How To Get Free Car Maintenance
What is the most frustrating thing about car maintenance? . . .
You never know when you are going to need it … and it is usually expensive!
But there are some important preventative steps you can take to help reduce the occurrences and severity of surprise repairs.
For example, regular oil changes are the number one most valuable preventative maintenance activities you can do for your car’s engine.
And if you live in a state that gets a fair amount of snow, make sure you get an undercarriage wash after each major storm to get the new sticky salt mix they are putting on the roads now off your car so it doesn’t corrode your car from the bottom up. If you go to the car wash at a gas station when you are very low on gas, you can recover most of the cost of an automatic car wash in gas savings. Also, be sure to use a cash-back credit card to buy your gas and save even more.
There few things more frustrating and upsetting than coming back to where you left your car and discovering someone stole it.
Here are the best ways to prevent thieves from stealing your car.
A good quality security system is the best protection, but that is typically expensive. Of course, you will offset the expense of a security system many times over in reduced insurance costs. Nevertheless, here are more steps you should take …
- First, if you do get a security system, you want potential thieves to know you have a security system so they will go for an easier steal than your car.
- Make sure your security system has some indicator to reveal it is there … a flashing red light and stickers on the windows for example. But you want it to NOT be obvious which security system you have. This way, crooks will have less confidence in their ability to disable the alarm. Even if you don’t have a security alarm, security stickers can be enough to deter thieves so they move on to the next car.
- Whether you have a security system or not, reinforce the vulnerable spots. For example, if your steering column has a plastic or flimsy metal casing, buy a reinforced collar for it.
- Turn the front wheels sharply towards the curb when you park. Also make sure the front of the car is NOT pointed into the street. This makes it so the thief would have to tow from the back, and the turned wheels makes it very difficult to tow or even to get onto a flatbed tow truck.
- If you buy a security system or alarm, favor one with a tilt alarm to further thwart towing attempts.
- Etch (or have etched) your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on the windows and major parts (doors, bumpers, tops, fancy wheels, fenders, etc.). Body shops will not accept the parts if the VIN is etched in them, because the Police will do spot checks. Then put a note in the window that all parts have been etched.
- If you are more industrious, install a toggle switch on the wire between the starter motor and the ignition switch … in a hidden from sight location. NOTE: This may void a new car warranty so check first.
There are also lots of ways to save money on your car. Here are a few:
- Buy tires marked “BLEM” for blemished for discount prices
- You can defer replacing wipers by rubbing edge that contacts the windshield with a knife blade, sandpaper, or the striking area of a book of matches.
- Run the A/C for 10 minutes each week. This maintains coolant pressure and avoids A/C breakdown.
- Watch servicemen while they check your oil and other fluids. Just watching will help keep them honest.
- Clean corrosion off your battery terminals. You can use wire brush or steel wool, but be careful not to touch the positive terminal and any other part of the car to avoid electric shock. You can also use a mild solution of baking soda and water to clean off battery acid. Finally, you can prevent acid build up and corrosion by applying a film of grease to the terminal and clamp after the clamp is connected.
- Keep your windows and sunroof closed while driving to improve your gas mileage up to 5 miles per gallon.
- Consider your speed. Your gas mileage will drop by 2 miles per gallon for every 5 miles per hour (mph) you go over 50 mph.
Here is a free Auto Care Basics audio for you. (click to play or right-click & Save As to download the MP3 file).
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Tire rotation saves you money and keeps your car safer. Regular battery checks and diagnostic checks can help you avoid being stranded on the side of the road.
Did you know you can get some of these preventative car maintenance services done for free?
Of course, you can do some of these yourself if you buy the right tools and supplies. But I am going to show you how to avoid most of these costs too.
Let’s start with Tire Repair and Rotation.
Go to your local Pep Boys, and they will repair and rotate your tires for free … even if you didn’t buy your tires at Pep Boys. To find your local Pep Boys, go to http://storelocator.pepboys.com/pepboys.
If you buy your replacement windshield wipers at Autozone, O’Reilly, or Advance Auto Parts, they will replace your wiper blades for free. Don’t pay the high prices at Jiffy Lube; get them cheaper at these stores and get the installation for free.
If you are a Sam’s Club member, they will install your new wipers for free no matter where you bought them. To find your local store, search for “Store Locator” at Autozone.com, OreillyAuto.com, or AdvanceAutoParts.com.
You can also get your battery tested free at Pep Boys, AutoZone, Firestone, and Advance Auto Parts. They will tell you if the battery is good, needs recharging, or should be replaced. Pep Boys will also check your brakes, brake fluid, and alignment for free as well. Meineke and AAMCO will test your brakes for free.
I haven’t figured out how to get free oil changes yet, but you can nearly always find a coupon online to get an oil change and tire rotation for just $19.95 at Mr. Tire … and sometimes you can get it for just $9.95.
Why do these businesses offer all these free services?
It is to get your into the store. They are hoping you will buy something else from them … if not now while you wait, then later.
But these are all valuable time and money saving techniques that will keep your car or truck running better, longer, and safer.
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