Maintaining a car can be a costly activity–but it might not be as costly as you think. Most mechanics don’t want you to know most of the following tips. That’s because some maintenance really isn’t necessary, or isn’t required at the “recommended mileage.”
- You don’t need to have your oil changed every 3,000 miles. In fact, most manufacturers say that most cars don’t need an oil change for 7,500 miles. Check your manual for certainty.
- An additional warranty may be unnecessary. Most car manufacturers will guarantee cars for up to 70,000 miles, so be sure to check this before buying an additional warranty package.
- Be smart about your inspection. Some car companies will sell you a $350 inspection deal, but in the process that means they will look for other things to fix that may not yet need fixing. For example, they may tell you that your brakes are worn down by 50 percent. Here’s the thing: you don’t need to replace your brakes until they are worn to about 85 to 90 percent of their original thickness.
- Question flushes. Some mechanics may encourage you to flush the car of brake fluid, power steering fluid, or transmission fluid. This isn’t always necessary. Most of these fluids, depending on the car, only need to have the fluid changed if something is wrong. Ask the mechanic to show you the fluid, explain why it needs to be changed, and then do some research online about what signs to look for that might indicate that the fluid needs to be changed. Again, check your car’s manual.
- However: Pay for quality materials! It may seem that you’re saving money by buying generic brake pads, but cheaper ones aren’t necessarily good quality and may wear out more quickly. Brake pads are worth splurging on in the long run. So is high-quality synthetic motor oil.
Bottom line: every car is different. Be sure to look at your car manufacturers’ manual and recommended maintenance schedule as a guide. Also, don’t be afraid to get a second opinion.