Owning a car is an expensive proposition. There’s the cost of maintenance, insurance and fuel, all of which continue to rise. And there’s depreciation. The easy solution is to not have a car. But for most people, that’s not practical.
We’ve put together a collection of simple tips that can help you save big in the long run. We’ve also included some ideas for reducing fuel consumption to help you save even more money. Have you got some car maintenance tips? Share them below.
Change Your Oil
Clean oil keeps your car running smoothly. Dirty oil increases friction and shortens the life of your engine. Change your oil as directed by your car's manufacturer – or more often if you're on the road a lot. You can save even more by learning to do it yourself.
Check Your Fluid Levels
This is another easy tip that anyone can follow. In addition to your oil, be sure to check your transmission fluid, anti-freeze/coolant, power steering fluid and brake fluid. Your car's manual will show you how. Proper fluid levels will help your car run smoothly and reduce future maintenance costs.
Check Your Tire Pressure
Driving around with incorrectly inflated tires shortens their life and increases your gas consumption. An easy way to remember to check your tire pressure is to do it whenever you gas up.
Check Your Spare Tire
Keep an eye on your spare. It should be correctly inflated and ready for use. If you forget to check it, you may find that it's flat when you really need it. And that will result in a hefty towing bill.
Don’t Use Expensive Premium Fuels
The British Automobile Association says that there is little reason to use high performance fuels as they don't do much for regular cars. Unless you're driving a hot sports car that demands special gas, don't bother.
Don’t Fill ‘Er Up
A full tank of gas makes your car heavier and less efficient. Keep the gas gauge between ½ and ¾ and you'll get more bang for your buck.
Buy Your Own Parts
If your car needs repairs, find out what parts are required and how much your garage is going to charge you for them. Then check to see how much it'll cost for you to buy the parts directly from a supplier. Most auto repair shops are fine with letting you do this. If they're not, find another garage.
Use Real Windshield Washer Fluid
Don't cheap out and use water instead of proper windshield washer fluid. Water will freeze in the winter, causing severe damage to you car's windshield washing system – leaving you with an unnecessary repair bill.
Change Your Air Filter
The air filter helps your engine breath clean air. They're cheap, a snap to change and increase fuel efficiency. If you live in a dusty or urban area, change the air filter every three months or so.
Here's an easy way to reduce your fuel consumption by as much as 30 per cent: don't be a lead foot. Accelerate gradually and you won't waste fuel.
Use the Right Gear
If you drive a standard, choosing the right gear can help reduce your fuel consumption. You should be in the highest gear possible without working the engine too hard.
Read the Manual
Read your car's manual for specific tips on increasing fuel efficiency.
Head to the library and check out the repair manual for your model to see what repairs you can do. The more that you can do yourself, the more you'll save.
Skip the Air Conditioning
Air conditioning is a huge gas suck. Unless you're melting, try to keep it off. Roll down the windows and enjoy the fresh oven-like air!
Remove the Roof Rack
If your car has a roof rack, take it off if you're not using it. A rack or carrier adds wind resistance and you end up using more fuel.