Photo: “1968 Honda S800″ by Rob
We all know that with the economy the way it is that everyone is looking to cut corners to save a bit of green. Sure you can purchase the generic brand of green beans or cut back on fast food; but most people don’t know that maintaining your own vehicle will save you more money and more time than anything else! Here are five automobile repair tips to save you money on car repairs.
One, check all your fluids regularly. By regularly I mean every fuel stop, or at least pick a day out of the week to check them in the morning when the engine is cold and again in the evening when the engine is warm. Which fluids do you need to check? Transmission, power steering, engine oil, and coolant overflow. How do I check the fluids? Put your car in park and make sure you are on level ground. Consult your vehicle manual to check the fluid levels as it is different for every make and model.
Two, change your oil and air filter. Typically, car manufacturers recommend you change your oil every 3,000 miles. If you do a lot of long haul driving without towing anything then you can go 3,000-5,000 miles. Air filters should be checked and changed if they are dirty. If you live in the country and your road is made of dirt then chances are you’ll change it more often than someone who lives in New York City. Consult your owner’s manual if you have any more questions about the air filter. Now, changing the oil can be tricky but it’s pretty easy for anyone to do. Go to the parts store and if you can drive a different vehicle than the one you will be changing the oil on. The parts store guru will be able to further assist you with their books and knowledge about your specific make and model.
Three, check your tire pressure. It is labeled on your tires the PSI amount that needs to be in your tires. Typically, it’s around 32 PSI for your average tire. Consult the outside of your tire or your vehicle manual for your specific PSI range. If you have less than a 1/8th of an inch of tread left then it’s time for some new tires.
Four, keep up on recalls issued by the company. These can be safety recalls or engine-related recalls, like the wrong piston size for that specific cylinder. The best place to go would be a dealership of your make, or check the manufacturer’s website for more info.
Five, if you need a mechanic, don’t take it to a back-alley “technician.” You need to take your vehicle to a vetted and trusted mechanic with a clean shop (the MOST important thing), a clean parking lot, and a certified symbol on the outside, in the window, or on the inside. In the United States mechanics go through a rugged process to become certified, (ASE). In other countries like Canada, mechanics have to work as an apprentice and take certain courses to qualify as a licensed mechanic. It varies from country to country but make sure wherever you go the establishment has a licensed mechanic with some type of certification being displayed.