By: Jeff Slokum
The upkeep of your vehicle can be quite an expense - from initial purchase to insurance to maintenance. And sometimes we get the sinking feeling that every time we need a car repair, we’re going to get taken for a ride. (pardon the pun!) Actually there are some ways to make sure you don’t get a raw deal when dealing with a local body shop.
After you get recommendations for honest mechanics, call around to check out the prices for certain jobs. It’s always smart to get a second opinion.
How about some preventative medicine? Keep your gas tank filled. This will help you avoid the gas line freezing up in cold weather. Also, driving on “fumes” allows little pieces of dirt at the bottom of your gas tank to run through the fuel lines with the last drops of gas. This debris clogs up the fuel filter and can cause carburetor damage as well.
Sometimes a problem with your car’s electrical system results from a simple blown fuse. Check to see if you have any blown fuses before investing in a tow truck!
Keep track of how much oil your car uses. A sudden change in oil consumption means you need to see a technician.
Save your brakes by having your brake fluid changed every 30,000 miles.
Check your tire pressure once a month. This simple maintenance check can add up savings at the gas pump!
Stop and go traffic causes excess wear and tear on your vehicle. Go ahead and give your car a nice twenty minute ride at 55 mph on the highway every couple weeks if you “major” in short trips.
There are other ways to save money on car expenses. Let’s look at the insurance payments.
If you’ve budgeted for possible out-of-pocket expenses in case of a car accident, you might want to consider increasing your insurance deductible to $500. This will lower the cost of your insurance.
Talk to your insurance agent. If your car is as old as the hills, you might want to drop collision coverage to save money.
Car insurance companies offer a variety of discounts. Ask your agent if the company offers reductions for driver training courses, anti-lock brakes, car alarms, air bags, mature drivers, good students or maintaining a good driving record.
Before you purchase from a dealer, ask about the dealer's return policy, get it in writing and read it carefully. Dealers are not required by law to give used car buyers a three-day right to cancel.
Visit http://www.fueleconomy.gov to find cars that are fuel efficient.
Each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.10 per gallon for gas.
In most cases, using cruise control on the highway will save gas.
Replacing a clogged air filter can improve your car's gas mileage by as much as 10 percent. This isn’t going to cost you an arm or leg either.
Do your homework when buying a car from an auction. Many vehicles that have been damaged by floods and hurricanes are going on the market. These won’t last long – leaving you with a flood of bills. Be a little concerned if the carpet looks too new, and check carefully for signs of rust.
Carfax.com shares info on inspecting a used car to make sure you get the best deal.
If you use your car for business, keep track of miles traveled so that you can use this for a tax deduction. Get more info at irs.gov.
When you consider all the ways you can save money on your current vehicle, you might be persuaded to put away the extra each month for a new car down the road!
This article was posted on August 20, 2005