November 16th, 2018 | Updated on June 5th, 2019
When you’re on a tight budget, every little bit helps. There are some corners you can cut, but you can’t exactly skip important things like car maintenance.
When you skimp on car maintenance, you could be unintentionally damaging your car, which could cost you more in the long run.
But when you learn basic car maintenance, you can save a fortune on repair work. Here are a few tips to help you save money with DIY car maintenance tips:
1. Check your own oil
If you’re paying a mechanic to change your oil, it’s likely costing anywhere between $20 and $50 every three months or so. Fortunately, oil changes are a relatively easy thing that almost anyone can learn to do. Whatever you don’t skip oil changes.
Oil is essential for your car to function properly. It helps clear out the gunk and reduce friction around the engine’s moving parts.
To keep your car running smoothly, check your oil once a month and top it off when necessary. When you’re doing this service yourself, you can actually stay on top of things and keep your engine running better than when you were paying someone else to do it.
2. Check your fluids
When you get an oil change, the auto mechanic will often top off your fluids. So it’s especially important to handle this whenever you’re doing your own oil changes. If you run low on something like coolant or antifreeze, you run the risk of breaking down on the road. This is an unexpected expense that could have easily been avoided.
3. Change your air filter
You know how the mechanic always seems to bring out your dirty air filter when you get service? They’re always trying to get you to replace that thing… because it’s pretty important. There will be times when you can remove it and shake out the dirt, and there will be other times when it needs a full replacement. This isn’t an expensive job, but you can save money by purchasing an air filter from an auto parts store and popping it in yourself.
4. Check tire pressure and tread
As you might have guessed, the wheels on your car are pretty important. No one wants to get stuck with a fat, especially in extreme weather. If your tires aren’t properly inflated, you’re at greater risk of a blowout and your car won’t use fuel as efficiently as it should. This means you’re burning through more gas and wasting money.
You should know that your tire pressure fluctuates naturally with temperature changes. With every 10-degree dip, your tire pressure may drop by one pound. So, it’s especially important to check tire pressure in the winter months or whenever there’s a large change – even if your tire pressure light doesn’t illuminate.
Tire tread is also important because poor tread will compromise the integrity of your tires. You’ll be more likely to skid in rain, snow or ice, and your tires will be more susceptible to blowouts.
Check your tread with the penny test. Place a penny inside the tread with Lincoln’s head facing down. If you can see any of his head, it’s about time to get new tires.
5. Replace your own windshield wipers
Windshield wipers may seem like a convenience item, but they are a matter of safety. If you can’t see what’s ahead of you, you’re always at risk of crashing. Spent wipers are particularly dangerous during rain, snow and night driving conditions. This inexpensive fix could save you from the danger and expense of getting into a car accident.
Car maintenance is one of those things that only gets more expensive when you ignore it. You may think you’re saving money by driving on old tires or stretching out an oil change beyond recommendations, but you’re actually putting your car at risk. The only way to save big on car maintenance is to do the small stuff on your own.