New cars are getting more and more expensive to purchase, leading consumers to keep their current cars for longer. With proper maintenance cars many cars can last 200,000 miles or longer. However, neglecting your car, or trying to save money in the short term can have costly effects on your vehicle. Here are a some examples of how trying to save money in car repairs and maintenance and not thinking of the long term affects could actually cost you more in the long run.
1. Putting off or skipping oil changes.
Many cars can go longer in between oil changes than the past, however, issues with oil levels and dirty oil are the most common and potentially can be the most costly car maintenance problems. Motor oil gradually breaks down as it is circulated through your engine. After a certain number of miles, the oil doesn’t provide adequate lubrication to the internal parts causing friction and eventually causing the engine to break down prematurely. Additionally, engines do consume oil. By skipping oil changes and not checking the oil levels regularly you run the risk of running the engine without the proper amount of oil.
2. Not replacing filters when recommended
You car needs clean air to operate correctly. The air filter is the gateway for air to reach the engine. Having a dirty or clogged air filter can not only reduce the overall performance of your vehicle but can also cause the vehicle to overheat. Overheating your engine can cause severe damage to costly parts including the cylinders.
Other filters that should be replaced at regular intervals are: Oil filters, they should be replaced at every oil change to help keep the new oil clean; Fuel Filters, should be replaced based on your vehicle recommendations, typically around 20,000 miles; Cabin Air Filter, which should be checked at every oil change and replaced when dirty.
3. Driving on bald or underinflated tires
Driving on bald tires is just unsafe. Worn and underinflated tires affect your handling and steering ability and increases the braking distance dramatically. It also increases your chances or hydroplaning during bad weather or experiencing a blow out when traveling at high speeds. It is just not worth the risk to drive around on bald tires. Additionally, underinflated tires can reduce your fuel economy and reduce the life of your tires.
4. Changing tires without an alignment
New tires are not inexpensive and if you are replacing all 4 it can get expensive. To ensure you get the longest life possible from your new tires you will want to have an alignment done. An alignment ensures that the wheels of your car are positioned properly on the road. When a car is out of alignment, the tires wear out prematurely or in places where they’re not supposed to. It is important to have this done if you are replacing two or more tires.
5. Buying cheap batteries
A less expensive battery generally has fewer cells and less reactive material in it then a higher end battery. What this means for you is that over time the less expensive battery will fail to provide the accurate amperage needed to run the vehicle and charge the system. After some time the battery will not be able to hold a full charge.
When dealing with car repairs sometimes you need to think about the old saying “You get what you pay for” . Going the less expensive direction is not always the best answer.