When you buy an automobile, you may budget for your monthly payment or insurance costs but overlook the expenses you’ll incur to maintain your vehicle. To help you keep those costs down, we’ve put together some tips on car maintenance you can do yourself.
One of the most important things to maintain is your vehicle’s oil. You’ll need to have your oil changed every 5,000 to 7,000 miles, depending on your car, which means you may need to have your oil changed multiple times per year. While it can get a little messy, the process is easy, even for first-timers. The cost of an oil change at a garage can range anywhere from $30 to $100 dollars. By doing it yourself, you’ll only need to cover the cost of new oil.
Having your car’s belts replaced can add up quickly, mostly due to the amount of labor involved. The belts themselves are often affordable, making this a good DIY project if you have the know-how to replace them on your own. Check with your local auto store to determine which belt is right for your vehicle. When your car’s engine is cool, pop the hood and loosen any tensioners that hold the current belt in place. Remove the old belt and install the new one, tightening any tensioners or pulleys after you’re done. You may need some extra muscle to get the new belt in place, but the effort will save you some cash in the long run.
When you change your oil and oil filter, it may be a good idea to check your other filters, too. Air filters can become clogged with debris, so it’s often a good idea to swap them out at the start of a new season. The air filter can often be changed without any additional tools, so this is an easy DIY for anyone. Pick up the right filter at your local auto supply store based on your vehicle’s make and model. While you’re completing other vehicle maintenance, change your air filter to keep your air conditioning and heat blowing clean air into the cabin.
Your car battery will periodically need to be replaced, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take proper care in the meantime. When looking at your car battery, you’ll want to make sure the terminals are clean from any build up or debris. You can use a mixture of equal parts water and baking soda to remove any corrosion on the terminals. Keeping your battery clean and in good working order will reduce the risk of getting stuck with a dead battery in the future.
It may seem simple, but the appropriate tire pressure can save you money on gas as well as keep your tires performing better. First, you’ll want to find the correct tire pressure for your vehicle, often located on a sticker inside your driver’s door frame or in the owner’s manual. Once you know the appropriate levels, use a tire pressure gauge to determine if you need to add or remove air from your tires. Don’t forget to check your spare tire, too! Setting a reminder to check your tire pressure monthly is a good practice to keep your tire maintenance top of mind.
Taking on some car maintenance is a great way to save some money and learn more about vehicle upkeep so you can make sure your car or truck is running smoothly for years to come. For more money-savings tips, visit our WalletWorks page.