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How To Reduce Your Vehicle Maintenance Costs


If you want to avoid nasty and unexpected maintenance costs, sticking to a regimented schedule of preventative maintenance is very important. Frequent maintenance will keep your car in good health, making sure you get the best use out of those expensive parts.The best way to reduce maintenance costs is to stick to a strict maintenance schedule.

When it comes to minimizing costs, keeping your vehicle's fluids new and clean is a number one priority. Frequent oil changes can prevent the build-up of harmful deposits that damage your car's power and fuel economy. Those deposits can also force the internal components of your engine to work harder and therefore shortening its lifespan.

Unless you plan on doing engine surgery on your own, engine work is going to cost you a huge sum of money. For example, we can see that a new oil pump for a BMW 3-Series (a part that commonly fails as a result of infrequent oil changes) will cost about $1,300. This can be easily avoided by changing your oil every 3,000 miles. At a local shop, it will typically cost less than $40 per visit. Use an AutoPair Certificate to further discount your visit. 

Even if your vehicle is brand new, it is a good idea to check the oil every few hundred miles. If the level slowly gets lower between oil changes, you might have an issue with your engine. The same applies for your vehicle's brake fluid, clutch fluid (if it's a manual transmission), or your automatic transmission fluid.

Keeping an eye on your vehicle's fluid levels is a good first step toward improving your car's longevity. Sticking to the recommended service intervals in your owner's manual is equally important.

Timing Belt 

A timing belt is a flat-toothed belt that drives the camshaft of an engine from the crankshaft. 

Timing belts and chains keep the different parts of a car's engine in sync with each other and on average should be replaced every 60,000 miles. Keep in mind, this number is only an average, so make sure to check your owner's manual. The infrequency of a timing belt change can cause you to overlook this vital service, especially considering it often requires over $800 in labor alone. However, waiting another 5-10k miles is not advised and the results could end in a catastrophic engine head failure, costing you over double the amount of a timing belt service.

Different manufacturers allow for different time periods between required maintenance. While it may look expensive to replace, to save money in the long run, change your oil and rotate your tires every few thousand miles. If your vehicle is out of warranty, there's little reason to use the dealer over a local shop. Don't forget to save all your service receipts. They are good reminders and having them available for potential buyers will increase the residual value of your car.

 This article was written with the help and resources from the non-profit Car Care Council. The "Be Car Care Aware" campaign is a consumer education program about the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair, designed to provide knowledge from all segments of the automotive aftermarket industry.

The non-profit Car Care Council is the source of information for the "Be Car Care Aware" consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. To view the Car Care Council's consumer education website, visit www.carcare.org

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