Is your car costing too much money?

by Kristina on May 6, 2013 · 3 comments

Good morning Dinks. What is your biggest monthly expense? Maybe it’s your home, maybe it’s repaying your debt or maybe it’s your car.  People are torn between the convenience and the cost of owning a car.  Some people like to buy their cars new because new cars come with a warranty and some people like to buy their cars used in an effort to save on the initial cost.

The actual purchase price of the car is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the yearly maintenance costs that come with owning a car.  Not only do we have to pay for gas and oil changes with the upkeep of our car we also have to pay for our registration, our driver’s license and of course the cost to repair our car if ever we have an accident or something breaks down.

MSN recently posted an article titled “Ten easy ways to make your car last longer”. I appreciate this article because I paid a lot of money for my Honda and I took good care of it to try and avoid an unnecessary spending.

Use these tips to extend the life of your car:

1. Check your owner’s manual. I know that a lot of people say that we shouldn’t do our regularly schedule car maintenance at the dealership but I did.  I had my car for 3 years and every single time I needed an oil change I would take it to a Honda dealership. It cost $40 and I knew my car was well taken care of.  However for body work after my two accidents I took the car to a local auto body repair that a friend referred me to.

2. Flush your engine coolant regularly. This is a great way to extend the life of your car because when a car overheats there are a whole bunch of other problems/damage that come along with it. It’s also a good idea to keep a bottle of anti-freeze in the trunk of your car in case you ever have an emergency.

3. Avoid running your vehicle on empty. When I bought my car my parents always told me not to let the gas get below a quarter of a tank. I was not sure why, but I never let it get too low.

4.  your battery before it dies.  I am not even sure how we can check our car battery life, but I’m sure it can be done.

5. Use quality motor oil.  When I bought my Honda they actually recommended the type of motor oil that I should use in my car.  If you aren’t sure what type of motor oil to use for your engine type I am sure that your mechanic can recommend a good brand.

6. Change your transmission fluid. This is one thing that we never want to get low because it affects the car engine as well as the performance of the car.

7. Flush your break system.  Other than starting the car the one thing that we never want to be without are breaks.

8. Keep your car clean.  I loved taking my car to get washed because it was so shiny afterwards, but apparently there are other benefits that come with keeping your car clean.

9. Buy a tire pressure gauge. I have been told that if our tires screech when we turn a corner it is time to add some air into our tires. Having a gauge to measure our tire pressure is also a good way to keep up the maintenance on our car.

10. Consult forums for advice. Online communities and blogs are a great way to ask questions and find new products. I like getting the advice of consumers rather than professionals.

What is the last big expense you had for your car?

Photo by modomatic

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ian May 6, 2013 at 10:44 am

I drive, and quite enjoy, a ’99 Audi A4 wagon. The last big, and unexpected, expense was to replace the turbo and housing. Not bad, considering it went over 150k miles on the original, many only make 80k miles. But it did set me back ~$1700. I know the next big chunk coming up will be a new clutch, will end up ~$1200 or so. Big chunks of money, but they are still so much less than dealing with car payments.

And yeah, I’m onboard with keeping the car clean, inside and out. Outside I think there’s less chance for rust and gunk to cause problems when its clean, and inside the contact surfaces (seats, floors, doors) last longer when clean. Its also nice to consistently surprise folks that the car is now 14 years old. Aside from the styling being slightly aged, most folks guess its only 3-4 years old.

2 John S @ Frugal Rules May 6, 2013 at 12:38 pm

These are all great tips. What I think is key is to not let anything get away from you and to follow the manual. I think our last big expense was the 45k mile check up.

3 Canadian Budget Binder May 6, 2013 at 8:27 pm

I’m pretty critical about my vehicle as I like to have it in top notch shape all of the time. I put lots of my hard-earned cash into so I’ll take good care of it. All good tips here!

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