Maintaining your vehicle is probably not the most exciting thing on your list. It’s worth the effort to pay a little more attention ( and money) to your car–for your safety and savings. These 13 tips will keep your vehicle in good condition and prevent you from buying a new one. Have a look.
13 Tips for Car Maintenance to Save Money
1. Make sure you have a spare tire.
As important as the other four tires under your car, it’s equally important to ensure the backup tire is properly inflated. It’s not a good idea to find out that your spare tire is flat when trying to get the jack from your trunk. It is better to spend just a few dollars at the pump to inflate your spare than to spend hundreds of dollars on a tow vehicle in your emergency.
- Maintenance tip Check the air pressure in your tires and spare tire once a month.
2. Change the oil.
How can you cut down on oil changes? Oh, plenty. Because oil can affect everything, it is one of the most expensive car maintenance problems. So please don’t skip it. Getting your oil (and filter) changed costs around $35-75.“>3 We understand that the price tag can seem high. This isn’t something you should play with. You cannot just stop running with your feet like Fred Flintstone. Do not get into an accident.
- Maintenance tip Change your oil every 5,000 miles, or follow the recommendations of your car’s manufacturer.
3. Make sure to clean the battery.
Corrosion (a white or bluish-colored powder that looks like a powder) can build up on the terminals of your battery (those knobs). The battery can crack or become unresponsive if it isn’t kept clean. A quality car battery can be expensive, and a tow may cost you more. It is worth $5 for a wire brush to clean the terminals.
- Maintenance tip Check your battery for corrosion twice a year.
4. Replace the brake pads.
Are you hearing a clicking sound when you press the brakes? Your brake pads may be worn out. If so, your brake pads may be about to fail. You cannot just stop moving like Fred Flintstone. Do not get into an accident. Make sure your brakes are working.
- Maintenance tip: Make sure to check the color of your brake fluid each time you change it. If the brake fluid is dark in color, it’s best to change it sooner than later.
5. Replace your air filter.
The car’s air filter prevents pollutants from getting in through the vents. This is a very important job, so make sure to take care of your air filter. An old filter can cause major damage to your air conditioner system. Trust us, this is not something you want. You don’t want that. While servicing an AC unit costs around $430-521 it can be replaced for $1,319-2.515. HTML4
- Maintenance tip Change your filter once every 12 months or 12,000 mi.
6. Replace your windshield wipers.
Depending on your car’s make and model, you can expect to pay $50-61 for replacement windshield wipers. However, safety is always the top priority. You shouldn’t drive if you don’t see the road. It. Isn’t. Safe. It will cost more to repair or replace your car following a crash than to buy new wipers.
- Maintenance tip Inspect your windshield wipers every season at the beginning of each new season and replace them if necessary.
7. Rotate your tires.
Rotating your tires every other day can increase the life of your tires. It’s true! It’s true! Tires on your car do not wear the same way. Your car’s tires don’t wear down the same way.
- Maintenance tip Rotate your tires once every 3,000-5,000 miles.
8. You should inspect the shocks, springs, and struts (aka suspension system).
Your suspension system is one of those complicated parts of your car you must consider. Until it stops working and your ride becomes bouncy like a trampoline park. You can replace any four shocks that you feel need to be replaced. It’s not fun, but it will improve your car’s overall health and safety.
- Maintenance tip Every 15,000 to 30,000 miles, check the shocks and complete the suspension system.
9. Make sure you check your coolant.
You run the risk that your vehicle will rust if you don’t change your coolant regularly. This is both dangerous and gross. Coolant can affect everything, from the heater and air conditioner to radiators and pumps. This coolant is important to your car’s overall health, and you shouldn’t skip it.
- Maintenance tip It is a good idea twice a year to check your coolant, once before the heat hits and again before it gets cold.
10. Check your spark plugs.
Spark plugs are a common cause of engine problems. They are easy to fix. You’d be surprised at how affordable a spark plug is. A spark plug generally costs less than $10! 7 This is a very small price to avoid major engine overhauls.
- Maintenance tip Change the spark plugs every 30,000 miles.
11. Check your belts, hoses, and buckles.
It’s worth checking your hoses and belts regularly to avoid costly repairs down the line. Other damage can be done to your car’s essential parts by worn-out belts. A weak radiator hose can cause engine overheating and make it not work at all. Running is a big part of the car engine’s job.
- Maintenance tip Replace your serpentine belt once every 40,000 miles and your timing belt once every 60,000 miles. Your hoses should be changed every four years or when they are showing wear.
12. Check your turn signals, headlights, brakes, and parking lights.
Tickets can be expensive and could increase your car insurance cost. Your lights are an important safety feature. They allow you to see other drivers and help you communicate. Avoid paying for tickets. Be safe. Check your lights.
- Maintenance tip Have a friend test the headlights and turn signals once a month.
13. Perform an emissions inspection.
Your car might need to pass an emissions inspection depending on where you live. It should pass easily if you keep up with your car maintenance. You should also know if it doesn’t receive a gold star. The emissions facility will inform you of what went wrong and what needs to go ahead so that your car passes the inspection and is safe and ready for use.
- Maintenance tip Remember to bring your vehicle in for an inspection at least once a year. Find out the requirements for your state from your local department of motor vehicles.
- Bonus maintenance tip For more information on how to buy, sell and maintain your vehicle, check out our Ramsey Car Guide
In your budget, set up a car maintenance line item
It can be costly to keep up with car maintenance, even if it is cheaper than major repairs. Keep your car in tip-top shape by ensuring car repairs and maintenance are included in your budget.
Start budgeting with EveryDollar today!
Sinking funds to pay for car maintenance is one of the best ways to do this. You’ll always have cash available if you put a little each month in the fund. You can also stash more money in the fund if you know something is coming (like new tires).
EveryDollar is a great budgeting tool that will help you manage your money. It has a sinking fund feature. It’s also free!