Maintaining your car is essential for keeping it on the road. For those who don’t spend a lot of time under the hood, car maintenance can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Our basic car maintenance tips can help you keep your car running in peak condition – even if you’re new to the garage.
1. Check your spare tire.
It’s just as important to keep the reserve tire inflated as it is the four tires under your car. The last thing you want is to discover that your spare is flat while you’re pulling the jack out of your trunk. That’s when you’ll need to call a tow truck—which can run you hundreds of dollars when you add up towing, mileage and any winch fees. It’s better to spend a dollar at an air pump to inflate your spare. That can spare you the cost of a tow.
2. Change the oil.
How much can your car’s oil affect your budget? Bankrate reports that oil problems are potentially the most costly car maintenance issue. Most automobiles need oil changes every 5,000 miles or so depending on the car and the type of oil. It’s better to spend as little as $20 to get the oil changed than to put it off and risk wearing out your engine—which costs a lot more than $20 to replace.
3. Keep the battery clean.
Corrosion (which looks like white or bluish powder) can form on the terminals of your battery. If you don’t keep them clean, the battery could develop a crack or not function properly, which could leave you stranded. Since a quality car battery can cost upwards of $100—and a tow can run you even more—it’s money well spent to buy a $5 wire brush and keep the terminals looking spiffy.
4. Replace the brake pads.
Do you hear a squeaking sound when you hit the brakes? If so, your brake pads could be on their last legs. A new set can cost up to $300 for all four wheels, plus the labor charge if a professional installs them. We know that price tag may seem hefty. But being able to stop before rear-ending that Lexus in front of you is priceless.
The more proactive you are about keeping your car in good shape, the less money you’ll spend on it. That means you have more to save or pay off debt—and that puts you on track to win with your money!
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