Our cars are a necessary daily expense for most of us. They take us to our jobs or help run our families to various activities. If you live in a city like Los Angeles, Houston or Miami car ownership is even more crucial. But it can also be a huge financial drain.

Often appearing out of the blue, it usually happens when you least expect it and at the most inconvenient time. A funny noise will suddenly appear, or you’ll go to start the ignition and the engine doesn’t respond. It always seems to be the month you can least afford the repairs that they happen. Suddenly you find yourself facing a bill. One you know will be expensive right at the wrong time. There is a way to save money when it comes to your car. If you take a proactive approach,  become a prepared driver, and do a little research. Then you can reduce the costs and still have your wheels up and running when you need them.

Consider The DIY Route

Most of us are trained by default to book it to the nearest mechanic whenever there is car trouble. Sure, there are definitely some issues best left to the professionals.  However, you can do a surprising amount of maintenance and basic repairs yourself. And save a whole heap of cash in the process.

Garages make their highest profits on basic tasks which are easy to perform. So if you’re serious about making car ownership cost less, it’s a great place to start. There are easy to follow video tutorials on YouTube for a lot of basic repairs and car maintenance and a range of automotive tools can be sourced easily and at low cost online. Tasks such as replacing lights, switching out the wiper blades, changing the car battery, performing oil changes and filter changes. Rewiring a horn can all be done at home with a little learning. It can seem intimidating to begin with. However, take your time, read up a lot first before touching the vehicle, and you can do a lot more than you think.

Try Preventative Maintenance

Your vehicle health is pretty similar to your personal health in a lot of ways. Prevention is so much better than cure. Taking the right steps to maintain your vehicle can stop minor issues building up into major problems. Problems which cost thousands to fix. A lot of people ignore the basic running needs of their car and are then surprised when things start to go wrong. In reality, a lot of these matters can be avoided if you follow a regular program of maintenance.

Schedule in tasks like checking fluid levels – you could prevent an expensive disaster waiting to happen. Always make sure you inflate your tires to the correct pressure as specified in your owner’s handbook (there is also usually a plate screwed to the bottom of the driver’s side door frame with the information on). This will not only improve the running and safety of your car but also its fuel efficiency.  It could also save you even more money. Make sure your brake pads are replaced regularly. Keep your components in better condition and reduce the risk of accidents. Finally, if you ever get a chip from a stone in your windshield, get it repaired. It can seem easier and cheaper to ignore it. But with bumpy roads and fluctuating temperatures it can soon turn into a disaster. The entire windshield could shatter, which will not only cost major amounts to repair but could be extremely dangerous.

Source Parts Second Hand

The parts which the garage gets hold of for you aren’t always at the best price. But did you know that you can source car parts at second hand to save hundreds on the cost of repairs? You can often find these parts with guarantees of quality and reliability, so it can be a very viable option to get your car back on the road and save some money at the same time. There are nationwide companies offering pre-owned auto parts for sale, so do some research, check out some online reviews and save big.

Give The Dealership A Swerve

Assuming your car is old enough to be out of it’s warranty period, then you shouldn’t take it straight to the dealership for repairs – that is the costliest route. You’ll generally pay a lot more for manufacturer parts and servicing. Finding a local, independent car repairs shop is the best way to maximise on your savings, and there may be discounts available for customer loyalty.  Plus many places will have more convenient appointment times available. Even if it’s a little further away, it’s still worth looking into for the potential savings you can make. Plus, if you become a regular customer, you’ll be able to develop a more trusting relationship.

Car ownership isn’t always easy, but if you follow the tips above, it can be more enjoyable for you and your wallet.

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