7 Things Every Car Owner Should Know – To Save Money

10:33 am Consumer

Engine BayDennisB DenLorsTools.com © Summary: It’s a fact that everyone likes to save money. Sometimes it’s hard to know the right way to save money on your car. For instance, delaying certain things can save money for awhile but may end up costing more in the long run. It’s important to consider how long you’re planning on keeping a car too, when doing certain repairs. Delaying some repairs may also cause the car to be less safe or not as dependable. In this short article I’ll cover seven things that new car owners need to know to save money on their car.

Save on costly repairs by maintaining proper fluid levels. Checking fluid levels and maintaining proper levels is one of the most important things in maintaining your car. Most people know that running an engine low on oil can cause damage. But did you know that overfilling is likely to cause a mess on the driveway and that over-filling the oil in an engine can actually create massive oil leaks? It’s true. Too much oil can blow out seals and gaskets. Some car manufacturers have rather long oil change intervals. This is because of the quality of the oil nowadays and better designs. But, it’s possible that the oil could be dangerously low from leaking or burning, before it’s “time” to change the oil. Be aware and check all fluids often. The older the car is, the more often the fluid levels should be checked.

Signs of a bad battery. Batteries commonly fail after a couple of years. Even more expensive brands often fail after two years has gone by. Sometimes you will get no warning. Other times slow cranking will be the sign that you battery is failing. If this happens, check to make sure an interior light was not left on, or that a door wasn’t left open etc. Get the battery load tested at garage or a parts store. In some cases, low battery voltage can also cause the car to run erratic especially at idle. The cars computer relies on proper current for everything to work as designed. If you can replace the battery before it leaves you stranded you could avoid the inconvenience and expense of a tow.

Tire pressure and tread depth are very important. Tires, including the spare are somewhat porous and it’s common for them to lose some air over time. Tire inflation is monitored by the car’s computer on some models (the spare is usually excluded). On some models you have to check all of the tires manually. In the worst case scenario, a low tire can blowout resulting in an accident. Some Ford Explorers that had blowout issues with Firestone’s in the early 2000’s even rolled causing deaths. Firestone was blamed for this problem and this was the primary reason the Government made a move towards requiring all cars to have TPM (Tire Pressure Monitoring) systems after 2007. Even if your car has a TPM system, the pressure should be checked manually at every oil change because there’s a certain thresh-hold that the TPM will flag an alert. This means the tires could be low enough to cause uneven wear and lower fuel mileage even though the warning has not been triggered yet. Keeping the tires properly inflated will save money because the tires will last longer, mileage will be improved and there’s less chance of a flat caused by low pressure.

Check lights for safety. Check all lights occasionally. With the absence of car inspections in many states, more cars are driving around with lights out. Who wants to be notified that there’s a brake light out by a police officer handing you a ticket? Keeping all the lights working properly can possibly save you this expense.

Check wiper blades for best visibility and to protect the windshield. Worn wiper blades not only cause decreased vision during rainstorms, they can sometimes cause scratches to the windshield if the rubber part of the blade is excessively worn. Incorrectly installed wiper blade refills can also damage the windshield. A severe scratch in the windshield could cost hundreds of dollars to repair.

Protect the paint. Wash your car! Not washing the car often can cause damage to the paint. Be sure to use non abrasive soaps and keep sponges, brushes and other cleaning cloths off the ground or driveway. Dirt or sand in a sponge can scratch the car paint quickly. Start from the top and work down, rinsing often. Preserving the paint will save a lot of money in the long run.

Brakes squealing for attention? An occasional squeak is actually normal. Brakes work with “friction” and the brake pads and rotors are exposed to moisture causing rust. That’s one reason it’s normal to have a little brake noise. Unrelenting brake noise is a warning though. In fact some brake pads have metal clips that act as sensors which are designed to squeal loudly when the end of the brake pad life is near. Removing or bending this clip will silence the warning but is not recommended. If driven without replacing the brake pads, damage can occur to the brake rotors. A deep grinding is usually heard when this happens. At this point the rotors may need to be replaced instead of just machined and the brake pads replaced. In extreme cases the rubber in the hydraulic brake calipers can be overheated and damaged due to the heat generated from metal on metal braking. So replacing brake pads “in time” can definitely save money!

Bonus Tips. Watch the gauges and warning lights. Ignoring problems can lead to more expensive repairs. Every car owner should have a simple code reader or scan tool. Trouble codes can point even a novice in the right direction in many cases. Online resources can help fix many problems once a trouble code has been retrieved. A code reader can help save money on repairs in many situations and is well worth the small investment.

Making Cheap Car Repairs is Not Always Inexpensive! One of the best examples of this is when inexpensive spark plug thread repairs are used. We get a lot of calls when these cheap repairs are used and have failed and a larger repair is needed. Always research the problem online and don’t always assume that the parts guy at the local store has the best answers.

One Response
  1. Mark :

    Date: December 20, 2015 @ 8:25 pm

    Another thing every car owner should know – if you’re having trouble getting your car started, it’s not always the battery (in fact, it frequently ISN’T the battery). So don’t run out and get a new battery if you’re having that problem, because it’s likely you’re wasting money and getting rid of a perfectly good battery!

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