A car ranks among the biggest purchases most consumers will ever make. Particularly in America, people are highly dependent on cars as a basic mode of transportation. Without them it would be difficult to get to work, run errands, and visit family and friends.
Most cars are driven at least 12,000 miles each year, with many being used a great deal more than that. A car that is well maintained runs efficiently and can usually be counted on for years of reliable service. Car maintenance, though a necessity, can be quite costly. This cost leads some vehicle owners to neglect having routine services performed on their cars. They think that since their car seems to be functioning normally that they can avoid things like regular oil changes.
The reality is that if a car does not receive the regular maintenance it needs, its performance will deteriorate quickly. A few neglected oil changes that might have cost approximately $25 apiece can turn into numerous costly repairs that may have the car owner spending upwards of $1,000.
Making sure regular vehicle maintenance services are performed will actually save the car owner money in the long run and there are a few ways consumers can save a little money along the way too.
If you have a garage or know someone who does, consider performing routine maintenance, like oil changes and tire rotations, yourself. It would probably be helpful to have a maintenance and repair manual for your vehicle to which you can refer as you perform the service. Call upon friends and family members who may have experience working on cars to lend a hand. Make it a party with pizza and beer and the work will be finished in no time.
If the thought of working on your own car gives you sweaty palms, then maybe a little Internet research is in order. Lots of mechanics, tire shops, and oil change centers offer coupons on their websites. While you’re doing some research, also look for special promotional deals, such as a repair shop that has a package deal. You may be able to get a tire rotation thrown in for free when you take in your car for an oil change.
Like any other product or service, you can find better deals on car maintenance by shopping around. Use the Internet, but also make a few phone calls. When a specific service needs to be performed on your car, call several shops in the local area and ask for quotes. You’ll likely be surprised at the wide variety of prices that will be quoted for the same or similar services.
Once your car is in the shop, beware of the extra services the technicians will likely try to sell to you. If you know that your car only needs an oil change, then stick with an oil change. The mechanic will want to sell a fuel line flush and a number of other services which it is entirely likely your car does not need. Stick to your guns on this and just keep repeating, no thank you.
Products like air filters and burned out headlights are another thing. The service person will probably want to sell and install replacement parts immediately. After all, your car is already there and being worked on. What could be easier? If your car really does need a new air filter or headlight and you really don’t want to tangle with changing them yourself, it might be a good deal. However, you’ll probably save quite a bit of money by buying the part at a supply store and installing it yourself.
Most urban areas have a community college or trade school that feature a program for training mechanics. Give them a call and see if they are looking for cars to practice on. Usually you’ll get the decent service you need at a substantially reduced rate.