They say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
That saying certainly applies when it comes to your car. By spending a little bit of time and money before things go south, you could potentially save hundreds of dollars in the long run.
Not sure what to do? Then check out these four tips.
1. Buy a battery charger.
Dead batteries are a common annoyance, and you never really know when your battery is going to need a boost. It usually happens at the most inopportune time—and if there’s no one around to help out with jumper cables, you may need to pay a tow truck to have your vehicle towed to a mechanic. Then you’ll have to pay your mechanic to fix the problem.
The solution? Get yourself a battery charger. You’ll be able to help yourself, and you’ll be able to help other drivers who break down as well. Of course, you’ll need to take a few minutes to learn how to use it properly. But that’s a small price to pay when you weigh it against the possibility of being stranded on the side of the road.
2. Get repair estimates and keep track of repairs.
Many people get sticker shock after taking their cars to a mechanic. It can be surprising how much it costs to change the brake fluid or to handle any other repair. Instead of passively bringing the car into the shop and letting the mechanic do his thing, ask him for an estimate. It will help prevent sticker shock if there are additional charges once the car is fixed.
Knowing the history of your car is invaluable to both you and your mechanic. Like a doctor with medical records, a car repair record can help a mechanic get a better idea of your car’s history and what is causing the problem. Every time your car is repaired, keep the paperwork somewhere safe. The easier it is for a mechanic to diagnose the problem, the less you’ll have to pay for repairs.
3. Stay on top of maintenance.
There are many things you can do to keep your car running smoothly. First on the list is to get regular oil changes. Oil changes prevent serious damage from happening to your engine, and they really don’t require much time or money. Virtually every auto shop (and even many gas stations) offer oil change services. Know your car manufacturer’s guidelines for oil changes and track each time you get one.
When you get gas, it’s a good time to check how your tires are doing. Check the pressure to see if your tires are low, and also look for embedded rocks or small objects. If there appears to be a problem, have it checked out as soon as possible. You don’t want to stall out on the highway with a flat tire.
4. Find a good mechanic.
If you suspect that your car has even the smallest of problems, it’s smart to get it checked out right away by a reputable mechanic. Sometimes a small symptom indicates a much larger problem.
Finding a good mechanic goes beyond scoping out good prices—it’s about finding someone you can trust. Before you bring your car into the shop, speak with a friend or family member about who they recommend. Read online reviews, and check if there are any complaints against the mechanic logged with the Better Business Bureau.
A final way to take good care of your car is by having auto insurance you can truly count on. The right auto insurance will help you bounce back after an accident—and can even offer you extras like roadside assistance and insurance to rent a car after an accident. Contact an insurance professional like a local Erie Insurance agent to learn more and to get a free quote.
Steve Moore has been in the retail automobile industry for 24 years. He started his career in 1992 as a sales person working for the Hanover Toyota car dealership in Hanover, Pennsylvania. Today, he is the general manager of Hanover Toyota.