It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that we are living in a time of financial turmoil. Not only that, we the everyday working Americans are completely out of control of what happens on Wall Street, or what effects the price of gas. Unfortunately in times like these our cars still break down, requiring expensive parts and service. Therefore, we need to educate ourselves on ways to prevent these costly repairs or, if need be, how to fix them our self. Let’s take a quick look at some tips that will help keep our car running for a long time without costing a lot of money.

Every car owner should have a basic concept of maintenance. No matter what the economy is doing you can extend the life of your car greatly by doing some preventative maintenance. You can do this through your mechanic or you can do it yourself, either way here are a few things you should do on a regular basis.

1) Change your oil at the frequency and with the product recommended by the manufacturer. Not all oils are created equal and some of your manufacturer warranties may be void if you use a cheap substitute.
2) Have routine tune ups done on your vehicle. This will include things like changing plugs and wires, air filters, and rotating your tires.

All these things will add years to the life of your car and prevent costly repairs. In fact, sometimes a routine checkup will reveal a potentially expensive break down before it happens. Leaks in seals or hoses that will take a few minutes and few dollars to fix can lead to total engine failure.

Don’t worry if you happen to be in a place where routine visit to the mechanic is not in the budget. You can do most maintenance activities yourself for a lot less. You will incur some initial costs to buy the basic tools but even with this cost you will save money in the long run. You can change your own oil and rotate your tires fairly quickly and just as effectively as any mechanic. The main thing you will need is an automotive repair manual for your specific car. This invaluable tool is essential for every car owner because it will give you basic troubleshooting along with step-by-step instructions for repairs and maintenance.

You can also do most if not all the repairs on your vehicle much in the same way as above. For example, let’s say that your car has begun overheating. Get out your handy repair manual and look up the problem in the troubleshooting section. The different symptoms your car has will lead you to the problem and then tell you how to fix it! By the way, the most common causes for overheating are a bad thermostat or a leak in the cooling system. Moreover, even if you are using a mechanic your repair manual can still contain useful information that will keep you from being ripped off by a crooked mechanic.

Now that you have an idea of the parts will you need always check around to find the best price, or you can even purchase used parts. Many times, you can buy used parts at a fraction of the cost of new parts. Again even with the use of a mechanic this can be helpful. Do not let any mechanic tell you that you have to get your parts through them. A good honest mechanic will allow you to choose where you buy your parts and whether to use new or used.

Whatever problem you run into you can find a financially viable way to address it. Go to the internet to find great prices on used parts and accessories online. Not only will you save some money, you will learn invaluable information about the car that you drive. Diagnosing car problems and then knowing where to go to get great prices on parts is smart and will help you monthly budget no matter what the economy is doing. Also, you will gain skills to ensure that a mechanic will never rip you off again.

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