I recently had my car breakdown when I was running errands. I was pulling into a parking spot at the store when my front tire fell off my car and plopped onto the ground.
I felt a huge bump but I thought it was a tire blowout. Come to find out I had to call a tow truck and get the car towed back home until I could figure out what to do with it.
I’m grateful for roadside assistance and the friendly tow truck driver who recommended his brother (a mechanic) to help fix the car. One thing someone said to me that stuck out that day was if I took care of my car it could keep it forever.
‘Forever’ might have been an exaggeration but I imagine that with the right plan for your car maintenance, you could keep your car for several years or even decades possibly.
Staying on Top of Maintenance is Often Cheaper Than Buying a New Car
Over the years I’ve had many people tell me that it’s best to change your car up every few years. I’ve seen friends, family members, and past coworkers trade in their cars every two years, lease vehicles, and use their tax refund to put down on a brand new car.
To me, this is unnecessary and a complete waste of money. On the surface, it may look like most people switch cars often because they are concerned about safety or want to stay on top of the latest features.
Sure, newer cars may be quite safe. However, the reason most people switch cars is to upgrade for vanity reasons. They like the look and feel of new cars and know that it can often be viewed as a status symbol.
When you think about it, you really don’t need heated seats and windows along with satellite radio just to get from Point A to Point B. If you take care of the vehicle you have and plan for your car maintenance, it can last you a long time. This allows you to save money and avoid getting a high car loan each month.
Regularly maintaining your car will often by much cheaper than buying a new car. The only exception would be if your car is wrecked and the cost of fixing it exceeds the cost of a car.
So how do you plan for your car maintenance? Here are some easy tips to implement!
1. Figure Out What Maintenance You Need
I used to think that all my car needed was a good oil change every three months. Cars require so much more maintenance than that. If you go into a mechanic’s shop and see all the repair services they offer. You can bet there’s a maintenance service that can help you avoid those repairs 95% of the time.
Ask a mechanic that you know and trust about how you should be maintaining your particular car to make it last longer. As a basic starting point, I compiled a list with some of the things you’ll want to focus on.
- Check the oil and fluids
- Change the oil when needed
- Check the tire pressures and thread
- Get tired rotated
- Clean the air filter
- Keep the battery charged
- Change the rubber on your windshield wipers
- Replace the headlights (when necessary)
- Check your breaks and replace pads if needed
You can also take a peek at your car’s owner’s manual to get a feel for which parts you should be maintained regularly. Auto Zone has a full car maintenance list including what you should focus on monthly, every 3 months, and every year.Keeping up to date with your car maintenance will help you in the long run. Click To Tweet
2. Get It on the Calendar
Once you know what you need to do, it’s time to actually plan for your car maintenance. The best way to do this is to put all your maintenance checks on the calendar. I like how most auto shops will put a sticker in your car to remind you when to come in for your next oil change.
However, it’s easy to forget about that sticker so you might as well add your oil change appointment to your planner, home calendar, or online calendar.
Make sure you add your maintenance tasks and appointments to your primary calendar system so you won’t miss them. For example, if you use Google Calendar, add an event so you’ll receive a notification on that can also get sent to your phone.
3. Keep Track of Warranties and Receipts
As you get repairs and services performed, hold on to your receipts and warranties. These can come in handy when keeping track of your maintenance and other services performed on your car.
I got all new tires on my car one time and this included a warranty along with free tire rotations. As you can probably guess, procrastination sunk in and I never made appointments to get my free tire rotation service.
There have also been times where I bought a new battery for my car and did not keep up with the receipt so I could have the warranty information.
This just goes to show you how important it is to add car maintenance to the calendar and keep up with all your paperwork.
Get a binder or even a $0.50 folder from the store and house all your paperwork. You can use sticky notes to separate sections.
4. Take Advantage of Coupons and Deals
Like everything in my life, I love to utilize a coupon or a good deal to save money. Some auto shops have a loyalty rewards program or they may send coupons to your house.
It doesn’t hurt to try out a new place to make good use of a coupon so long as it’s a trusted shop and has good reviews.
I didn’t expect stores like Costco to have so many auto maintenance and repair service deals, but they do a good job for their members. When you know a maintenance task or service is coming up on your calendar, take a few minutes to see if you can find any coupons or deals to help lower your costs.
5. Plan For Your Car Maintainece with Your Budget
Just because car maintenance will save you money, this doesn’t make it completely free. Some people skip out on maintenance because they are busy and don’t have the time but others simply don’t have the money.
Create a budget category or sinking fund so you can set aside money for your car maintenance every month. Even if you don’t need to do anything that month, it’s still helpful to set some money aside.
My husband and I try to set aside money for maintenance and repairs for both of our cars in a high yield savings account each month. It comes in handy whenever we need work done.
If you do choose to go this route, make your savings contribution automatic by setting up a recurring transfer so it’s easy and you don’t have to think about it.
When you plan for your car maintenance over time, you’ll find that your car will run into fewer issues and you’ll save money over the long run. It just takes a little effort.
Do you plan for your car maintenance regularly? How do you budget for it along with repairs?