If you are like many drivers, you may have regularly traded in your vehicle after several years of ownership to get the latest model. Because of the economic crunch this country suffered several years ago, however, hanging onto your vehicle for a few more years may make more sense financially. Learn about some ways to prolong your car’s life.
Regular preventive maintenance is one of the most important tasks that you can do to ensure that your car runs smoothly, and it actually takes only minimal effort and money to do. By referring to your automobile’s service schedule in the owner’s manual that came with your car, you will find the service and replacement schedule clearly spelled out, using either miles or months. One item you should pay special attention to includes flushing the cooling system on a periodic basis, as any unforeseen problems in the radiator could lead to the engine overheating; this would require replacing the entire engine, which can cost several thousand dollars. Another important area you cannot overlook is the condition of your timing belt, which usually requires replacement anywhere from 60,000 to 105,000 miles. Although servicing and replacing it may seem like an expensive precaution to take, it is much cheaper than replacing the entire engine if the timing belt were to snap while you were driving the vehicle.
You can save money by extending the amount of time between oil changes. Although many service manuals still adhere to the age-old rule that an oil change should be performed every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, this is not really necessary when it comes to modern car engines, as they are much more efficient and can go as long as 10,000 miles between oil changes. You can also keep expenses down by not using the dealership’s service center to perform any maintenance or repairs on your car, as you can expect to pay about 30 percent more than at an independent mechanic’s shop. If you are trying out a new garage, give them a simple job to begin with, such as an oil change, to see how they treat you. For example, if you feel pressured by the mechanic to have costly repairs made, you may want to get a second opinion before agreeing to do this.
It can be a challenge to find a reputable automobile mechanic whom you can trust, especially after the warranty has expired. You can ask your relatives and friends for the names of any mechanics that have worked on their cars and whether or not they would recommend them. You can check with one of the websites on the internet that provide reviews of companies and services in your area, although you may be required to register with them or even pay a small fee in order to get the results. If you belong to an automobile club, they will often have a list of mechanics on their website that they recommend. When you finally decide on a mechanic, however, be sure to verify their standing with the Better Business Bureau, which can alert you to any prior problems they may have had with former customers
In this uncertain economic climate, it just makes sense to try to keep your auto repair bills to a minimum. With a little preventive maintenance, you can nip small problems in the bud before they have a chance to turn into large ones.
Education goes a long way! Don’t get taken advantage of on your car repair work.