Owning a car is often more expensive than we think and than we would like it to be. We give some handy tips on how to save on the maintenance of your car.
Do you have any idea what your car costs per month? If you have a lease car you probably do, but if you have your own car it becomes a lot more complicated. You can make a reasonable estimate of the fuel and insurance costs, but what about depreciation, maintenance and taxes? If you list all these costs they will probably be higher than you thought. So let’s save some money on the maintenance of your car.
See what maintenance you can do yourself
By saving on maintenance, we do not mean that you should reduce your maintenance, that is never a good idea. But by doing certain checks yourself on time, your car will last longer and you can avoid large and expensive repairs in the future.
For example, it is a good idea to check your tire pressure every month. Tires that are too soft are not good for handling, cause you to use more fuel and increase the risk of a blowout. You don’t want your tires to be too hard either, as this will cause them to wear out more quickly. While checking your tire pressure, make sure you also check the tread depth and wear of your tires.
It is also best to check your coolant every month. If you have to refill regularly, this could indicate leakage. There are also coolants that need to be replaced in the meantime, because otherwise they would deteriorate. Whether this applies to your car can be found in the instruction manual of your car.
The same goes for the oil level, check it every month. The oil in your engine is not only an important lubricant for the rotating parts, but also has a cooling and cleaning function. Also it can save you a lot of (costly) trouble when you keep a close eye on it yourself. If you wait until the light of the oil level lights up, you are usually already too late.
Imitation, reconditioned or used parts
Especially with older cars, it can still happen that certain parts need to be replaced and unfortunately this can run into a lot of money. Still, you can save money by asking your garage owner to use a reconditioned or used part instead of a brand new part. Especially for parts like the alternator, starter motor and gearbox, this can be an interesting option.
When it comes to your brakes, clutch or shock absorbers you obviously don’t want a used part to be put back in. Then an imitation part might be a solution. These are brand new parts that do the same thing as branded parts, but without a brand on them. Imitation parts are often available in different quality and price ranges. Do agree with your garage owner that you will get a warranty on used or imitation parts, otherwise you might end up paying more…
Choose the right specialist
The choice of garage or specialist you go to also affects the costs you incur. A dealer, for example, is usually more expensive than an independent garage.
Maintenance and repairs carried out by the dealer are especially recommended when your car is still in the warranty period. If your car is older and has already been to other garages, the dealer can use this against you when you want to claim his warranty. The dealer is then perhaps not the best choice for your repair or maintenance.
In addition, universal garages are often a bit smaller, less expensive and you can expect a more personal approach. And it can be nice if the garage owner knows your car and its history well. The disadvantage is that these garages do not always provide warranty on repairs.
Then there are brand specialists who specialize in one brand, often the more expensive and popular brands such as BMW, Ford and Mercedes. The advantage of such a specialist is that they have the right knowledge and often have access to good remanufactured brand parts, which in turn can save you money.