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I probably don’t need to talk about gas prices…they are pretty rough across the board right now. But when you figure in car repairs, maintenance and upkeep, having wheels really hurts the budget. Even though it’s expensive and biking, carpooling or taking the bus will probably always be cheaper, it pays to keep in mind these tips for keeping your car running well and paying as little as possible for gas and upkeep.

Cleaning: do it yourself, kid. Washing and vacuuming your own car is the cheapest way to go, but if you’re like me and live in an apartment where there isn’t a hose, the do-it-yourself coin washes generally cost about $5 instead of $10 to $20 to have it washed.

Get your oil change on. If you have the space, why not learn how to change your oil yourself? And if you’re like me and would totally never do that, it can help to cut coupons for oil changes, and stick to the schedule recommended in your owner’s manual.

Keep gas expenses down. The good news is, you can find out where to get the cheapest gas at sites like this one. Other wise ways to save gas are to buy a fuel efficient car, drive less than 60 mph, avoid quick stops and starts, and consolidate your trips.

Stay on top of maintenance. Maintenance costs do hurt, but they are likely to save you BIG in the long run. Just make sure to check fluids and tire pressure regularly; and have your mechanic check hoses, belts, your battery, and brake and exhaust systems according to the schedule in your owner’s manual.

Find a good mechanic. I know — if only it were so easy! Sometimes it takes a few tries to find a mechanic you trust. Referrals from friends and online reviews are a good place to start. You can also ask for a second opinion or research the average costs of repairs being recommended by a mechanic to be sure they aren’t scamming you.

For more simple car-care tips, check out our recent blog posts on how to save on gas and avoiding car maintenance missteps.

by Variny Paladino

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