One thing I just hate about owning a car is paying lots of money to fix things when they break! Brand new cars don’t seem to have as much of an issue in that respect. But, when you’re rolling around in a car that’s more than three years old, things start breaking!
Some people think that cars just aren’t as well-made as they once were. Of course, that’s a matter of opinion. The technology that goes into building a car today is far more advanced than it was twenty or thirty years ago. Still, just because manufacturing processes have improved doesn’t mean today’s cars are 100% reliable!
You are probably reading this blog post because you want to find out how you can save money on your car repair bills, am I right? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading and you’ll learn the tips and techniques needed to keep your car in tip-top condition. Here is what you need to know:
Make sure your car is regularly serviced
It doesn’t matter whether you drive around in a Kia Soul or a Ferrari LaFerrari. What does matter is that you stick to the car maker’s recommended service intervals. The thing about cars is they are all mechanical devices. Even the ones that run off electric power only!
Anything mechanical will need replacement parts at some point to ensure the machine’s longevity.
It’s the same thing with cars! One of the secret ways to cutting down on your repair bills is to deal with problems early.
Let’s say that your car has a faulty alternator. If you keep driving with a faulty alternator, it’s likely you will damage your car battery as well. And, even if it doesn’t get damaged, it will have a low charge and soon be unable to crank your engine!
Regular car servicing will ensure that all major components on your car get checked for problems. Should an issue appear during the service, you have the chance to put things right before it turns into an expensive nightmare.
So, when should you get your car serviced? The answer is “it depends.” Some cars have a service schedule of 12 months or 10,000 miles. Others might have longer intervals (usually newer models).
The best thing to do is check your owner’s manual and see what it specifies in there for your particular vehicle. Should you not have the manual for your car, phone up or email your local dealer to check.
Consider taking out a warranty on your car
You might not be aware of the fact, but it’s possible to buy warranties on used cars! If you’d rather not take a gamble on paying four-figure sums on repairs, for example, a warranty can pay dividends.
There are some things those warranties exclude, such as “wear and tear” items like brake discs and pads. But, for cutting the cost of major repair work, they can prove to be a valuable expense.
It’s worth doing a search online and seeing what deals you can get for your car. Just bear in mind that used car warranties don’t usually cover vehicles older than 12 years. If you’ve got a brand new car, you’ll be pleased to know that your pride and joy already has a warranty from the manufacturer!
To entice new car buyers, some manufacturers offer seven-year warranties! As you can imagine, that’s a great way to cut down on the cost of expensive engine repairs.
Invest in a service plan
In recent years, many places that offer car servicing provide service plans. But, what exactly are they? In a nutshell, service plans allow you to spread the cost of your regular servicing and maintenance fees.
More often than not, you are also given a discount on your servicing costs. You also don’t get charged interest as technically you aren’t borrowing any money. For plans that offer servicing discounts, it makes sense to take them out. Even if you’ve got the cash to pay for everything upfront.
Service plans are also usually protected from price increases. Although, as with anything in life, it’s worth checking the “small print” for any exclusions to that rule! One of the brilliant things about service plans is that you can tailor them to your requirements.
For instance, with the first year’s work you might also want to pay for an air conditioning service. In the second year, you may wish to have your brake fluid replaced. The service advisor can help you come up with a suitable service plan for your needs.
Perform weekly health checks on your car
Getting your car serviced each year is one thing. But, you still need to perform regular checks on your pride and joy to ensure it doesn’t break down before the next service interval! The good news is that weekly health checks won’t take long to carry out, and anyone can do them.
In fact, they are so easy to do, you can perform them anywhere! So, what kinds of things should you check each week? Here are the most common things you need to add to your checklist:
- Engine fluid levels;
- Screenwash fluid;
- Tyres (condition and pressures);
- Brake discs and pads; and
- Exterior lighting.
As you can see, there isn’t a massive list of things you need to check each week. They are visual checks, so you don’t need to remove anything (other than caps for refilling fluids). You also don’t need any special tools to carry out your weekly car health checks either.
I recommend doing the checks each weekend as you’re more likely to have time to organise any repairs that are needed for the following week.
Before you carry out the above checks, it’s important you know the location of where various items are on your car. For instance, where are the filler necks for the various engine fluids? If you’re not sure, you can always refer to your car’s owner’s manual.