Car Maintenance Checklist: Maintaining Your Car to Save You Money

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Car Maintenance Checklist: Maintaining Your Car to Save You Money

Car Maintenance Checklist: Maintaining Your Car to Save You Money

Most new and used cars prices are at record highs right now, but one of the best ways to save yourself from having to buy a new (or new-to-you) car is to prolong the life of your existing one. While keeping up with your car maintenance may not be the most thrilling item to cross off your to-do list, paying a bit of routine attention to your vehicle is worth it – for your safety and your savings. We’re here with the best car maintenance checklist to keep your car out of the shop and keep your money in your savings account!


Wash Your Car Regularly

Making sure to regularly wash your car is a good habit to get into to keep up the quality of your car. Although it’s tempting to rely on nature’s car wash, rain showers shouldn’t be your preferred method of washing your car. Exposure to the elements can damage a vehicle’s paint and lead to damaging rust on your car’s undercarriage. Consider a monthly membership to your local car wash – it’s much cheaper than paying for a new coat of paint.


Check Fluid Levels

The fluids in your vehicle include engine oil, windshield washer fluid, grease, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and transmission fluid. Some engines may include other fluid such as diesel exhaust after-treatment. Each of these fluids have some way of accessing their fill level, so you’ll know how much is in there. Most also have a way to determine how clean the fluid is. These fluids should be checked regularly. If you fail to maintain these fluids, specifically your car’s oil, it can lead to premature engine failure. Save yourself the stress and money by keeping up with your car’s fluids.


Check Your Spark Plugs

If your engine is giving you trouble, one of the common reasons (and easy fixes) is the spark plugs. The great news is that spark plugs generally cost less than $10 which is a small price to pay compared to replacing your engine which starts at around $4,000. It’s important to check and change the spark plugs in your car about every 30,000 miles.


Keep Your Battery Clean

Over time, corrosion, which may look like white or bluish powder, can form on the terminals of your car’s battery. If you fail to keep them clean, the battery could develop a crack or simply not function, leaving you stranded. Since a quality car battery can cost upward of $250, buying a $5 wire brush to keep the terminals looking spiffy is money well spent. Not to mention, you’ll save yourself the money you would have to spend to call a tow truck. We recommend testing your battery twice a year and regularly checking for corrosion to prolong the life of your car’s battery.


Check Your Tires

Did you know that tire pressure directly affects tread life, safety, and fuel economy? Few people remember to check their tires’ pressure regularly. Newer cars typically have tire pressure sensors built into them, which will display the tire pressure on the dashboard and provide a warning when it’s low, but for older car owners, it’s important to check your tire pressure at every fuel fill or on a weekly routine. It requires more diligence, but can save you the money you may have to spend to replace a flat tire. The tread on your tire is another important factor to keep an eye on. The less tread your tires have, the less grip your tires will provide, especially during quick maneuvers or hard stops during inclement weather. You should keep an eye on the tread of your tires and replace them if it’s getting too low. The last thing you want is to cause further damage to your car if your tires have inadequate tread.


Inspect Your Headlights, Turn Signals, and Break Lights

If you’re driving with a headlight or brake light out, you could end up getting pulled over. Tickets are expensive and can jack up the cost of your car insurance. Your lights on your car also provide another safety feature. They help you see and communicate with other drivers. Skip the tickets, stay safe, and check your lights regularly. You can have a friend or family member help you make sure everything is working properly by testing your lights at least once a month.


The Bottom Line

Car maintenance is an important part of vehicle ownership. While regular maintenance may seem expensive, it’s far more cost-effective than the costly repairs you’re likely to incur if you don’t follow this checklist. Establishing a separate car maintenance savings account will help you set aside money specifically for keeping up with your car, so you don’t end up dipping into other areas of your budget to cover the cost.




At Robins Financial Credit Union, our mission is to enhance the financial well-being of our members and community. We honor this commitment by providing educational content to help you make the most of your finances. Read our other blog articles to help you gain the financial knowledge you need to succeed.


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