Keeping Your Car Maintained to Avoid Expensive Repairs
By Steven De Nazareth
Updated: May 21st, 2019
It is quite a common practice among most drivers to put off routine car checkups until they face a breakdown. It’s quite often that vehicle repair charges leave a gaping hole in one’s wallet. However, the easiest solution to this situation isn’t really a solution, but foresight and caution. Regularly servicing your car, and maintaining your car between services is a good way to save on hefty repairs later.
Money spent on regular upkeep of the car, is money wisely spent. Prevention definitely is better than cure. Here are 7 simple tips to cut down on expenses at the mechanic shop. Here are tips that must be considered by owners of new cars. Also, these are tips for those of you who intend on taking better care of a car you’ve had for a while:
1. Timely Maintenance and Service
A well maintained car is more efficient and will help you save on money and fuel. It’s best to follow the car maintenance timeline as specified by the manufacturer or the dealer. Timely and regular service is the most efficient way to detect symptoms of problems even before they arise. This allows you to not only catch the problem before it gets out of hand, but also assess the car’s condition and performance on road.
To maintain your car in its optimum condition, it is ideal to have it serviced at regular intervals, possibly twice a year, though it depends on the kilometres run. Although an annual service is strongly recommended, there are certain other milestones that you need to be aware of – most manufacturers insist on a service or check up every few thousand kilometers. The checkups and services allows the mechanic to spot signs and indications of anything that might be troublesome.
2. Do Not Wait for Damage Before Replacement
Car fluids such as engine oil and radiator coolant must be changed and/or replenished well before they hit the minimum levels. Not only does this put stress on the car, but also slows down wear and tear, and ensures comfortable use of the car without glitches. Changing out coolants and oils is also something that can be done right at home, a quick check and fill which helps keep minor situations under control before they accumulate and surprise you with an expensive repair bill.
But not all parts need to be changed all the time. To avoid spending money at the mechanic’s unnecessarily, it’s helpful to stick to the schedule in your service manual. Many garages generally advise an oil change twice as frequently as your car needs! Avoid situations like these by consulting the owner’s manual and service manual, referring online, and using your discretion. More often than not, each car type requires a specific frequency and type of care.
3. Know and Understand Your Driving Pattern
Observe and make a mental note of the kind of driving you do most frequently. If the majority of your driving is through traffic in peak hours and requires constant stopping and starting, the frequency of engine oil changes might be rapid. Driving uninterrupted by stopping is always gentle on the engine and leads to greater efficiency and increased fuel mileage. The kind of servicing your car needs also depends a lot on the manner in which the car is driven regularly.
4. Stay Alert and Keep an Eye Open for Warnings
In the past few decades is not more, auto-design and manufacturing have begun to look at ease of use as a key element. Your car knows it needs a spruce up, and it will let you know! The symbols and warning icons that flash on the dashboard are best paid heed to. Understanding what they stand for and ensuring that the warning is looked at immediately saves time and prevents glitches from escalating.
5. Strong Tires Sustain the Car for Longer
Ensure that the car’s tires are properly inflated. This is because over inflated or under inflated tires can result in premature wear and tear and could cause a blow out, or lose traction and cause an accident. Likewise, cautious driving also goes a long way in maintaining tires and wheel rims. Driving into potholes and ditches cause dents in the rim, the repair of which turns out to be quite costly. Wheel balance and alignment are always to be kept in mind. Tires should be balanced, treaded as required, and rotated to keep the driver and passengers safe while on the road.
6. User Manual
Refer to the owner’s manual for guidelines and recommendations on how regularly you should have your car serviced. Skipping visits to the mechanic and not following the prescribed service schedule could jeopardize your car’s warranty. Ensure that the owner’s manual is always handy.
Written and compiled by the manufacturers and designers of your car, the owner’s manual is your go to guide for all, if not most queries concerning your car. If you do not have a manual, you could contact the dealership for another copy or simply download it off the internet. The manual will clearly tell you:
- The frequency of maintenance checkups required and how often you must get your car serviced.
- How often the car’s replaceable parts need to be changed or upgraded – brake pads, engine oil, coolant and the like need – to keep the car in its best condition.
7. Find a Mechanic You Can Rely On
Maintaining your car in top form isn’t always rocket science, and with proper and timely servicing it shouldn’t work out expensive or time consuming. However, at this point it is best to get your hands on a trusted mechanic and hold on to them. Getting your car checked at the same mechanic consistently will make detecting new and developing problems easy, and also save you money.
You could be taken for a ride if you do not choose the right mechanic. A good way to start is to get recommendations and suggestions from colleagues, friends and family.
Independent mechanics are generally less expensive than auto dealerships due to their lower overheads. Likewise, your dealer would certainly have a better understanding of the car and the faults that could show up. While choosing a new mechanic, the cheapest option isn’t always the best option. Get a second opinion if an extensive list of jobs needs to be done on your car. Comparing the costs and service plans of different mechanics will give you a fair impression of what works out best for you and your car. Get yourself a auto warranty quote and ensure that your car is in the best possible condition all year round.
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