Automobile Maintenance is a necessary part of owning a vehicle but it doesn’t have to be heavy on your pocket. According to a recent survey, average Americans spend almost 2 percent of his annual income on auto repairs which is roughly around $800 per year (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). The stats don’t include the gas, motor, oil and insurance costs. Maintaining your vehicle can be costly but you can save almost half of cost by following a few simple steps.
Common Auto Problems / Issues
What are the most common automotive repair problems? How much do they cost? It is important to understand where you can save money by glancing through the most common pain points.
- Wear and Tear on the Tires: Everyday driving causes regular wear and tear on your car tires which is unavoidable. Worn out tires make your automobile unsafe as they become prone to skidding or slipping.
- Out-of- Aligned Vehicle: Alignment normally refers to the angles of the wheels to the suspensions. Damage due to regular use makes the suspensions vulnerable to bumps or accidents. If the angles get misaligned a lot of problems will occur, some of which could prove dangerous. An out of alignment vehicle can also burn a hole in your pocket as it could damage a whole array of parts.
- Low Mileage: Low mileage has several causes but not all of them require maintenance help. Some of these causes can be rectified by the owner easily. The average American spends annually $1000 on gas (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
- Transmission Issues: Transmission issues can cause a host of problems to appear in your vehicle such as humming in the engine, leaking oil, unresponsive gear or clutch, slipping gears and many more.
- Brakes and suspensions: Same as with tires, daily use wears out the brake pads and stretches the suspension springs making them vulnerable to damage.
5 Simple Maintenance Tips To Save Time and Money
Below are the 5 simple yet very important steps that will help you save a lot of time and money.
- Check tire pressure periodically
- Manufacturers attach stickers or emboss on the tires the perfect pressure reading. Make sure that you don’t go over that or under that. Inflated tires endure lesser resistance from the road and thus wear out slower than tires with low pressure. Check your tire pressure regularly and make sure you do that when the tires are cooler. If the air inside is warm then it will expand and will give wrong readings during check up.
- Change oil yourself or enroll in a discounted auto maintenance package
- Automobile motor oil needs to be changed 3 times a year on an average. Make sure that you buy premium grade oil with a life of 5000 miles and also research on which oil is best for your engine. Change the oil of your car yourself and you will be saving somewhere around a $100 annually in labor charges. The amount isn’t huge but at least it’s something. If you don’t have the time or the patience to do it yourself, enroll in an auto maintenance package which usually includes 3 oil changes per year at a highly discounted price.
- Check wheel alignment periodically
- Periodic alignment checks are a must as this can save a lot of unnecessary repairs and hundreds of dollars in labor charges, parts replacements, etc. You can do your own wheel alignment check by looking for signs such as oil leaks, a bumpy ride, vibrating steering wheel or steering wheel not centring, etc.
- Replace air filter
- Replacing the air filter yourself is among the easiest things to do but owners refrain from it. It involves removing the cover of the casing that contains the filter and replacing it with a new one. It looks and feels simple and could help you save a decent amount in a year.
- Perform small repairs yourself (with Owner’s Manual)
- If you are going to perform small repair jobs on your car yourself then the Owner’s Manual is your best friend. Study it well and start with the basic repair jobs such as tire pressure checks, oil changes, changing brake shoes, etc. For example you can change your car’s brake pads by following in detail the owner’s manual and studying it’s structure. Brake pad replacement can be done within 20 minutes and will save you both time and money.
Checking, diagnosing and repairing your car on your own isn’t such a difficult job. Some of these repairs can be done at home easily at its initial stages. Make sure that you catch the signs early on to save money on costly future repairs. All you need is the owner’s manual, a friendly mechanic who is ready to share his expertise and once you get that you can get down to saving money with your vehicle.
Do you need help with your Vehicle Maintenance?
Steve’s Automotive Specialist is a popular choice for automotive maintenance for car owners in and around Salt Lake City since 1977. We enjoy excellent customer ratings, A+ BBB Rating and are Gephardt Approved. We have shops in Salt Lake City / Millcreek area and in Sandy. More about our auto repair services.