How to reduce car maintenance costs

February 5, 2015 11:59 AM

When you're thinking about how to make your car last for a long time, you probably focus on staying safe on the roads and repairing any issues that come up in a timely manner. However, getting a ton of work done on your car doesn't come cheap. In fact, the expenses related to replacement parts and labor can quickly add up, making cost of ownership quite high. But when the alternative is going through the entire car-buying process again, scheduling appointments at a local auto repair franchise is likely a smart alternative. 

There are things you can do to keep costs low. Remember the following strategies for limiting auto repair expenses, and you could find yourself behind the wheel of your ride for years to come.

Know your stuff
It all starts with having some knowledge regarding maintenance. Look through your owner's manual so you know how regularly you need oil changes, tire rotations and basic tune ups. Consumer Reports also recommended building up your basic knowledge, as it increases the odds you'll make smart decisions regarding car care. You'll be less likely to blindly agree to extra work on your car that may not be needed, and you will be in a better position to identify potential warning signs related to problems under the hood.

If you're not totally comfortable trusting your judgment with regard to car performance, take notes on the red flags that concern you. An expert could provide insight as to why the environment or driving situation you were in affected the vehicle's performance. Recording any strange occurrences related to the car also makes it easy to get a second opinion if necessary. 

Build a relationship with a shop
If you're constantly changing service spots, it's impossible for a technician to learn the ins and outs of your car. But when you are a loyal customer of a local auto repair franchise, you can set up a system where the mechanic has inside knowledge about your ride. A long-standing relationship can also help you stay organized. The facility may keep track of the work it has done on the vehicle in the past, and it could even send reminders when it's time for brake service, oil changes or other routine fixes. 

Shop around for discounts
Even saving a few dollars off a basic maintenance task can be beneficial. Look around for car tune up specials or promotions that offer some kind of savings. Although you may not feel the need to shave a few dollars off the bottom line, these small decreases in price can add up quickly. Be sure to conduct some research before choosing a repair shop and always ask about promotions before you commit. 

Invest in preventative maintenance
It's inevitable: you have to spend money on your car. You do have a choice in the manner of your spending, however. Some may choose to invest in preventative maintenance tasks, which can help avoid bigger jobs down the line, while others may hold off until the machine needs some kind of heavy-duty car repair

Preventative vehicle maintenance is likely the best and most affordable option. You can control the costs over time and budget accordingly. There are also a few other financial benefits as well. For instance, you'll be slowing the depreciation of your car and retaining resale value. Not only does that extend the life of the vehicle, but it also could put more money in your pocket if you ever decide to sell and move on with a newer ride. 

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