote before the mechanic begins work.
7. Don't pay for work twice. If you need a repair that will require the mechanic to remove several parts to complete the work, go ahead and have those parts replaced if they are nearing the end of their life and will need to be replaced soon.
Since maintenance and repair costs add up to thousands of dollars over the years, it pays to take time to research the options that can help you reduce your costs.