That Owner’s Manual Is There For A Reason: Do Your Homework And You’ll Save Big

Your vehicle probably came with an owner’s manual but many people never give it a second glance. If yours has been sitting in your glove box or trunk since you purchased your vehicle, you could be missing out on important information that may not only extend the life of your car but also save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars during the life of your vehicle. Just like you’re likely to do better on a test if you study, your car (and your wallet) is going to be much healthier if you take the time to get to know your vehicle inside and out. Money is time and when all you need to do is a bit of light reading, we think the benefits definitely outweigh the cons. What’s a mere 5 minutes a day? No matter how hectic your life may seem, we’re certain you can locate that additional time.

Watch Those Fluids Closely

You’ve probably at least heard someone mention the importance of checking your fluid levels, whether it be your water, antifreeze or maybe the oil but was it one of those things that went in one ear and out the other? If so, it may be time to listen up. What many people fail to realize is that cars are a lot like our bodies. They may be able to handle mistreatment to some degree but too much wear and tear is going to take its toll later on in life. Your car will perform far better when you keep levels as they should be and you’re also making the road a safer place for everyone around you. Instead of hiring someone to do these types of things for you, simply check your manual because those babies are extremely detailed. You don’t have to be a car enthusiast or have a strong vehicle background in order to get the job done. Many maintenance-related tasks don’t even require any tools.

 

Natural Wear and Tear

 Even if you take perfect care of your vehicle, he (or she) isn’t going to last forever. Sadly, that’s a fact of life. Natural wear and tear is going to mean parts that need replacing and regular maintenance checks. It’s pretty fascinating how something as seemingly simple as keeping a close eye on your tires, making sure they are properly inflated and in beautiful condition can have such a great impact on the cost of your vehicle. Tires that are underinflated are known to reduce your gas mileage by as much as 15%! With gas prices as high as they are, a simple trip to the gas station for a checkup is in the best interest for the both of you. While you’re at it, don’t forget to check your air filters, which if full of dirt and debris can reduce your mileage as much as poor tire inflation.

 

I Don’t Have the Money for That!

Many of us find ourselves in situations at some point during our lives where we’re struggling to keep up with life: bills, the family, work and everything else that comes our way. When you add a vehicle that just keeps needing attention to the mix, it’s easy to be tempted to place that at the end of your to-do list. However, by doing so, you could be causing more damage than you realize. If your engine temperature light has been flashing at you, instead of continuing to put the issue off until a ‘tomorrow’ that never actually comes, have your car looked at ASAP and find another means of transportation if necessary. An overheating engine is more than irritating to you, it could mean permanent damage and that can get extremely costly.

Shortcuts Right Up Your Alley

Taking the easy way out isn’t something we would always recommend but there are ways to make owning a car less expensive. For one, you may want to spend a little extra money on an OBD-II Reader. This is a device that you can hook up to your vehicle which helps you diagnose an issue. The device costs you roughly what one visit to a local mechanic would so it quickly pays for itself. Plus, you’ll never have to drive around wondering what’s wrong with your car and stressing over when you’ll be able to scrounge up enough cash to pay for an inspection, let alone the cost of fixing the issue.

Another way to save a pretty penny is by finding people you can trust. Know someone who treats their cars like they would their children? See who they turn to when they need a helping hand. Oftentimes there are small, diamond in the rough shops that have skilled and caring employees that will go above and beyond to help you out. With the right connections, you may be able to get additional discounts or payment plans not generally available to everyday customers.

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The author of this post is Dawn Anderson, an employee at MoneySavingAngels, a company that provides assistance and financial advice. A numismatist, Dave has a penchant for collecting foreign currencies.

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