3 Ways To Stretch The Life of Your Car

3 Ways To Stretch The Life of Your Car August 11, 2011

A recent AAA survey came out that said 54% of Americans don’t want the financial headache of having a new car payment.  With the uncertainty of the economy causing unrest among Americans, the trend has been to keep your car running as long as possible.  Unfortunately, while the economic bind has kept drivers from upgrading their vehicles, the cost of repairing their old cars is becoming more and more burdensome.  According to USA Today, 25% of drivers have neglected repairs and maintenance on their vehicles in the past year because of economic reasons.

Even more shocking were the stats that said 28% of drivers could not afford a repair bill of $2,000 and nearly one in five drivers couldn’t afford a $1,000 repair bill.  (This, of course, is why it’s so important to maintain a healthy emergency fund!)

Stretch out the Oil Change

Even large oil change chains agree that driving habits matter more when it comes to changing your oil.  The standard 3,000 miles or 3 months has been stretched to 5,000 or 5 months.  Always be sure to check your owner’s manual to see the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance schedule and be sure to document each service visit so that you’re confident the next time you go to the mechanic.

Service the Small Things

Don’t let a $300 timing belt repair turn into a $1,200 engine problem because you thought it would be ‘ok for a while.’  The same can be said with brakes and tires.  Why risk the chance of further damage and more repairs when you can take care of the problem sooner?

Drive Less; Carpool More

There’s no guarantee that driving less will mean fewer repairs, but it certainly will reduce the wear and tear that is put on your car.  If you have two cars in your family, try to schedule trips with one car and alternate vehicles when possible to keep them running to spread the wear.  With gas creeping up to $4 for many parts of the U.S., this strategy could reduce your family’s gas bill significantly each month.

Have you tried to reduce your car expenses this year through creative ways?  Meet you in the comments!

image: ebis50

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