How to maintain your vehicle to save on car expenses

Woman buying a car

Owning a vehicle is likely one of the bigger personal expenses you will take on, but proper maintenance and upkeep of your vehicle can potentially save you from expensive repair bills later. While those savings may vary depending on the model of your vehicle and your situation, here are some of the best ways to start saving money by performing some regular maintenance.

  • Change the oil and oil filter as often as the owner’s manual recommends. Oil lubricates the vehicle’s engine components, but with time and usage, oil loses its effectiveness. Frequent oil changes are the most important factor in extending the vehicle’s engine life, and will save you the stress and cost of engine repairs.
  • Check your vehicle’s air filter monthly. An air filter prevents dirt, dust, and debris from getting into the engine. A dirty air filter forces the engine to burn too much gas and not enough air, meaning your vehicle will run less smoothly. You can either replace the air filter, or clean it by removing it and blowing it with an air hose.
  • Keep an eye on your tire pressure. You can lose gas mileage for every pound of tire under-inflation, and driving on an under-inflated tire can damage it. In addition, aim to have your tires balanced once a year. Improperly balanced tires can destroy the tread, wear out the shock absorbers, and damage the suspension system.
  • Change your vehicle’s fluid levels often and ensure they’re topped up. The various fluids your vehicle uses help keep it running smoothly, and the cost of replacing them is small compared to the cost of replacing a damaged part.
  • Keep the exterior of your vehicle clean. Water, mud, and salt on your vehicle can potentially corrode the metal, causing rust, which can affect your vehicle’s resale value.