For as much pleasure and freedom a car can provide, it can also stress you out with problems and repairs. You’re certainly not alone. If I listed all the quirks my own car has (resolved and yet to be), I’d put you to sleep and myself in a mental institution. I’ll do the opposite by providing proactive tips and info just for you!
Words of the Wise – Common sense things I’ve learned.
Used versus new – You’d think with all the repairs a car can require as it ages, it’d be cheaper to have a younger car. Not so true, I’ve learned. The new car, being more valuable, is very expensive to insure. The yearly increase in your insurance bill could dwarf the yearly repairs costs of a used car.
Don’t put it off – Learn to fix and check your various lights before you get a ticket when one burns out – the difference between several hundred dollars and just a couple. Check the tread on your tires before they rip open on the freeway. I had to bail out my friend once because of this very thing. My whole day was wasted. Another example: Under the hood of my own car, there was a problem where oil was going thru tubes and hoses not meant for oil. I observed jolts of power loss and bad fuel economy, ignoring both for months. I ended up paying $500+ to replace parts that rotted out. I could have avoided rotted parts had I fixed the root cause sooner.
Jumper cables versus tow truck – You may not notice that you need a new battery until your current one won’t crank at all one morning. Dilemma: keep $50 jumper cables in your trunk or pay an extra hundred or two waiting a couple hours for a tow truck to bring you the very same thing. Print this guide so you don’t electrocute yourself. 😉 If you drive a stick, learn how to push start your car!
These are 3 tips that keep you from losing a mountain of money versus very little. MSN Money has 17 more tips if you’re interested.
Utilize coupons & various discounts – They’re not just for groceries and clothes. Here is a list of Free Mania blog posts and a couple links that help you save some money:
AAMCO – Car Inspection – Check Engine Light Reading – FREE!
Firestone – Get $10 off a basic oil change plus $25 off a break service, and many more.
Castrol – Print coupon (Adobe Acrobat format) for $5.00 off your next oil change. This is an ongoing promotion.
Meineke – Take advantage of Meineke coupons you can print right now. Get a basic oil change for just $19.95.
Jiffy Lube – Print this coupon for $5.00 your next oil change at Jiffy Lube. Expires 1/1/10.
Midas – Get offers and oil change reminders when you join the club.
Pay for advice?! – Never! Google is your friend.
Online forums and communities exist centered around cars and car repair. You’re likely not the only one hearing a weird particular noise under the hood, etc. Or maybe you just proudly fixed something yourself, saving $$$ in the process. Take pictures and write up the steps to help others.
Online communities are an amazing resource for car troubles. Search old posts to see if someone had your same problem. If you think no one’s heard that strange noise, post a new topic. Car enthusiasts, certified mechanics, and simple proactive car owners like you will share their ideas and experience.
I own a VW. I’ve used the VWvortex forums to replace my battery and replace my dashboard headlights switch. They have a community of experts and many DIY guides written by forum members.
To find the right forum for you – I used to drive a Saturn car, so I did a Google search for “saturn car forums”. The first result was the Saturnfans.com Car Forums. If you own a Saturn, click that link to have free access to thousands of posts covering every topic of Saturn cars imaginable!
To find your forum, just try a search for ‘[your brand] car forums’ using Google.
I hope these tips have opened new insight for making your car troubles cost a lot less or even be totally free! Drive safe!