How to Look After Your Car on a Budget
Owning a car can be super convenient but not always economical when you’re a student. A student budget can make it difficult, if not impossible, to keep something that comes with daily, weekly, monthly and yearly expenses. While you could forgo the expense of owning a vehicle altogether, there are some budget-friendly maintenance tips that can make owning a vehicle more affordable for budget-conscious students. Make it from point A to point B safely and without breaking the bank! Below are a few of these handy, money saving maintenance tips:
Only Get Free Diagnosis
Professional vehicle diagnostics usually cost more than $75, and while most drivers might think that the only way to have a car’s ‘health’ issues diagnosed is to bear this expense or visit an expensive mechanic, this isn’t the case. For maximum affordability with maximum service, you could visit a local retail car shop. Although, these shops don’t focus on repairs, they do offer tools and services that can diagnose issues and make your repairs more affordable. Not only do these shops offer affordable diagnostics, most of them also offer these services for free.
Never Skip Routine Maintenance
Ensuring your car is well-maintained is the best way to prevent expensive repairs, and routine vehicle maintenance is simple (in most cases) and affordable if performed on a regular basis. Generally, your car should get a ‘checkup’ at least twice a year. Skipping maintenance checkups could be more costly than paying for them; if your car isn’t well-maintained and checked, it could be vulnerable to costly issues, such as suspension, transmission and engine problems. These problems are at least ten times (10x) more expensive than routine maintenance. To protect your car, and for optimal performance, make sure the oil is changed regularly, the tires are rotated on schedule and the engine, transmission and other components are checked annually.
Work on the Car Yourself
For handy, curious and creative people, car repairs may be in line with your personal pursuits. Learning to repair some of your vehicle’s smaller issues could improve your knowledge of vehicles and even lead to a new hobby. But, most importantly, it can save you time and money. If you’re serious about becoming an amateur mechanic, seek the help of a real mechanic or find some tips on repair websites, forums or even from DIY(do-it-yourself) videos on YouTube. Most handy vehicle owners could easily perform average repairs like brake or alternator replacement. You could also provide emergency service or repairs to your vehicle. Just remember to travel with an emergency kit that includes tools for fixing a flat tire, replacing or jumping a dead battery and more.
Always Make Repairs Immediately
If you ignore your vehicle’s issues, they may quickly escalate, and small, cheap repairs may turn into large, expensive repairs. Therefore, whenever your car needs a fix, it should be addressed right away. For example, if a coolant leak is causing overheating, ignoring it could allow this issue to spread to your engine or its components. While a coolant leak can be fixed affordably with a small hose clamp, engine issues can be highly expensive, and in some cases, irreparable. To avoid these types of issues and/or costly repairs, always visit a mechanic at the first sign of an issue or before a small fix becomes too much to handle.
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