Don’t Shop around for a better price; Avoid Big Repair Bills Instead.
“Save 15% on your Car Insurance.” How many times do you hear that phrase each day on TV and on the Web? I know. Too many times.
Sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees and advertisers know that. They want you to be obsessed with a lower quote. But what’s good for advertising may not be good for your bank account. And while you can put repair charges on your credit card, it’s one of those ways your personal debt can get out of control.
Big Picture: Consumers Get False Savings
Owners might save $10,000 over the life of a car or truck by doing preventive maintenance. It’s painfully ironic that consumers and insurance companies focus on saving $100 to $300 a year on hunting for cheap insurance, while we let things go on our car or truck and see it come back to haunt us later.
Auto repair costs are significant. Replacement parts are extremely expensive and repair shop door rates are in the range of $120 to $150 per hour. There goes all your insurance savings right there.
Instead of shopping online to save money on a policy that gives you less than you need, we suggest saving thousands of $$$ on quick maintenance routines that keep you away from that big auto breakdown. And of course, that always has to happen at the worst time, such as when you’re leaving on vacation, going to work, or driving in the city a long way from home. So annoying and expensive.
Instead, try these simple maintenance tasks and keep away from those nasty big repair bills. If you take care of your automobile, you may not have to trade it in so soon.
Money Saving Maintenance Ideas
- Wheel alignment – every mile you drive is like dragging your tire sideways which ruins your tire tread and puts strain on other steering components and could conceivably damage your wheel bearings.
- Brakes – it’s easy for brakes to wear to the point of metal to metal contact and damage the rotors
- Motor Oil – changing the oil every 5k is perhaps the most important maintenance item. Keep it fresh and your car might last 300km.
- Timing Belt – timing belts wear out fast and you’re playing Russian roulette by waiting longer than the manufacturer’s recommended distance. If it breaks, you could destroy your engine.
- Battery Charge – If your battery charge goes too low, it puts a big strain on your alternator and alternator replacement costs big bucks today.
- Wheel bearings – It’s tough to be a wheel in Canada, so don’t be surprised if one of your wheels goes. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen when you’re driving on the 401, 404, or 407. Check the wheel for signs of play.
- Gas Tank – gas has dirt in it so don’t let your fuel in tank get too low where the pump will catch the dirt on the bottom. And check your fuel filter every 5k too.
- Air Conditioner – It needs to be turned on every month even during winter to keep it lubricated.
- Drive on Highway – If you live in the city, you may not venture out on the highway, but you should get your vehicle out on the highway at maximum speed for 20 minutes to get rid of condensation in the engine.
- Shocks and Struts – If these go, your wheels will take an extra beating and if they break on the road, you’ll need a tow.
- Water Pump and Fan – check regularly to ensure you don’t have an engine overheat as this is very damaging to engine components.
- Lubricate the Door Hinges – Replacing door hinges is a pain. Avoid that by ensuring they’re oiled, especially the driver’s door.
- Check for Recalls – Check on your manufacturer’s website for recalls. The issues they report might lead to other problems if not corrected.
The whole point of these maintenance procedures is to avoid or put off expensive major repairs. If they happen, you could easily lose $10,000 over the later part of the car’s life.
That beats obsessing about insurance premiums every year and settling for a policy that offers less protection and benefits than you might enjoy.