5 ways to keep your car maintenance costs as low as possible

I love my car, but I hate the maintenance costs that come with it. Tires and batteries are expensive. The usual service check-up can rack up the cost if your service technician finds other common issues that need attention, like:

  • Your car needs power steering fluid
  • Brake pads need to be replaced
  • Due for an Oil change
  • Car needs an electronic tune-up
  • Add brake and clutch fluid
  • New shock absorbers
  • Camber, wheel alignment and tire rotation
  • New tires
  • Run down battery
  • Common AC problem

These are the most common issues that may pop up during your car’s next check-up. Maintenance checkups are highly recommend because even the best OBD2 scanner in your garage won’t detect some issues. But how can you cut down on car maintenance costs that are burning a hole through your wallet? Here are 5 ways to keep your car as good as new.

Regular PMS

No, it’s not that time of the month! PMS means “Periodic Maintenance Schedule” and you should be following it if you want to keep your car in good running condition. Newer models will let you know when your next PMS will be and it’s in your best interest to heed the warning. Regular PMS by a trained service technician, preferably from the local dealer you bought your car from, ensures that you don’t void your warranty (if you’re still under it) and that you get the best possible service from professionally trained mechanics that know your car from the inside out. Even after my warranty ended, I still bring in my car to the dealer where I bought it from, because they already know my car’s history, quirks and they guarantee parts and service.

Easy like Sunday Morning

I know it’s tempting to rev your engines in the morning and hear it growl. But our cars want us to take it easy on them, especially in the mornings when the oil hasn’t warmed and fully circulated yet. In below freezing conditions, let your car run idle for a minute or two to get oil warm and fully circulating. Drive slowly for about three minutes so that the other lubricating fluids can warm up as well and flow through your car’s veins.

Choose your Car Wisely

When buying a new car, always look ahead at the future maintenance costs and parts availability. I remember owning a Daewoo back in the day. It was a good car. Cool features and all that, but finding parts became a big pain as the years went on and the company almost went belly up. Choose a car with a reputation for longevity, has parts readily available and has a solid service record.

Shake, Rattle and Roll

Listen for odd and out of place noises during start up and when your car is running. Common suspension problems are often first encountered when you hear something odd coming from the rear wheel wells. If your car does the harlem shake when in lower gears, take it to the shop and have it looked at immediately. It’s either idling too low because of a combustion problem or something even far worse like a fuel pump issue. If your car shifts and rolls around like a boat, then you may need new shock absorbers. In any case, do not ignore the signs; have a professional do the check up ASAP.

Leave racing to the pros

Driving like a mad man on the streets is both dangerous and reckless. It can get you arrested and your license suspended, so don’t try being a street racer! Leave racing to the pros in F1 or NASCAR. Keeping the pedal to the metal won’t really harm the car, because cars are meant to be driven. But needlessly racing your car (even when you’re by yourself on the freeway) speeds up wear and tear, giving your car more down time and more trips to the shop. Remember, everything adds up. Racing not only consumes more fuel, but racks up maintenance costs as well.