We all want to save money as best we can. No matter if you’re driving a Mercedes or a MINI, a Ferrari or a Ford Fiesta, you want to ensure that you aren’t wasting money on something avoidable. This is especially true when it comes to car maintenance.

Who hasn’t entered their car into an MOT and then spent the next few hours praying to whatever deity that will listen in hope that they will keep any costs low. But it needn’t have to be so desperate. Regular car maintenance will help you save money as you tackle potential issues before they become severe problems. But, if you aren’t car literate, what can you do?

We’ve put together seven top car maintenance tips to help save you money.

1. Listen To Your Car

When you’re cruising along in your car, you might start to tune out the regular engine sounds as you go about your daily driving business. But listening to the sounds your car makes can give you a heads up of potential problems.

You should familiarise yourself with the sound of your car engine idling and running, as well as the sound of the brakes and suspension, something you can hear best as you get in and out of the car. Another tip for suspension is to get out and push on each corner, feeling how responsive each wheel is.

By keeping your ear out for any sudden new sounds, anything that sounds a little pained or struggling, and for any loud bangs or squeals, you can be alerted to an issue as and when it happens.

2. Look Online For Advice and Tips

Car lovers are keen to demonstrate their expertise, so you’ll be able to go online and find a forum or blogger who has a particular interest in your make and model. They will talk you through the regular features and bugs of your car, what issues are commonplace and how they can be treated or avoided. They might provide step-by-step tutorials on simple maintenance work, teaching you how to tackle something that is relatively easy to fix.

Video tutorials are also very common, so you’ll be able to find an instructional guide on how to carry out different repairs. Just be sure to check out the comments and feedback to ensure that the video is accurate and not teaching you to do something wrong.

3. Carry Out A Regular Check Of Your Car

Before any long journey and at least a few times a year, you should have a check of your car and ensure that some simple things are up to scratch.

  • Tyres – are they properly inflated? Do they have the correct tread depth all around the tyre (both on the inside and outside of the tyre tread).
  • Oil – Use the dipstick to check the oil level. If it is low, add some more oil, but make sure it is the correct type for the car you’re driving. Using the wrong oil can cause it to be less efficient and lead to serious problems.
  • Coolant – top up the water levels in the radiator and the windscreen wiper fluid to the recommended level. Make sure you mix in some anti-freeze so the car doesn’t freeze up in the summer.

4. Light Bulbs And Casings

The lights on your car are almost as important as any other part. Used to light your way, indicate which direction you are going, or tell people when you are stopping. Changing a broken lightbulb is one of the relatively straightforward car maintenance tasks you can do.

But you will also want to clean out the light casings. Use warm soapy water to clean the grim from the plastic, making sure they're nice and transparent. They can easily become covered in dirt and grime which makes them less efficient.

5. Clean Out The Filters

Over the year, the air filter in your car can become full of dirt and debris. Not only does this make it less efficient, causing you to waste more petrol heating or cooling your car, but if you suffer from hayfever, you will end up circulating pollen through the car long after the peak season has passed.

You might also want to clean out the car entirely, so that all the dirt and dust that accumulates is cleared out.

6. Find A Mechanic You Can Trust

Maintenance is all about tackling problems quickly and cheaply. But you will still need to take your car to a mechanic for an MOT. The question is – can you trust them? Well, the good news is that there are more than ever review websites online that have customers and members of the public reviewing and rating everything, including mechanics.

Make sure you look at a few different review websites, to ensure that you are getting a balanced, unbiased opinion. You should also speak to friends and family to see if they recommend someone, or even have a relative who is a car mechanic and therefore less likely to rip you off.

7. If In Doubt, Take It To A Professional

One of the most costly things you can do is to have a go at fixing something you don't understand. Most of us struggle enough assembling flat-pack furniture from Sweden, so why would we be able to take apart a head gasket or catalytic convertor?

Look, no one is going to judge you if you go to an expert for their advice. And let’s face it, you are likely to do more damage to your car if you attempt to fix something you don’t understand. What might have been a small problem could easily be turned into an expensive issue that needs a lot of time and money to repair.

So, take advantage of your trusted mechanic and let their experience, skill and tools do the jobs you can’t.

Is It Time to Upgrade Your Vehicle?

Looking after your car can help to prevent certain costs. However once a car reaches a certain age, problems tend to become more frequent, no matter how well you maintain it. Because after all – nothing lasts forever! Therefore, it can often be more cost effective to replace your old car with a newer model.

At Creditplus, we have finance packages available from just £91 per a month – which means you don’t have to break the bank! We can even accept your old car as a part-exchange towards your new vehicle. Check your eligibility for car finance today, - or find out how much your old vehicle is worth with our car valuation tool.

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