Transportation Truths: How to Keep Your Car Running on a Budget
Posted by : Premraj | Posted on : Wednesday, April 19, 2017
There probably aren’t that many of us who drop our car off at the local auto repair center or dealership without having more than a moment of anxiety over how much the bill is going to be when you collect it again.
You couldn’t be without your car for the convenience it provides but it is an expensive business keeping it on the road and in good mechanical shape, especially when you are trying to work to a tight budget.
Here are some tips to help you keep your car running without losing control of the cost, including why it often pays to buy a better badge, important reasons not to skip the service, how to DIY car repairs and save money, plus a suggestion to preserve the life of your vehicle.
Build quality makes a difference
Although there is potentially a bigger upfront cost when buying your vehicle it often pays to invest in a good car that has a reputation for being built to last.
Buying a cheap model can sometimes prove to be a false economy when you end up paying for more regular repairs and it doesn’t manage to achieve the sort of lifespan you can often get with a badge that has a strong reputation for quality and reliability.
Stick to a schedule
Having taken the smart step of doing your research and buying a vehicle that should last you well beyond 100,000 miles, the next move is equally important.
You need to abide by the maintenance schedule laid out in the owner’s manual.
There are always recommendations in there relating to how long or after how many miles you need to replace certain items. For example, the timing belt might need to be replaced every 60,000 miles and the car needs servicing every 12,000 miles.
Follow the maintenance schedule provided in the owner’s manual and you will improve the odds of keeping your car on the road for longer and reduce the risk of a breakdown.
Do a bit of DIY
It can be tempting to skip the service because of cost but when you are on a tight budget and can’t really afford to send your car to the repair center for the work it needs there are other ways to keep up with the maintenance schedule.
You don’t have to be a total car nut and mechanic to do some of the basic work on the car yourself. You can download Dodge service repair manuals, for instance, and get the lowdown on how to change the plugs and the oil yourself.
More complicated repairs and diagnostics might need a specialist but there are plenty of regular car maintenance tasks that should be within your capabilities. All you have to do is buy the parts and accessories you need and follow the steps in the manual, which will save you hundreds of dollars every year compared to getting someone else to do the work.
Don’t skimp on the replacement parts
If you are trying to run your car on an economy budget your eyes are bound to be drawn to cheaper replacement car parts, especially when you look at the cost of genuine parts.
There is plenty of healthy debate to be had amongst mechanics and car enthusiasts over whether you really need to buy the manufacturer’s genuine parts or not, but one thing that plenty of them will agree on is that it doesn’t always pay to opt for the cheapest option.
The savvy approach would be to work out what you can get away with in terms of cost. If you are replacing a non-wearing part you could get a used replacement that does the job does as well as a new one, at a much lower cost.
If you are replacing brake pads, quality definitely matters. Talk to a mechanic or your parts store and ask for an honest opinion on when it’s ok to cut the cost and when it’s not.
You will still end up saving money on repairs if you follow that rule.
Be kind to your car
There is one basic tip that helps you preserve the life of your car and keeps your repair bills down, and that is the advice to drive as gently and economically as you can.
Driving aggressively with plenty of acceleration and braking is going to wear out your car engine and the tires far quicker than if you think more about how to drive more gently.
Driving a car is an expensive necessity for plenty of us, but there are definitely some smart ways to keep your motoring costs to a minimum.
Reece Lloyd enjoys writing about personal finance. A personal money researcher and consultant, he likes to help others by posting on various DIY websites.