How to keep repair costs low on your vehicle

It’s another Friday in the month of January, first month of the year 2019, and AutoClinic is back. Back with a whole lot in store for this year. Thank you for being with us, we do not take your audience and contributions for granted.

Today we are going to be discussing ways to save money on car maintenance.

Financial Planning is usually recommended, especially at the beginning of every year. Most people set their goals and try to stick to budget as much as possible, all year round.

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Do you know the annual cost of ownership of your vehicle(s)? I think it is important to know. That however will be a topic for another day.  Certain unforeseen but avoidable circumstances could show up and scuttle your financial plan, one of such is vehicle repair bill!


Notice I mentioned unforeseen and avoidable?

Here are some tips to avoid huge repair cost and keep your bills within budget.


  1. Rotate your car tires

Front and rear tires wear differently. Front tires carry more than 60% of your car’s weight; consequently, front tires wear down faster than the rear ones. Also, turning wears the front tires at different rates. In Nigeria, we generally take left turns faster than we do right turns. This puts more load on the left front tire which results in the left tire wearing faster than your right. After thousands of kilometers of driving, you end up with uneven tread wear.

Rotating tires equalises these natural wear patterns by changing the positions of your tires. By rotating your tires regularly, you’ll ensure yourself a smoother and safer ride. This simple one hour job (which is advisable to be done by professionals) will save you a lot of money in the long run by extending the life of your tires.

Most manufacturers recommend that you should rotate your tires every 5,000 miles/ 8,000KMs, an easy way to remember to rotate your tires is to do it whenever you change the oil on your car.


  1. Change the oil and air filters regularly

Changing the oil and air filters is one of the least costs you can incur but very important service in maintenance process. This basic service is often neglected. Oil lubricates the engine components and ensures even wear. But with time and usage, oil loses its efficiency. Regularly replacing the oil (check manufacturer’s recommendations) keeps parts clean and prevents the engine from exceeding normal operating temperature. Most oil changes also include the replacement of your car’s air filter, which keeps dirt, dust and debris from entering the engine. A dirty filter forces the engine to burn too much fuel and not enough air, increasing fuel consumption. Please check manufacturer’s recommended oil specification. Using inappropriate oils will reduce the level of vehicle fuel efficiency 1-7 per cent. Change the oil and air filters regularly.


  1. Keep your car clean

Water, mud, salt and calcium are all enemies of metal. So be smart about keeping your car sparkling. Leaving dirt and salt on your car speeds the process of oxidization, which corrodes the metal and may affect the resale value of your vehicle. Clean your car frequently.


  1. Keeps the Car’s Paint Shining Bright

Bright lights, shiny tires and great interiors would not have much of an effect on your car’s longevity without a well painted exterior. Your car’s paint job is one of the first things (if not the first thing) that others notice. Cars with dull, patchy paint jobs are definitely not attractive. The condition of the car’s paint job also gives an indication of how well your car is maintained. Detailing your car and paying attention to the paint job through proper waxing, polishing etc helps to extend the life of your car, as it retains its appeal.


  1. Maintain fluid levels

Each fluid in your car has a purpose. From engine coolant to transmission and brake fluids, if one of these fluid levels is too low, it increases the risk of damaging the mechanics of your vehicle. If you feel confident, consult your owner’s manual on how to check your car’s fluid levels yourself. Or during your next oil change, ask the mechanic to check levels before any repair work is done. For example, difficulty shifting gears may be solved with a simple transmission inspection and fluid top-up. In comparison, a transmission replacement can run into hundreds of thousands and sometimes millions of naira.


  1. Be ready to do it yourself

Do you instinctively run to your mechanic every time car troubles arise? Think again.

The truth is that not all car repairs need to be performed by a mechanic. Your mechanic likely generates his highest profit margins from the simplest repairs. In fact, the best way to save money on car repairs is to learn to manage a few basic maintenance items yourself. You can easily change the car battery, replace brake lights, change wiper blades, take care of oil and filter changes, and much more.

Yes, it will be daunting at first, but with practice it will get easier. If you are not sure how to fix a small problem, join one of our DIY classes that will be coming up in the course of this year.


  1. Be proactive with preventive maintenance

In medicine, they say that a pound of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure. This is also true when it comes to proper auto maintenance. Speaking from experience, here are a few preventive maintenance tasks to keep your car running smoothly and save money on car repairs that will arise due to poor maintenance. Inflate your tires to manufacturer’s recommendations

It might seem harmless to drive with under-inflated tires, but this increases wear and tear on your tires and car suspension and has a negative effect on fuel consumption.

Have glass chips repaired immediately

Repairing a small glass chip is inexpensive. However, leaving it exposed to bumpy roads and temperature fluctuations is a costly mistake. Eventually you will have to replace the entire windshield, which will definitely leave a dent in your pocket.

Regularly replace brake pads

Neglecting your worn out brake pads only does more damage to the braking system and components. Compared to rotors an calipers, brake pads are inexpensive.

Key takeaway: 

It’s cheaper to pay attention to our vehicle than to deal with huge repair costs stemming from negligence. Whatever it is you get up to today, tomorrow and the entire weekend ensure it’s a safe one.

See you next week.