Car Maintenance Habits: Good Financial Sense

Car Maintenance Habits: Good Financial Sense It may seem that skipping some routine car maintenance is a good way to save some money when you are strapped for cash, but the reality is, not taking care of your car is a surefire way to increase the amount of money you actually spend on a vehicle. Just as drivers can reduce their risk of getting in an accident through defensive driving, Florida residents would be wise to prevent costly repairs as well.

The Importance of Car Maintenance

First of all, not practicing car maintenance can significantly reduce its lifespan, sometimes by as much as 50,000 miles. In addition, the hefty bill you end up with to replace parts that haven’t been maintained will leave you wishing you had taken better care of your car. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at some common maintenance procedures and how costly it can be to skip them.

Oil Changes

Taking your car in for an oil change every three to six months can seem like throwing your money down the drain sometimes, but the truth is, changing the oil to the manufacturer’s specifications is a critical part of standard car maintenance. Without good, clean oil, the friction in the engine can actually start to wear away at the engine’s parts. In a quick cost comparison, oil changes cost about $100 a year, but replacing a worn out engine will be in the park of $4,000. Depending on how old your car is, replacing the engine could cost more than the car is actually worth.

Tire Care

Rotating tires regularly—generally every 6,000 miles—ensures that the tires wear equally, and helps to maintain the tread so that the tires last longer. Keeping the tires inflated is important practice in good car maintenance because it increases safety, protects the car and gives the driver better gas mileage. Finally, getting the tire’s alignment adjusted once a year will ensure that your steering and suspension are at proper specifications. Failing to properly maintain your tires, will lead to much faster wear and tear and could cost you a pretty penny in additional gas money.

The clincher is that most of these car maintenance requirements are free if you go to the store you originally purchased the tires from for the work, but you’ll spend several hundred dollars or more to replace the tires completely.

Timing Belt

Since the timing belt isn’t particularly visible or something that is replaced often, its maintenance schedule is often ignored. However, failing to replace the belt at the recommended number of miles can be one of the most costly mistakes you make when it comes to your car. You can tell if your belt has failed because the engine will cut off, and your car will slow to a stop. If you are lucky, you will just get a tow and a new belt, but if you try to start the car again, or if the broken belt caused any damage when it snapped, you could be forking out new money for engine parts, a cost of about two grand. A new belt, on the other hand, goes for about $600.

Brake Inspection

It’s easy to ignore a yearly brake inspection. After all, the car still stops right? But failing to keep an eye on the wear and tear of the disc pad and shoes could cause additional damage to the breaks and result in more costly repairs. Also, imagine how much damage there would be if your brakes failed on you while you were driving. In general, replacing the pads and shoes will cost upwards of $150, but other replacements, such as the rotors will be in the $300 to $600 range.

Spark Plugs and Filters

While you are less likely to damage your car from failing to change out a filter or two, keeping the filters maintained helps to keep your engine clean and will give you better luck when it comes time to pass the car maintenance and emissions test. So, if you want to pass that test on the first round and avoid the required repairs, get those filters and spark plugs changed out regularly.

Felix Jacobson
Felix Jacobson is an authority in the tech and automotive industry. His passion is educating consumers on how to find the best deals out there - from great deals on new/used gadgets to the best auto refinance rates. He believes strongly that consumers should not be taken advantage of!

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