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Maintain Your Car and Save

By: Joshua Unseth-- 2010-05-20 12:00 am --

Tackling your own auto maintenance may sound like a daunting prospect, but with a little research, some basic tools and determination, you can save a lot of cash. The average consumer has no idea how tremendous the markup is on easy-to-perform automotive services. By investing some time in learning basic car maintenance, you can gain both savings and the personal satisfaction of knowing that you did the job yourself. Three money-saving services that you can perform yourself are changing your oil, monitoring your tire pressure and detailing your car.

Change Your Oil Yourself
Keeping your car’s oil changed protects its engine life. The owner’s manual contains the recommended service schedule. Most auto manufacturers recommend oil changes every 3,000 miles, but check the owner’s manual to be sure. According to Edmunds, car owners save around $100 yearly by changing their oil themselves. Combined with other frugal living tips, this really adds up. Edmunds lists on its site step-by-step instructions for changing your car’s oil.

Maintain the Correct Tire Pressure
Maintaining your car’s tire pressure is key to fuel efficiency and savings. Under-inflated tires are not only dangerous but cause your car to use more gas. The owner’s manual lists the optimum tire pressure for safety and fuel efficiency. An inexpensive tire pressure gauge helps you determine whether the tires need inflating. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that gas mileage improves 3.3% with properly inflated tires. If gas is $3 per gallon, that translates to savings of ten cents per gallon. This saves $78 yearly for a car with a 15-gallon tank filled once weekly.

Detail Your Car Yourself
Contrary to what many believe, car detailing is a frugal do-it-yourself project. Keeping your car looking good maintains the car’s value. If you decide later to sell it or trade it in, you receive more money for it. According to Cost Helper, the average cost for car detailing in the United States is $58 for a basic detail job. In some areas, the cost is as high as $300 for a premium detail job. Invest in a few basic supplies and reap the savings. Popular Mechanics describes the detailing process on its site.

Do you have tried and true money-saving auto maintenance tips? Share them.