8 Tips for Saving Money on Auto Care
Auto care is a fact of ownership that will extend the life of your car, truck, or other vehicle. And the cost of good auto care does add up. While car insurance typically covers the cost of repairs after an accident, car owners are on the hook for repairing failed parts and routine maintenance.
Fortunately, there are many ways to rein in those costs, starting with how you drive.
1. Drive with Care
How do you drive when you’re running late for an appointment? There is a direct correlation between driving style and a car’s long-term performance. Rushing over speed bumps and across potholes can wear down your suspension and take a toll on your tires. Treat your car as if you want it to last. If your car appears to be overheating or the check engine light goes on, take these warnings seriously and head to a trusted repair shop.
2. Follow Routine and Preventative Maintenance Recommendations
Have you familiarized yourself with your car’s scheduled maintenance guide? This handy booklet outlines all of the important maintenance steps suggested by the manufacturer. It will also provide a sense of how much of your limited dollars to budget for inspections and oil changes. While you’re at it, put your own maintenance routine on your calendar. Keeping an eye on the tires, battery, and other parts can help you avoid costly problems later on.
3. Protect Car from the Elements
In Arizona, it’s especially important to protect your vehicle from the heat. Exposure to higher temperatures can wear down the interior and exterior of your vehicle over time. Driving in colder climates requires other precautions, as well. By avoiding harsh weather conditions, in general, you may limit undercarriage rust and other wear and tear that leads to a need for repairs.
4. Research Reputable Auto Repair Shops
If you don’t have a relationship with a trusted mechanic or auto repair shop, it’s time to create one. Online reviews and word of mouth are both good sources of information on trustworthy auto repair shops. If you’re concerned about a pricey estimate, even if you trust your mechanic, it’s still acceptable to get a second or third opinion if possible. This will provide a more realistic idea about the range of charges you will be facing.
5. Research Repairs and Fair Pricing
It’s always disorienting to be charged for a repair without any idea of what the cost should be.
When you’re given a list of suggested repairs, find out more about the individual items. Perhaps some items are more urgent, while others are optional. Online auto forums focused on your vehicle make and model can be a good source of information when your car starts making a strange grinding sound or performing unusually. Websites like auto MD May help you narrow down possible diagnoses.
Keep in mind that these opinions may contain inaccurate assumptions. Websites such as RepairPal and AutoMD offer estimated price ranges for common repair jobs by the make of car and location. An online search will at least give you an idea of what to expect. The more you know about the cost of individual repairs and the reasons for them, the more you can make an educated decision about how to move forward.
6. Combine Repairs and Maintenance When Possible
Next time you get a flat tire or need a new battery, use the opportunity to find out what’s causing that rattling sound. Since labor is typically charged by the hour, you might be able to save a few bucks by combining necessary repairs with other items that need to get done anyway.
7. Buy Discount Parts Online
If an expensive repair is necessary, there may be a way to get that price down to something more affordable. Do you know which parts will be tacked onto the final bill? It may include markups on items you could get for less on your own. Websites such as Parts Geek and AutoBarn are possible sources for parts at more competitive prices. Find out about shipping and other charges to get an accurate comparison. It may also be wise to double check with the shop first to ensure they can use parts you got on your own.
8. Change Your Own Oil
This last one isn’t for everyone. But changing your oil is a simple process and relatively easy way to cut down on auto care expenses. An oil change typically costs between $35 and $75, according to Kelley Blue Book – more with synthetic oil. Doing so will require making a small upfront investment in oil, filters, and tools. But you’ll be more in control of scheduling and oil quality. It’s also a big timesaver, and time, as they say, is money.
For all the information you need about registering, insuring, and owning a vehicle in Arizona, visit AZ Auto today.