Just like we take care of ourselves, eat the right things, and stay in shape, the same basic concepts apply to keeping our car in the best possible condition.
It’s always painful to have to dig into savings to pay for car repairs and even more difficult lately with how the economy is performing. But, to make sure we keep the value of our cars (possibly your most important asset) and minimize repair costs, here are a few simple, easy-to-remember tips.
Just as we keep hydrated throughout the day, our car needs to have the right type, and quantity of fluids. We simply need to check our car’s oil, coolant, and transmission levels. Your owner’s manual is a perfect place to learn about your car and get guidance on the layout of your engine. Here’s a helpful image which shows how to identify the oil dipstick in your car’s engine—you’ll need to make sure you have enough oil (make sure it’s full) and ensure the oil isn’t filthy. If so, it’s time for an oil change.
2. A Good Expert
Similar to having a great doctor we see for our annual exam, it’s important to find an honest, trustworthy expert auto technician. A fabulous mechanic will help make sure your car is kept in good working shape. To find a good mechanic, take a look at resources such as RepairPal’s comprehensive auto shop directory or an online directory such as Yelp. The old-fashioned referral from a friend works well too.
3. Be Safe
Driving efficiently (driving slower) will naturally save money at the gas pump. Check out Drive55.org, which talks about the benefits of keeping speeds down—from saving gas to reducing fatalities.
4. Heed Warning Signs
If your car’s dashboard lights illuminate, give your trusted mechanic a ring. (You can also check your handy owner’s manual too—learning the basics about your car and the repairs you need will help establish a rapport and show your mechanic you know what you’re talking about.). Delaying a repair could trigger irreparable damage (yikes!) to the car and result in a painfully more expensive fix. And make sure you know the fair price to pay for any upcoming repairs or maintenance by checking the RepairPal Repair Price Estimator before you take your car in to the shop.
5. Manage Pressure
Keeping your tires pressure in check is an easy way to improve gas mileage. By keeping a check on your tires you’ll also be able to sniff out a potential tire leak, a much less expensive repair vs. buying an entire new tire. Check out FuelEconomy.gov for more information.
While I wouldn’t be caught in public without a coat of mascara, the cosmetic appearance of our car is important as well. Simple things such as keeping your car washed, regularly waxed, and ensuring dents and dings are taken care of, you’ll better preserve the value of your car as well as prevent long term issues such as rust and fading.
What’s great about these tips is that it’s exactly what we think about when we take care of our own bodies. The best part here is that we can save loads of money by taking these preventative measures.