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Save Money On Your Car With The Power Of Knowledge

buying a new car
Photo by Anthony Shkraba

Knowing Your Car Saves A Lot of Money

A lot of people say that if you have a car repair bill, it’s cheaper to buy a new car, but more often than not, this isn’t really true. Even more important to consider is that routine car maintenance can keep a car running for a long time and usually lower costs than buying a new car when your old one starts showing wear. SE Performance, a mechanic in Cache Valley has often told us the importance of routine maintenance. But they’ve also got a lot to say about the importance of knowing your car. Here’s what they said.

Knowledge Is Power

1. Know What Kind of Car You’re Buying

All cars are different and this is why knowing about your car makes such a huge difference in your expenses. It starts even before you buy your car. Because of differences in how cars are built, some cars are more expensive to maintain than others. Some might have unusual parts that are hard to get, or might put the parts of their engine in difficult to reach places. Some car manufacturers use warranties to force people to buy only certain expensive brands of parts – whether they’re all that good or not.

Knowing this is important to buying a car that you can maintain on your budget. Before you even buy a car, you should do your research on the brand. Find out how expensive it is to maintain as well as how much it costs to buy. Learn what kind of parts it uses, and how easy it is to do routine maintenance on those parts. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be able to buy a car that won’t destroy your budget with unexpected expenses down the line.

2. Know A Good Mechanic

Did you know that a lot of national mechanic shop chains aren’t staffed by trained mechanics? It’s true; the managers of chains will continue to make money whether or not an individual store closes, so they often don’t care if their workers are that skilled at car repair. One story SE Performance told us about was how a client came to them to get their car fixed because a Jiffy Lube employee tried to change their oil . . . through the air filter. That’s not a mistake any trained mechanic would make, but that’s just how it is with national chains.

When it comes to routine maintenance, it pays to know a good local mechanic. The local mechanics trade on their reputation: if they don’t have that, they don’t have customers. So, before you start doing your basic maintenance, ask around to find where the locals go to get their car maintenance done. A trusted local mechanic will get the job done right and help you get the best price on it.

3. Get To Know Your Car

Every car is different. While knowing everything about how cars work is a bit much for the average person, it’s very easy to get to know the car you drive. First, cars provide you with an owners manual. This booklet tells you everything you need to know about the parts, warranties, functions, and how often certain core maintenance issues will need to be addressed. That will form an important basis for getting the most out of your car.

As you drive your car, you will start to get a feel for it. You’ll learn the sounds your car normally makes, the way it feels when you press the gas and brake pedals, the smoothness of its turning. When you familiarize yourself with these tangible elements of driving your car, you’ll be able to know when something is off. Slight changes in how your car handles, or sounds will stand out and you’ll know that it’s time to check up on it. Routine maintenance becomes easier to remember when you know how your car is supposed to feel and sound when it runs.

vehicle maintenance4. Know the Warning Signs

In addition to the very particular things associated with your car, certain things will be warning signs no matter what car you have. Just a quick search of the internet will turn up all sorts of articles on warning signs that signal something is wrong. Whether it’s lights dimming while the engine is on signaling electrical problems, or strange smoke coming out of the exhaust signaling many possible engine troubles, certain things will always happen when certain things go wrong.

A lot of people make the mistake of ignoring these warning signs, or not knowing enough about their car to be able to recognize them. It’s not hard to do some basic research on this subject, and a good mechanic will be more than happy to tell you important things if you ask questions. Make sure you take some time to learn what you should watch for before something goes wrong.

5. Know What You Can Do Yourself

Anything you can do yourself is money saved, as long as you do it right. That said, some things are not good to do yourself. Fixing engine problems isn’t something you can do without proper training in how engines actually work. Replacing a lightbulb for your brake lights, however? That’s much easier. Changing oil? If you’ve got the time, doing it yourself is possible and might save you some cash (though it’s usually cheap enough that the time saved is worth the money spent). Even then, not all cars are the same. What you might be able to do with one car model could be something harder in a different model.

Once again, a little research and familiarizing yourself with your car really helps you figure out where you can save money by doing it yourself.

With Cars, A Little Knowledge Goes A Long Way

You don’t have to know everything about cars to use them, but knowing just a little can be very useful. Knowing the particulars of different car models before you buy can help you pick one that will be less expensive to maintain. Familiarizing yourself with how your car handles and learning the warning signs will help you know when to take your car in for maintenance to prevent expensive repairs. Knowing what you can do yourself might save you a little money here and there over time. When all else fails, knowing a good local mechanic will help you get the best maintenance for your car when it really needs it.

Truly, knowledge is power.