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3 Smart Ways to Save on Auto Repairs

What’s worse than driving in rush hour traffic? Not driving in rush hour traffic because your car is in need of repair. Depending on the ailment, your car can be out of commission for days and fixing it can be costly. The good news is there are things you can do to save yourself time, money and aggravation.

Number One: Preventive Maintenance. This is elementary — and it’s not something your dealer or mechanic tell you to do just so you’ll spend money at their garage. Your car will run longer and better with preventive maintenance. Online resources, such as CarCare.org, offer free advice along with service and maintenance schedules. Use this checklist to save money down the road.

  • Do the fluids or filters need to be changed?
  • Are the hoses and belts showing signs of excessive wear?
  • Are the tires properly inflated? Do they show uneven wear?
  • Do the lights and windshield wipers work well?
  • Should the battery be replaced?
  • Are the brakes reliable?
  • Is the exhaust system leaking or damaged?
  • Is the HVAC system performing properly?

Number Two: Do It Yourself. Regardless of your abilities, there are some repairs and preventive procedures you can do yourself. It just takes research, a review of your owner’s manual, a safe place to work and the right tools needed for the job you want to do. Oh, and just one more thing. Confidence. Really, once you start doing your own auto repairs, you’ll wonder why you haven’t been doing them all along. Here are some examples of repairs you may be able to do yourself:

  • Changing headlight and taillight bulbs
  • Replacing wiper blades
  • Replacing spark plugs
  • Changing a flat tire
  • Replacing a hose
  • Changing a dead battery
  • Changing the oil and filter

Number Three: Find the Best Mechanic. There are some repairs that are best left to the professionals. These include any electrical issues and work with or around airbags. Changing a clutch, mounting and balancing tires, repairing an automatic transmission, replacing a windshield and body work are also jobs you don’t want to attempt in your driveway. When you do determine that a repair is beyond your abilities, shop around and get estimates before you take your vehicle to be fixed to ensure you’re getting the best price. Make sure the mechanic is ASE-certified. And check reviews beforehand or get referrals from someone you trust.

Before you embark on any auto repair, do your homework. Be sure to check your owner’s manual or manufacturer’s recommendations for anything that’s specific to your vehicle.