On the Money: Car Maintenance

Once your new car warranty expires, you may begin to encounter a series of small repairs that can quickly become large projects if you do not address these problems at once. Car maintenance can be costly, but putting this off can lead to even more expensive repairs. Happily, if you budget accordingly, you can pay for your maintenance as needed, avoid expensive repairs and keep your car in top shape for longer.

1. What you spend. What did you spend on car costs last year? Pull out your maintenance and repair costs from your total costs, separating auto insurance, registration fees, fuel costs and taxes from the pack. This will be a good starting point to anticipate what you might spend in the coming year. Yes, have a calculator on hand as you can tabulate your figures with accuracy and ease.

2. Consider upcoming costs. If you have owned your car for some time, some of the more significant maintenance issues may be due. This can include replacing your timing belt, installing a new muffler, buying a new set of tires or something else. That something else may be listed in your owner’s manual, so pull that book out too. Look at the manufacturers’ maintenance schedule and compare it with your odometer. Plan to handle maintenance issues you have missed as well as those that are coming up in the next 12 months.

3. Divide and conquer. With last year’s figures in hand and your projected costs known, add these together. Divide that number by 12 to calculate your monthly average. For instance, if you estimate that maintenance will cost you $1,800 in the coming year, then you will need to set aside $150 per month to cover your expenses.

4. Stash your cash. You know how much is needed for the next 12 months and how much each month that you should set aside. You can break this down further by dividing the annual total by your number of paychecks and set that amount aside for car maintenance. Thus if you get paid ever other week than divide that $1,800 by 26 to arrive at nearly $70 per pay period. Open up a savings account and plan to fund it accordingly.

Looking Ahead

You may also want to set aside additional money toward the down payment on your next car. In fact, with careful planning, you may be able to pay cash for your new car too. Don’t put off your car maintenance savings plan or the work that needs to be done. A well maintained car will last longer and keep you and everyone else safe as well.

Save Money With Do-It-Yourself Car Maintenance

Regardless of whether the left headlight blew, the tire has a slow leak, or the brakes uncontrollably squeal, there is nothing worse than feeling the vulnerability of turning to a mechanic or auto repair center to solve your problems. Many times, mechanics sense your desperation and wish to take advantage of it, charging higher prices for a simple job. Then, there are the individuals who believe taking their car to the dealership for repairs will save them money, but they, too, provide an inflated price list.

When car owners take car maintenance into their own hands, the savings are often extremely beneficial. For starters, do-it-yourself car repair allows individuals to compare prices on the tools and car parts needed to complete a job. Many times, auto shops use products that they have bought at wholesale prices, but then increase the cost to customers. When repairing your own car, you will probably be more willing to seek out the deals on spark plugs, lights, and fuses in order to do the job for the least amount of money possible. You may also choose whether or not you want to purchase new or used car parts, which often costs considerably less.

The Top Do-It-Yourself Car Maintenance Jobs

There are numerous car maintenance jobs that drivers often tackle. Demanding only a small amount of supplies. Changing your own oil is a common maintenance activity that is rather easy to get the hang of. To make sure your automobile has an effective fuel system, learning how to change an air filter is also a helpful skill to possess. Sometimes a fuel filter will need replacing and many car owners have learned to complete this job as well.

Spark plugs should be replaced every two years and car owners will save money learning how to do this task on their own. Batteries should also be changed every four to five years. You don’t need a mechanic to handle battery problems. This job is completely easy to master. Additional car maintenance duties to consider includes replacing the disc brake pads, replacing drum brakes, working on the ignition coils, jump-starting a car and change your electric fuel pump.

Finding Resources to Help With Car Maintenance

When it comes to finding assistance with your car maintenance goals, there are plenty of resources that make these sorts of jobs much easier. One of the best places to start with involves a thick booklet you probably stuffed in the glove compartment: the car owner manual that came with your automobile. Depending on how long you have owned your vehicle, you may or may not still possess this publication.

If you have misplaced this booklet or it doesn’t clearly address your problems, you should get hold of a car book that is specific to your vehicle make and model. There are numerous approaches to consider, starting with purchasing one from an auto supply store, such as AutoZone or Pep Boys. Surfing the Internet for car repair websites is also a nice way to get the important details needed to fix a car. Depending on what type of site you visit, you may have to pay a fee to access various information.

To save money, car repair manuals can be taken out with a library card or photocopied from the library. These books are usually thick and heavy, filled with every aspect of car maintenance and repair. One of the most well known of car repair publications is the Chilton series of auto maintenance, which offers do-it-yourself help for cars ranging from Toyota Camrys to Ford Escorts.

When Not to Explore Car Maintenance

Beginner do-it-yourselfers may save a lot of money by learning how to change their own oil and oil filter, fix windshield wipers, and check the fluids. Tire maintenance, spark plugs, installing a car audio system, or even fixing a broken muffler are all reasonable jobs a non-professional can learn how to do. But larger jobs, such as installing a new alternator, some radiator and carburetor work, as well as engine and transmission repair might fall best into the hands of professional car repairers.

Although self-car maintenance is a real money-saver, you don’t want to place yourself in danger when repairing your vehicle. Some jobs require the knowledge of a professional to truly complete, so if repair instructions seem too difficult to grasp, you might have to surrender and pay a visit to the local auto shop.

Have Your Service Repair Manual With You and Save Time and Money

When your vehicle shows signs of any trouble, the first thing you need to do is to identify the problem. No matter whether you are going to take it to a mechanic or going to do the repair on your own, the first thing is to identify the problem. The first tool you need for the job of trouble shooting is the service repair manual of your particular model of vehicle.

Since these manuals are not given by the car dealerships when they sell cars, you need to purchase them your selves. The easiest way to purchase one is to go online and download it from a website that has these manuals for sale. These are instant downloads that you could purchase and download within minutes. You could download your service repair manual as a PDF file and save it in your laptop or there is the possibility for you to print it. Whatever the way you have it, refer to it when you need to trouble shoot and locate a problem.

Once the problem is located, it will be necessary for you to figure out whether you could do the repair at home or whether you need to take your vehicle to a mechanic. Also, if you noticed the problem while you are driving, you need to decide if your car could be driven home or it has to be carried to the workshop. Once you have found these answers, you could take action.

In case you could do the repair yourself, you could dismantle the particular part. In case your windscreen vipers stopped working, it is quite possible that your viper motor has given way. Your service repair manual will tell you how to check if the motor is burnt or if the problem is a burnt fuse. In case you trace the problem to the viper motor, you could purchase a new one. The part number will be there in the manual. You only need to go to the spare parts store and tell the shop keeper the part number. He will provide you with the right spare part.

Once you bought the replacement motor, you could refer to your service repair manual and install the motor in the right way. Test if the vipers are back to normal. Naturally, they will work fine. You have saved a lot of money and time because you had the service repair manual of your car with you.