Skip to main content

How To Save Money by Maintaining Your Car Yourself

Published September 27, 2019

4 minute read

Joshua Williams

By Joshua Williams

Maintaining your car doesn’t have to be stressful or inconvenient. It is a machine that requires constant upkeep. While this may initially seem like a daunting task, it’s oftentimes not as complicated as the mechanic makes it sound.

Here are a few easy steps to maintaining your car that will cut down on both cost and stress.

Buy the Parts Yourself!

Yes, the mechanic will get you the part you need. Unfortunately, the cost for them to purchase the part is passed on to you.

Going to an auto parts store for the parts you need will significantly cut down on repair costs. So, take a gander down at your local auto parts store. Armed with just the kind of car you have, the staff at auto parts stores will help you find all the parts you will need.

If you’re not comfortable with performing any of the maintenance on your car, bring it to a mechanic with the parts you bought. You will still be charged labor, but it will be cheaper than the mechanic ordering the part on your behalf.

Don’t be lazy, get off your ass!

Oil Change

Since oil is the most often-changed fluid in your car, oil changes can really begin to add up if you’re driving on a regular basis. There are entire companies built around changing oil, so clearly, there must be a trick that has escaped the common person.

Here are some quick tips:

Transmission Fluid and Filter Change

Transmissions require extremely clean fluid to operate properly. Some mechanics will tell you that only the fluid needs changed and that the filter is good for the life of the transmission and car. Well, your transmission will have a much shorter lifespan if you fail to change the filter.

Both the transmission fluid and filter should be changed every 30,000 miles. Again, the Owner’s Manual will tell you which fluid and filter are needed. The fluid is also listed on the transmission fluid cap.

Tires, Brakes, and Brake Fluid

City driving really takes a toll on these items and failing to maintain your wheels can really put a damper on your evening if that evening is wet, snowy, or full of other drivers. Try to check your tires every month or two. You will notice the treads slowly disappearing. During every trip to the mechanic, be sure and ask how many miles you have left on your brake pads and tires. When you get close to zero miles, replace them.

When it’s time to replace your tires or brakes, it’s a good idea to shop online for savings. Many tire retailers sell their products online, and you can find sales or discounts if you search for them. Sometimes, tires are discounted to much lower prices. You’ll also want to look for online tire coupons or freebies like free rotation, buy three tires and get the fourth free, or even free installation to cut costs.

You can do the same for your brakes, but make sure you work with a mechanic to have your brakes properly replaced. Shop online for the specific parts you need, and see if you can save money by purchasing those parts online yourself.

Car Wash

You should ask yourself the following question: Do you live somewhere with a workable hose? If the answer is yes, buy a bucket, a large car sponge, and some car soap and wash your own car. It’s convenient to have someone else wash it, but are they better than you could be? Definitely not.

Conclusion

Vehicles can often last much longer than advertised with proper maintenance, so putting in the time and limited effort can really pay off. Your car will be with you for a long time, so there’s no reason to neglect it like a red-headed stepchild.

Care for it and it will transport you to and fro, not unlike a red-headed stepchild actually.

Man Working on His Own Car Engine

Hirurg / Getty Images

Joshua Williams

Contributor

Joshua is a freelance writer with years of experience blogging about business and finance, and a whole host of other things too. When he's not writing, he enjoys camping with his dog, a golden retriever named Oakley.

Explore Save Money

Young couple worried about finances Save Money

How To Tell If Your Retirement Is In Jeopardy

One of the most common financial concerns for adults these days is retirement. It comes up over and over again. For anyone concerned about money, retirement is a very big problem to confront. Current (and future) generations of working-aged Americans aren’t exactly fairing well, when it comes to retirement savings. Some studies have shown that […]

Read More about Post Title

7 minute read

young woman running on a trail Save Money

How To Get In Shape On a Budget

I can’t remember which comedian it was who said it, but I remember the line vividly. They were poking fun at the health of Americans, lambasting the way they pay for gym memberships only to drive their cars to get there, find the closest parking spot to the entrance, and then take the escalator up […]

Read More about Post Title

8 minute read

Woman at Farmers' Market Save Money

How To Save Money Shopping At The Farmers’ Market

Buying from a road-side produce stand or a locals farmer’s market is an amazing experience. They are some of the best options for getting fresh (and often organic) fruit, vegetables, meats, and other products, while still supporting local farmers. Farmers’ Markets are certainly a better choice for fresh, high-quality, in-season produce. The prices there are […]

Read More about Post Title

7 minute read

Save Money

Hidden Benefits of a Costco Membership

A Costco membership can do a lot more than help you stretch your grocery budget. A membership at Costco comes with many perks, some of which you might not even be aware of. Take a look around a Costco outlet and you’ll see that deals and discounts can be found everywhere. If you’re trying to […]

Read More about Post Title

6 minute read

Cash, Coins & Calendar Save Money

How To Negotiate Lower Monthly Bills

With unemployment at record highs and job security often unstable, you might find yourself strapped for cash. One potential solution is to lower your monthly bills. We’re not just talking about cancelling services either. It is actually possible to negotiate with some companies for lower rates. While it won’t be easy, it’s possible to negotiate […]

Read More about Post Title

5 minute read

See All In Save Money

More from WalletGenius

Budgeting

How To Plan Your 2021 Christmas Budget

As much as I love gift-giving and the holiday season in general, I often find that it sneaks up on me. If you’re anything like me, you often find yourself in mid-December scrambling to get presents bought, wrapped, and even mailed. That last minute scramble often means paying more for gifts than you intended, since […]

Read More about Post Title

7 minute read

Financial Advice

How To Avoid Paying These Hidden Fees

One of my good friends is a financial planner. He recently told me something very interesting about hidden fees. He basically said that his income comes from the fees that he charges his clients. They are typically based on a percentage of the client’s assets. That means that every quarter (or annually), those fees are […]

Read More about Post Title

8 minute read

Financial Advice

How Do You Justify Your Debt?

Most of us are well aware how debt works. We know we shouldn’t buy things that we can’t afford. Instead, we know we’re supposed to save up for major purchases. It’s just smart financial sense to not make a bunch of purchases that drive up your debt. However, when it all comes right down to […]

Read More about Post Title

8 minute read

Woman stressed from overworking Financial Advice

Are You Actually Working Too Much?

Our society just idolizes “more” for some reason. We often talk about the mentality of “keeping up with the Joneses” in the context of material possessions often. However, I’ve noticed lately that people are just as impressed with those who seem to be “doing” more — and no, not doing more at work. We also […]

Read More about Post Title

8 minute read

Woman working on her finances Financial Advice

Easy Ways to Simplify Your Finances

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” – Confucius Personal finance is surprisingly simple. Live below your means. Invest for the long term. Keep at it. Prosper. Yet, we instinctively want to complicate the process because we can’t trust that something so important can be so simple. I mean, how can […]

Read More about Post Title

7 minute read

Flipping Houses Home Ownership

How to Start Flipping Houses (And Actually Make Money)

House-flipping is often portrayed as a foolproof path to quick riches. While this inaccuracy can create unrealistic expectations, flipping houses can definitely be profitable if you do it right. And that’s the trick: the people most successful at flipping houses are generally the most experienced. That said, they all started somewhere. There’s nothing like completing […]

Read More about Post Title

6 minute read

TSP Loans Loans

TSP Loan: Everything You Need To Know

TSP loans are specialized loans designed for employees of the United States federal government. They offer federal employees access to a unique loan class that uses their retirement plans to finance their borrowing needs. Financial advisors often liken them to the 401(k) loans available to members of the general public. Yet, TSP loans differ from […]

Read More about Post Title

5 minute read

Trusted provider of accurate rates & financial information