If you own a car, you know how expensive it can be. Owning a vehicle can cost hundreds of dollars a month when you take your car payment, repair costs, insurance premiums, and even the rising cost of gas into consideration. If you make mistakes when it comes to vehicle maintenance and repair, those high costs can quickly become astronomical. Here are five common car repair mistakes to avoid:
Skipping Routine Maintenance
You may think that you don’t have the time or the $30 it will cost you to get your oil changed, but if you ignore this simple bit of maintenance, you can be paying thousands of dollars to replace your engine later. If you think $30 is expensive, try imagining having to fork over a couple grand. Open up your vehicle’s owner’s manual and start to follow the recommended routine maintenance schedule.
Ignoring Your Tires
When your tires look a bit low, do you continue to drive on them? When you get your oil changed, do you get your tires rotated? If you don’t take good care of your tires, you will pay for it in the long run. Your tires not only affect the maneuverability of your car, but your gas mileage as well. By driving on under-inflated tires, you will shorten their life and put yourself at greater risk for an accident.
Diagnosing Dashboard Warning Lights
If your dashboard lights up like the sky on the Fourth of July, don’t ignore what your car is trying to tell you. Your warning lights were put in place to do just that: warn you. If your lights come on, and stay on, look up their meaning in your owner’s manual. If the issue isn’t something that you can fix yourself, get your car into the repair shop immediately. Ignoring your warning lights can turn a hundred dollar repair into a thousand dollar one much quicker than you think.
Failing to Shop Around
If you are not a comparison shopper, you may pay dearly when it comes to auto repairs. Remember that you aren’t tied to the dealership when it comes to routine maintenance and simple repairs. Open up the Yellow Pages or get online and search for mechanics in your area. Get at least two estimates before you have any work done on your car. Shopping around for the best price can save you hundreds of dollars.
Did you know that you pay for the time that your mechanic spends trying to diagnose your vehicle’s problem? The more information you can relay to your mechanic, the more money you will save. If you notice a problem with your car, jot down any pertinent information, including the speed you are traveling, the sound it makes, the feeling in the wheel or pedals, any smells associated with the problem, and even how often the problem occurs. If you can communicate effectively, you will pay less in the way of diagnostics.
Don’t make owning your vehicle more expensive than it already is. By avoiding these five common repair and maintenance mistakes, you can save hundreds of dollars immediately and thousands in the long run. If you are having an issue with your vehicle, call your mechanic today to avoid costly repairs down the road. You can also invest in car repair insurance to make the cost of your repairs more manageable.
Jeff Stone blogs about car repairs and tune-ups for carinsurance.org.uk, where you can find cheap car insurance, including policies that cover car repair insurance.