No one really likes to spend their hard-earned money on auto repair services. But what some people forget is that you really have a choice between auto maintenance costs and auto repair costs — and the former will both be lower and reduce the latter. And some maintenance tasks are so low in cost that there’s really no excuse for not doing them. Here are five that are sure to pay for themselves over time:
- Keeping Up on All Fluid Checks
Sure, you know the importance of getting your oil changed. But are you as attentive about your coolant and water levels? Overheating could cost you the entire engine. Have you checked your brake fluid levels recently? Inadequate or contaminated brake fluid can lead to brake failure. Having a tech check these things at your local auto repair shop won’t cost much, but you can also learn to do them yourself in between mechanic appointments.
- Putting On New Wiper Blades
It’s important to remember that wiper blades degrade whether you’re actually using them or not. That means you should be changing them out on a regular schedule — at least once but ideally twice per year — to avoid getting stuck in a storm with low-performing windshield wipers. Since decreased visibility could lead to a serious accident, it’s worth the $20 or $30 new blades will cost.
- Changing Out the Air Filters
Your air filters allow air to flow through the engine properly and ensure efficient operation, and changing them often will even improve your car’s fuel economy. Your owner’s manual will recommend a schedule for changing your filters, but you should know that poor acceleration and trouble starting your car are also signs you need a new filter.
- Getting Regular Tire Rotations
For some reason, people often think that getting tire rotations is expensive, but in reality it’s likely to cost around $20 (it’s not easy to do at home without specialized equipment, so that small fee at the shop is well worth it). This will give you better traction and handling, decreasing your likelihood of an accident, and extend how long you can go between new sets of tires.
- Cleaning Out Your Own Garage
This doesn’t fall under the category of auto maintenance or auto repair services, but it does affect the lifespan of your car. Set a weekend aside and clean all the boxes out so the garage can serve its intended use: protecting your car from the elements.
Are you more likely to get regular maintenance if you know it will reduce your need for auto repair services in the future? Discuss your maintenance habits in the comments.