I own a car. I guess you own a car too. Millions of people all over the world own and drive cars. Some cars are sleek, beautiful and expensive. Some are beat-up, ugly and cheap but they all take us from one place to another. Since they are utility assets and very handy to us in the performance of our daily chores, it is imperative that our cars are kept in a good state of repairs and maintenance at all times. Many of us earn limited incomes. That is why we usually have very tight monetary budgets to guide us to spend our earnings from month to month. When it comes to money, a saving here and there is usually beneficial and available for diversion to an area where there is a shortfall. That is how millions of people all over the world live their daily lives. Taking very simple steps to look after your car helps you to save plenty of money some of which may appear insignificant at first glance. A cumulative annual estimate of these savings usually amazes many people because it becomes substantial at that level. To save money on the maintenance of your car, you need to do the following regularly without fail. That way, you could save 20%-30% on your cost of car maintenance annually.
01. Ensure your car is road-worthy. Many people drive cars that are not expected to be on the road again, either because of the ages of the cars or their poor maintenance records. A car is a machine, and just like any other machine, it has an economic life span depending on its maintenance records. It is always advisable to rest any car that has become too expensive to maintain. The bottom line is cost. You can always trade in your old beat-up car for a newer model if the cost of maintaining it has become prohibitive.
02. Tune up your car regularly. This should be done at least once a month. A poorly tuned-up car uses up to 30% more gasoline each year. It is cheaper to pay for and regularly tune-up your car than to let it be. This you can do at your regular car maintenance garage if you can not do it yourself. Your regular car maintenance Engineer or Mechanic may even at times tune-up your car for you free of charge.
03. Regularly change the oil and oil filter in your car. It is not enough to just change the oil, you must ensure you use high-grade oil as recommended by your car maintenance Engineer. Follow the owner's manual religiously and change your oil at 2000-4000 kilometers of regular driving depending on the make of your car. More frequent oil changes play a very significant role in extending the life span of your engine. Any time you change oil, ensure the oil filter in changed too. These oil change expenses will more often than not pay for themselves in savings on repairs and engine wear.
04. Check your tire pressure regularly. Tire pressures should be checked at least once a month. Low pressure tires cause "drag" in your car which makes it to require more gasoline to maintain speed. You can lose up to 4%-6% in gasoline mileage for every pound of under-inflation. Compared to the cheap cost of keeping your tire pressures inflated to recommended standards, gasoline loss through low pressure tires is considerable.
05. Check your engine air filter every month. A dirty air filter shortens the engine's life and reduces gasoline mileage up to 10%. You can clean up the filter by removing it and blowing accumulated dust particles off it with an air hose, or you can replace it when you notice significant damages to it.
06. Use only recommended tires. Ensure you use the right type of tires for your car as recommended by the manufacturers. Alternatively, steel-belted radial tires have a wide acclaim for safety so you can use them but you must make sure such tires are not expired. Using good tires with the right tread and radial size can increase your gasoline mileage from 5%-10% per year. This amounts to plenty of savings.
07. Check fluid levels regularly. These should be checked every morning if the car is old and once a week if fairly new. Low battery water shortens your battery's life. Radiator coolants, automatic transmission fluid, brake and clutch fluids are fluids that must be available and in the right viscosity and gauge to enable your car function properly. Any one of these fluids that is short or empty can lead to improper functioning of your vehicle. That can expose it to brakes failures and other problems which could lead to engine damage or even crashes. Engine damage is by far more expensive to repair than these routine maintenance checks.
08. Use only recommended gasoline for your type of car. Unless your car is so old and completely beat-up, it is proper to use unleaded gasoline. Even though in many advanced countries, there are various grades and prices of gasoline, a costlier gasoline adds no specific advantage except it is your car manufacturers' preference. Take the advice of your car maintenance Engineer because for most cars, premium gasoline offers no significant benefit. Unless your car has a high-performance engine or your car manufacturers recommend high-octane gasoline, use the less expensive one. You can save 5%-10% on fuel costs annually if you use the right fuel that is of lower cost.
09. Ensure your car tires are balanced. You can add thousands of kilometers to the life of your tires by having them balanced twice a year or even more often if you drive regularly on rough roads. In addition to destroying the tread, improperly balanced tires can wear out your shock-absorbers and damage your suspension system, leading to higher expenses or even accidents.
10. Ensure your car tires are properly aligned. Check your tire alignment regularly say about four times a year depending on the type of roads you drive on. Poor alignment leads to uneven wear on such tires particularly the front tires. It can reduce the life span of tires and may expose them to other more dangerous damages. Compared to the cost of buying new tires regularly, the cost of regular tire alignment is insignificant.
Budget stretching is inevitably everyone's concern these days. Saving costs therefore particularly on essential and regular expenses is a smart thing to do particularly in these hard times. You can save plenty of money on your car maintenance expenses if you take these tips to heart. That aside, it is good to think safety all the time even while lowering costs. I wish you a happy and cost-effective motoring.
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