7 Ways To Save More Money on Car Maintenance Fees in 2024

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DuxX / Getty Images/iStockphoto

DuxX / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Driving a car is a necessity in in most areas of the country, but it’s also expensive. In fact, if you add up what you spend on a lease or loan payment, insurance, gas and maintenance, it’s probably one of your top three largest monthly expenses. So, it’s important to save money where you can.

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You’re probably locked into your car loan or lease payment, insurance is typically required and gas is an unavoidable expense. That leaves maintenance. Fortunately, there are some ways you can save on maintenance costs.

Here’s what you need to know:

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1. Read the Manual

Check your owner’s manual. It will give you a schedule for regular maintenance for your car, and keeping up with it can save you money in the long run.

2. Watch for the Lights

Know what the lights on your dashboard mean. Don’t rush to the mechanic every time a light comes on your dash. Check the manual to see what it means and decide whether you can resolve the issue yourself. For example, there’s a light that indicates your tires aren’t fully inflated. All you have to do to make that one go away is to fill your tires properly. Even the dreaded “check engine” light doesn’t necessarily mean a trip to the shop; the most common cause of that light is that your gas cap door isn’t shut all the way.

3. Find a Good Mechanic

Make friends with a local mechanic. Unless your car is still under service contract that requires it be serviced at the dealer, you can usually save money by taking it to an independent mechanic. Establish a relationship with a repair shop you trust and take your car there whenever possible.

4. Change Your Oil

Get your oil changed at the recommended intervals. This is a small, regular expense that could save you a lot over the long term. Having enough fresh oil in your car will help the parts last longer and will keep your engine from overheating.

5. Maintain Your Fluids

In addition to oil, there are other fluids your car depends on to run properly. Regularly changing your transmission fluid and flushing your coolant will keep your engine and transmission running properly. If your car or truck is four-wheel drive, add transfer case fluid to the list of fluids to check regularly and change when needed.

6. Keep an Eye On Your Tires

In addition to keeping them properly inflated, show your tires some love by rotating them regularly and checking your alignment. Both of these maintenance chores help your tires wear evenly, which helps them last longer.

7. Be Prepared For an Emergency

Invest in a roadside assistance plan if you don’t already have one through your car’s warranty or a credit card. Keep jumper cables in the car, as well as cold weather supplies like sand or kitty litter and a shovel, if you live in an area where it snows. If you are prepared for the unexpected, you are less likely to have to pay top dollar for emergency repairs in a situation where you’re at the mercy of the nearest repair shop.

These simple steps can save you big money when it comes to maintaining your vehicle.

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 7 Ways To Save More Money on Car Maintenance Fees in 2024

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