mechanic http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/10703/all en-US How to Tell If a Car Service Plan Is Worth It http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-tell-if-a-car-service-plan-is-worth-it <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-tell-if-a-car-service-plan-is-worth-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_73183307_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="is a car service plan worth it?" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Considering the purchase of an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-extended-warranties-ever-a-good-deal">extended warranty for a vehicle</a> can lead to serious mockery from the frugal. Everyone <em>knows </em>that dealerships tack large markups to these policies, extracting hundreds of extra dollars from customers. Consumer Reports warns that more than half of people who buy an extended warranty never use it, and even the minority that do use it end up, on average, spending more on the warranty than they save on repairs.</p> <p>But suppose you are able to purchase a warranty at a <a href="http://www.edmunds.com/car-buying/secrets-of-an-ace-negotiator-part-ii.html">low markup over the dealer's wholesale price</a>? Should you buy a warranty if it's a great deal?</p> <p>I recently found myself in this position after getting offered a price on a Toyota Extra Care Vehicle Service Agreement so low that a friend who worked at a different dealership urged me to snap it up. But still, I worried. Because even at a good price, coverage that I never used would still be money down the drain.</p> <p>I wished for a crystal ball that would tell me whether the used car I was buying &mdash; a late model Highlander Hybrid &mdash; would ever need the services covered by this plan. Seeing the future is impossible, of course. But with some digging, I found resources that helped me make an educated guess by answering the following questions.</p> <h2>How Long Would the Warranty Cover My Car?</h2> <p>The dealer was offering me an eight-year, 100,000-mile warranty, which sounded like a lot of coverage. But when I looked closer, I realized that the mileage limit was based on the odometer's mileage, not the miles I drove. Since the car already had about 60,000 miles on it, that meant this warranty would cover 40,000 miles of my driving. And since the certified preowned car came with a free one-year warranty, the VSA, if I bought it, it would kick in on year two. Assuming that the car would hit 100,000 miles after four years of driving, this meant that the supposed eight-year policy would really cover me for about three years. I used this information to calculate the cost per year.</p> <p>If you're not sure if a vehicle you're buying is already covered by a warranty, you can check by calling a dealership of that brand, or by getting a VIN-based report from CarFax or CarMD.</p> <h2>What Is the Rate for the Car I'm Buying?</h2> <p>When buying a VSA, it's like betting against the company that your car will break down. Of course, the carmaker and dealership know more about the car's reliability record than you do, so it's a bet that's stacked against you. However, it would help to know how likely it is that you'll need to repair your car during the warranty period, and fortunately, that information is available.</p> <p>One step you can take is to consult the reliability rating of your car's make and model on ConsumerReports.com. My particular car got high marks in this area, which was a strike against buying the warranty. In surveys, Consumer Reports has found that owners of more reliable vehicle makes tend to be less satisfied with their purchases of warranty plans.</p> <p>You can get more specific by ordering a Vehicle History and Title Report from CarMD, a company that sells a diagnostic tool that plugs into the car to tell you why the check engine light is on. You can order a report by typing the VIN into <a href="https://www.carmd.com/wp/how-to-run-a-health-and-history-report-without-a-tool/">CarMD's site</a>, and in addition to useful information about the car's history, CarMD will draw upon its large database to tell you whether a check-engine light repair is expected within the next year. CarMD showed me a report for a car with the same make, model, and mileage as the one I was buying, and the report indicated that no such repair was expected in the next 12 months.</p> <p>That was another strike against buying the VSA.</p> <p>What repairs can cause that light to go on? About 85% of the systems in the car, says CarMD spokeswoman Kristin Brocoff.</p> <p>&quot;It's not just a handful of parts. The car's check engine light can alert you to anything as small as a loose gas cap and serious as engine failure,&quot; she said.</p> <h2>What Are Car Repairs Likely to Cost Me?</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5170/reviewing_car_service_plan.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>CarMD can help answer this question too, using data from repair shops nationwide. The vehicle history includes a five-year cost of ownership estimate, which includes fuel, maintenance, repairs, insurance, and depreciation. For my vehicle of choice, Brocoff broke down the $50,433 cost listed on the report, and revealed that repairs over the next five years are expected to run $1,689.18, or $337.80 per year. This was more than the per-year price of my warranty, so, if all those expected repairs were covered by the warranty I was offered, maybe I would come out ahead by buying the warranty.</p> <p>Another way CarMD can help you predict your car's future is its regularly updated <a href="https://www.carmd.com/wp/vehicle-health-index-introduction/2016-carmd-vehicle-health-index/">Vehicle Health Index</a> reports, which are free dispatches on the cost and incidence of repairs for <em>all</em> cars. For instance, the 2016 VHI says that the typical &quot;check engine light&quot; repair in my region, the West, costs $403.42. Knowing that, I know I would have to get hit with at least two such repairs that were covered by my warranty to make the coverage pay off.</p> <h2>Will the Warranty Even Cover the Expected Repairs?</h2> <p>Up until this point, things have looked good for buying the warranty, because the data predicts that I'd spend a few hundred dollars a year on car repairs. But this is where things get head-scratchy. Some potential repairs would be covered by two <em>other </em>warranties that would come free with my car, and those that aren't might not be covered by the VSA, either.</p> <p>Like many certified used vehicles, my car came with a limited powertrain warranty, which covers &quot;major engine, transmission components, and all internally lubricated parts,&quot; up until my odometer hits 100,000 miles, i.e., for about the same amount of time as the VSA they want to sell me. Because it's a hybrid, Toyota is required by law to also provide a warranty for the hybrid battery, covering about the same period. So, only repairs that don't involve the powertrain or the hybrid battery could potentially be covered by the VSA. Then, of course, the VSA has a specific list of components it covers, and anything not listed there would cost me out of pocket.</p> <p>How do you know what parts are most likely to break? Again, I got help from CarMD's 2016 Vehicle Health Index, which told me that the <a href="https://www.carmd.com/wp/vehicle-health-index-introduction/2016-carmd-vehicle-health-index/#stats">most common check-engine-related repair</a> for all cars was replacing the oxygen sensor (average cost $250), followed closely by replacing the catalytic converter ($1,153!), and replacing ignition coils and spark plugs ($390 for both). Searching for these repairs on the list of items covered by&nbsp;<a href="https://www.sc.toyotafinancial.com/web/tfs/pub/contents/vsa/TFS_VSA_Platinum_VSA_eBrochure.pdf">Toyota's powertrain warranty and the Toyota Extra Care Platinum VSA</a>, I found the O2 sensor listed on neither, the catalytic converter and ignition coils listed on the VSA, and spark plugs listed on neither. The high cost and high ranking of catalytic converter replacement was definitely a point for buying the warranty; then again, even at the second most likely repair, this job only accounted for about 7% of all car repairs. And despite all the data I'd read, I could not really predict how likely it was that my car would need a new catalytic converter during the warranty coverage.</p> <p>After investing multiple hours researching the likelihood of needing the offered VSA, I came to the frustrating conclusion that buying it or not buying it was basically a toss up.</p> <p>My educated guess based on my research is that my car may need one or two of the smaller covered repairs during the coverage period, but that the out-of-pocket cost would be close to what I paid for the warranty. On the other hand, reading CarMD's reports made me feel more secure that the odds of a really expensive repair hitting me in the next few years was probably not very high.</p> <p>One actionable thing I learned from this experience is that if you opt to buy a VSA, you should absolutely not pay the first price offered by the dealership. My dealership's finance guy first offered me the plan at twice the price he eventually ended up offering it at. All it took to cut the price in half was telling him that I didn't want to buy it.</p> <p><em>Have you purchased a similar warranty on your vehicle? Share your experience with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-tell-if-a-car-service-plan-is-worth-it">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-does-it-cost-every-time-you-get-into-your-car">How Much Does it Cost Every Time you Get Into Your Car?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers">Ask the Readers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-drop-collision-coverage-on-your-car">When to drop collision coverage on your car</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-car-battery-warmers">The 5 Best Car Battery Warmers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-jump-starter-kits">The 5 Best Jump Starter Kits</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation car car insurance car maintenance car repair car service plan mechanic saving money service plan Mon, 18 Jul 2016 09:30:37 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1753054 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Easy DIY Car Repairs to Save Big http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-diy-car-repairs-to-save-big <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-easy-diy-car-repairs-to-save-big" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/car_service_000017616649.jpg" alt="Car repairs you can easily do yourself" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of the monthly expenses many of us forget to include in our budgets is <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-slick-tools-to-save-money-on-car-repairs">car repair and maintenance</a>. Sure, we put down the price of gas, and maybe an oil change every two or three months, but we forget about most of the ongoing maintenance costs. Cars need regular maintenance over their useful lives, and most of us will pay through the nose to get it performed. But it doesn't have to be that way. With parts bought online, some simple tools, and a little basic knowledge, many car repairs can be done without visiting a mechanic.</p> <p>I talked to Richard Reina, the Training Director at <a href="http://www.carid.com/">CARiD</a>, about some of the easiest car repairs you can do at home. You can find most of the replacement parts at CARiD or similar sites, plus many instructional videos and fact sheets that will ensure you have the help you need every step of the way. I also talked to several mechanics, including a family member who has had over 20 years of experience fixing cars. He, like many other experts, was adamant that with preparation, you can save a lot of time and money on repairs.</p> <h2>1. Change Your Own Brake Pads</h2> <p>When I first heard that, my reaction was &quot;No way, I'm not messing with my brakes!&quot; But as Reina points out, it's a very simple and inexpensive procedure that mechanics and specialty brake shops will charge hundreds of dollars to do. The industry wants you to think it's hard, because they make a lot of profit from a very simple procedure, but pads are way easier to replace than old fashioned drum brake &quot;shoes.&quot;</p> <p>All you need is a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004SEXO3E/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004SEXO3E&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=HZG267264PF33LG4">wheel lug wrench</a>, some <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004QO9MAU/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004QO9MAU&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=NBJPGJ3TPWJWCZON">basic wrenches</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000NPXI0G/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000NPXI0G&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=4RW72BPDX4EJRYYP">pliers</a>, and of course a jack and set of jack stands (never get under a car unless it is on jack stands; you cannot rely on the jack as it may fail).</p> <p>A set of new brake pads will set you back just $20&ndash;$40, depending on the car and pad material. Compare that to the industry average of $250 per axle, and you can see how much this DIY job will save you. The procedure is basic. Take off the wheel, remove the hardware, pull out the worn pads, push in the caliper piston, install the new pads, and reinstall the hardware. You should be able to do all four wheels in under an hour, even if this is your first time doing the job. The new pads will last between 30,000&ndash;50,000 miles, and you should check them every 10,000 miles. When the pad thickness falls below 2mm&ndash;3mm, it's time for another replacement set.</p> <h2>2. Change the Battery</h2> <p>It amazes me how many people will get a shop to replace the battery, since this is by far the easiest of all DIY repairs. A battery will last 4&ndash;6 years, so you should be able to figure out when your current battery is ready to be changed. (Almost every battery will have a date stamped on it, so look for this if you want to be sure.) You <em>do not</em> want to wait until you start having problems. If you do, you could be stranded with a dead battery, and that's dangerous for many reasons.</p> <p>The average price of a new battery is around $80, although you can spend more or less depending on the make and model. A dealer will charge upwards of $200 to replace it.</p> <p>To do the swap, you just need a basic set of wrenches. The biggest warning here, Reina says, is the order in which you remove the replace the cables. Remove the NEGATIVE (black) cable FIRST, and when you have installed the new battery, replace the NEGATIVE cable LAST. If you don't do it this way, you could short circuit the positive (red) terminal to a grounded part of the car.</p> <h2>3. Do Your Own Oil Change</h2> <p>A typical quick lube place could charge anywhere from $30 to $70 for an oil change. Some can go as high as $90&ndash;$100, especially if you own an expensive import. But then you see signs like $15 oil change and think, &quot;Well I'd pay that for the oil and filter anyway, so why not let them do it for me?&quot;</p> <p>Here's why. First, there is always an asterisk on those oil changes. They come with conditions, and may not include the correct amount of oil required for your engine (this happens a lot when you bring in an SUV or truck). You will also be given a low-grade oil, rather than a full synthetic or even a synthetic blend. And most importantly, the cheap oil change is a loss leader.</p> <p>The loss-leader oil change is a great way to get you to hand over your car to the garage so that they can get under the hood and see if it has problems. A reputable place won't find any unless there are genuine problems. Others, well, let's just say they find problems that don't need attention.</p> <p>Suddenly, the $15 oil change has become thousands in major repairs. Poor establishments will use high-pressure tactics to get you to sign up for the work, and you may not even get the chance to get a second opinion.</p> <p>So, do it yourself. Buy a good quality oil filter and the best oil you can afford from your local supplier (it can be an auto specialist or a retail store). Other than jack stands and a jack, you'll need an <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000NPPB6U/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000NPPB6U&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=I2Q5NR76Q5CIAA3M">oil filter wrench</a> and a drain pan. These only have to be purchased once and will last you decades (my father-in-law has been using the same drain pan for 20 years). You can find videos online walking you through oil changes on a variety of different vehicles.</p> <p>And one final note. As Richard Reina points out, the days of the &quot;every 3,000 miles&quot; oil changes are long gone. Vehicles these days can often go 10,000 miles between oil changes. Check your manual.</p> <h2>4. Change Your Spark Plugs</h2> <p>There is an episode of the iconic TV series <em>Frasier</em> that shows Niles and Frasier Crane attending an automotive workshop. The very first lesson is how to change spark plugs. It's one of the easiest home repairs you can do, although these days it is very rare you'll even have to perform this service. On modern cars, extended-life spark plugs can maintain a precise gap for 100,000 miles. However, it is still wise to check them every 30,000-40,000 miles, just to make sure.</p> <p>When the time does come to replace your spark plugs, along with your regular set of tools you will need a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002KNZ8C/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0002KNZ8C&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=URY7DFKT6D5FA6ZL">spark plug wrench</a>. Again, this is a &quot;buy once, use for a lifetime&quot; kind of purchase, and it's not very expensive (under $10 in most cases). (WikiHow has a great <a href="http://www.wikihow.com/Change-Spark-Plugs-in-a-Car">instructional piece here</a>.) And the savings&hellip;let's just say it's significant. You can pay over $300 for spark plugs to be changed, and spark plugs themselves are rarely more than $30 for a set.</p> <h2>5. Replace a Headlight or Taillight</h2> <p>If you are a good car owner, you will perform a regular walk around of your vehicle. It's important to do this for many reasons, but one of the biggest is to check that all the lights are working. Not only are lights essential for clear vision, and alerting drivers to your intentions, but you can also incur traffic tickets if they aren't working. So, try and do this at least once a month (you'll need someone to help you check the taillights).</p> <p>If one (or more) isn't working, it's time to buy a replacement and do it yourself. With the average hourly repair rate of a garage being $100, you could easily spend $25&ndash;$50 per bulb, especially if the shop has a minimum charge.</p> <p>One of the most important things to do is bring the old bulb with you to the store. You want to make sure you are getting like for like. And, when it comes time to change it out, never touch the bulb glass with your bare hands. The grease from your fingers can cause the bulb to burn out early.</p> <h2>6. Replace Your Windshield Wipers</h2> <p>Some people go to a garage or dealership to have their windshield wipers replaced. This is, without a doubt, a massive waste of your time and money. A set of wipers will run you between $20 and $40 on average, plus the dealer will charge you one hour of labor (that's about $100). Don't throw your money away. It takes minutes to replace the wipers on your vehicle yourself, and all of the instructions are provided in the replacement wipers you buy.</p> <p>When you go to a store &mdash; say Walmart or Target &mdash; they'll have a reference manual (these days it's often a small electronic terminal) which will tell you which wiper sizes you need to ensure a correct fit. In most cases, the old wipers slide out, and the new ones slide in. The last time I changed my wipers, it took two minutes for both&hellip;and most of that time was spent trying to hack open the vacuum-sealed plastic package!</p> <h2>7. Replace Your Air Filter</h2> <p>Richard Reina pointed out another simple fix that mechanics and dealerships will heavily mark up with labor costs and parts. And yet, it is a very quick fix (in most cases&hellip;if you happen to own a German import, you may have a few extra parts to remove to access the filter). On average, you'll pay over $100 in labor costs, and $50 for the filter.</p> <p>The typical cost of an air filter from a retail store is between $15&ndash;$20, but again, this can be higher depending on the make and model of your car. In most cases, you will simply have to open up the hood of the car, turn a few screws, open the air filter housing, swap out the old for the news, and replace the screws. It really is that simple, and you can save a ton of money doing it yourself.</p> <h2>8. Fix a Chipped Windshield</h2> <p>I recently had to do this one myself, and I can tell you&hellip;it's so simple. I had a small rock chip in the windshield. I was tempted to go by one of those &quot;fix it free&quot; places that hang out near malls, but they operate through your insurance company, and I wasn't keen on going through all that for a simple rock chip.</p> <p>On Amazon or eBay, you can find <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004GFS2C8/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004GFS2C8&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=TGVTUO2W4ELE2GOQ">windshield repair kits</a> for under $15. Some run as low as $8. When you get it, all you need to do is dig out any loose glass with the pin provided, and then thoroughly clean it, and the surrounding area. You will have to stick a small device to the windshield that forms a seal around the rock chip, and then a vacuum contraption will work to apply the resin into the crack. It's an operation that takes less than one hour, from opening the package to the finished result, and most of that is simply waiting time. Stop that crack from spreading, before you need to replace the entire windshield. That can be costly.</p> <p><em>Now, what services do you regularly perform on your own car that saves you time and money? Let us know in the comments below. </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-diy-car-repairs-to-save-big">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-smart-ways-to-boost-your-gas-mileage">11 Smart Ways to Boost Your Gas Mileage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/to-change-the-bulb-just-remove-the-bumper-wait-what">To change the bulb, just remove the bumper. Wait, what? - UPDATED.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buying-a-rental-car-heres-what-you-need-to-know">Buying a Rental Car? Here&#039;s What You Need to Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-home-maintenance-to-dos-for-spring">8 Easy Home Maintenance To-Dos for Spring</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-quick-clothing-and-shoe-repair-fixes-you-should-own">15 Quick Clothing and Shoe Repair Fixes You Should Own</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Cars and Transportation DIY fixing maintenance mechanic repairs vehicles Wed, 15 Jul 2015 17:00:10 +0000 Paul Michael 1484612 at http://www.wisebread.com Do These 5 Car Maintenance Tasks and Keep Your Car on the Road Forever http://www.wisebread.com/do-these-5-car-maintenance-tasks-and-keep-your-car-on-the-road-forever <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/do-these-5-car-maintenance-tasks-and-keep-your-car-on-the-road-forever" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/car-inspection-173299274-small.jpg" alt="car inspection" title="car inspection" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You know the feeling: You start the car, and there's a weird noise. Or the check engine light starts to flash halfway into a road trip. Or before leaving for work you discover a disturbing pool of liquid under the car. Pangs of fear course your nervous system, and you frantically check your online banking portal to see if taking the car in will kill your budget. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-slick-tools-to-save-money-on-car-repairs?ref=seealso">6 Slick Tools That Can Help You Save on Car Repairs</a>)</p> <p>All it takes is some foresight to take some preventative measures that keep you from needing major repairs or even replacing your car. You can pay small amounts of money and time for minor improvements in the present that will save you lots of money in the future. Here are five types of maintenance that could save you from costly repairs or even needing a new car.</p> <h2>1. Regular Oil Changes</h2> <p>The average car needs an oil change every 3,000 to 7,000 miles, depending on your car and how often you drive it. At the very least, you should know where and how to check your car's dipstick or gauge to monitor the oil level. It doesn't hurt to learn <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nng2Ey3z8to">how change your own oil</a>, either &mdash; that would save you about $40 every few months, and up to $200 a year!</p> <h2>2. Replace the PCV Valve</h2> <p>You car's positive crankcase ventilation, or <a href="http://www.agcoauto.com/content/news/p2_articleid/197">PCV valve</a>, is an important hub that ensures pressure is being relieved. This prevents such costly events as sludge buildup or engine oil leaks, which over time cause expensive damage to the engine. The PVC valve itself costs only $25, and remembering to change it out every 30,000-40,000 miles would prevent up to $1,000 in engine damage! The math is clearly in your favor. This is typically a repair that a confident DIYer can handle.</p> <h2>3. Brake Inspections</h2> <p>Oh, the brakes. So many things can go wrong. If you live in an area with tons of traffic (ahem, Los Angeles), you are putting crazy wear and tear on your brakes. The easiest thing you can do on your own is have your <a href="http://www.allstate.com/tools-and-resources/car-insurance/check-brake-pads.aspx">brake pads</a> inspected every 3-6 months, depending on your mileage. Not checking for wear early and often can lead to exorbitant rotor and disc repairs and replacements.</p> <h2>4. Replace Timing Belt</h2> <p>The timing belt is a crucial piece of simple machinery that synchronizes the turns of the crankshaft and camshaft(s). This ensures the valves, cylinders, and other components work well. If not replaced, the belt could fail while driving, which would cut the engine and potentially cause engine damage before the car slows to a halt (up to $2500 worth). <a href="http://www.motoringassist.com/motoring-advice/car-maintenance/engine-and-transmission/guide-servicing-timing-belt-replacement/">Change the belt</a> every 60,000 miles.</p> <p>This is not, however, an inexpensive maintenance item. Shop around and ask your mechanic to look at other items, such as possible oil or radiator fluid leaks, which may be more accessible while the timing belt is being replaced. You may be able to bundle the services and save. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-time-money-and-hassle-by-bundling-your-home-repairs?ref=seealso">Save Time and Money by Bundling Your Home Repairs</a>)</p> <h2>5. Prevent Rust</h2> <p>It seems simple, but in many areas of the US, it's unavoidable. Driving in a rainy, snowy climate can be a costly combo. Rust may be unsightly, but it can also cause other problems. Be careful to not let rust spread on your engine, chassis, exhaust system, frame, and trunk, because it can cause unsafe corrosion. Take simple measures to prevent it from spreading, such as a <a href="http://www.treehugger.com/green-home/rust-never-sleeps-you-can-stop-it.html">salt and lime treatment</a>.</p> <p><em>Any other simple or affordable car maintenance items that your regularly perform? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-meadows">Amanda Meadows</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-these-5-car-maintenance-tasks-and-keep-your-car-on-the-road-forever">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/five-reasons-why-i-love-public-transportation">Five Reasons Why I Love Public Transportation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-more-gas-by-safely-following-trucks">Save More Gas by Safely Following Trucks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cash-for-clunkers-bill-passed-by-congress-what-does-it-mean-for-consumers">&quot;Cash for clunkers&quot; bill passed by Congress - what does it mean for consumers?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-used-car-salesman-reveals-dirty-tricks-and-how-to-beat-them">A Used Car Salesman Reveals Dirty Tricks (and How to Beat Them)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-cheap-ways-to-make-your-car-look-awesome">12 Cheap Ways to Make Your Car Look Awesome</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Cars and Transportation automotive Cars mechanic Fri, 06 Jun 2014 11:00:19 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1141811 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways to Find a Reputable Mechanic http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-find-a-reputable-mechanic <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-to-find-a-reputable-mechanic" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mechanic_0.jpg" alt="Mechanic with car" title="Mechanic with car" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Let&rsquo;s face it, if you barely know the radio from a radiator, taking your car in for maintenance and repairs can be intimidating.</p> <p>I'm lucky to have a great mechanic who has worked on my family's vehicles for nearly two decades (you're the best, Paul). But the years I spent living out of state made life a bit difficult. Put it this way &mdash; I went on the hunt for a suitable replacement for Paul long before I started thinking about finding a new primary care physician.</p> <p>But some consumers aren't so lucky. For folks on the move or simply without a trusted mechanic, finding a shop you can trust can at times prove challenging, even for those who know a thing or two about cars. Here are a few ways you can prepare for a mechanic visit and avoid wasting your money. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-sites-every-car-owner-needs-to-bookmark-now">6 Sites Every Car Owner Needs to Bookmark Now</a>)</p> <h3>Research the Shop</h3> <p>Just like your doctor and hair stylist, you want to trust the person working with your car. Research the shop&rsquo;s reputation by searching customer reviews. The Better Business Bureau is a good source, but also check to see if the shop and its technicians have an <a href="http://www.ase.com/About-ASE.aspx">Automotive Service Excellence</a> (ASE) certification. (Typically shops will display the blue logo and technicians will wear a patch on their uniform.) ASE certifications ensure your mechanic has been trained and tested with automotive standards.</p> <h3>Research and Know Your Car&rsquo;s Needs</h3> <p>Check out your car&rsquo;s suggested maintenance standards in the manual. <a href="http://www.videojug.com/film/how-to-avoid-getting-ripped-off-by-a-mechanic">VideoJug</a> mentions filters specifically. It&rsquo;s common to replace an oil filter every oil change, but air filters can be shaken out. Other filters may go longer than what your mechanic suggests.</p> <p>Also, mechanics may say oil changes are required every 3,000 miles, but newer engines can go up to 7,500 miles. Be aware of other add-ons as well. VideoJug says most cars do not need a flush until 60,000 miles, and cars built in the past ten years do not need parts to be lubed.</p> <h3>Know Common Sales Tactics</h3> <p>Some mechanics may say your car warranty is only valid if used in a particular shop, but warranties are valid at multiple places as long as you follow the recommended maintenance and keep receipts.</p> <p><a href="http://superiorcartalk.com/help-yourself-avoid-being-ripped-off-at-the-mechanic">Superior Car Talk</a> says it&rsquo;s not uncommon for mechanics to charge for work they do not do and parts they do not replace. To avoid this, you can discretely mark parts (like a tire that&rsquo;s to be rotated) and verify the service later. You can also ask the mechanic to show you the part that was replaced, but again use a mark because some may just pull a part from a junk pile.</p> <p>Ask to see the parts that need work before agreeing to replacement. That way you can verify the treading, pad, belt, or whatever part is actually worn down.</p> <p>Bills should fall within 10% of an estimate. Do not agree to pay for an outrageous difference in price if you did not officially agree to extra services and charges.</p> <h3>Test Your Mechanic</h3> <p>Be wary of mechanics who do not allow you in the shop. You should be able to view their working environment and check on your car&rsquo;s progress. Also, pay attention to how the mechanic treats you. Are they asking questions and listening to what you have to say? Are they taking you on a test drive to experience the problem with you?</p> <p>Get multiple opinions. Take your car to two different shops, and see if the same problem gets diagnosed. Also, research the diagnosis and see typical prices for repairs and use those to compare to what your mechanic says.</p> <p>Check your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-uses-for-those-old-whitewalls">tire</a> pressure before going into the shop and ask your mechanic to top off the air. Then you can check after the service to see if they really took care of you.</p> <p>Another way to test the honesty of a potential mechanic is to, well, be dishonest. Some consumer advocates suggest taking your car in when nothing is wrong. If the mechanic comes back with a bunch of problems, you know it's time to look elsewhere.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chris-birk">Chris Birk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-find-a-reputable-mechanic">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-tell-if-a-car-service-plan-is-worth-it">How to Tell If a Car Service Plan Is Worth It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-diy-car-repairs-to-save-big">8 Easy DIY Car Repairs to Save Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-these-5-car-maintenance-tasks-and-keep-your-car-on-the-road-forever">Do These 5 Car Maintenance Tasks and Keep Your Car on the Road Forever</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers">Ask the Readers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/remove-car-dents-quickly-and-cheaply">Remove Car Dents Quickly and Cheaply</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation avoid rip off car problems mechanic Tue, 12 Jul 2011 09:36:39 +0000 Chris Birk 615750 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: How to Dispute Your Mechanic Bill http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-how-to-dispute-your-mechanic-bill <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-how-to-dispute-your-mechanic-bill" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000010008797Small-1.jpg" alt="How to Dispute Your Mechanic Bill" title="How to Dispute Your Mechanic Bill" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some great articles on disputing your mechanic bill, 3 things to do when deciding to buy a house, and how to get a job using LinkedIn.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2011/06/09/how-to-dispute-your-mechanic-bill/">How to Dispute Your Mechanic Bill</a> &mdash; Dispute your mechanic bill by disputing your bill carefully. [Get Rich Slowly]</p> <p><a href="http://www.lifetuner.org/article/1004-first_3_things_to_do_when_you_decide_to_buy_a_house?sort=recent">First 3 Things to Do When You Decide to Buy a House</a> &mdash; When you decide to buy a house, make sure to do your math. [LifeTuner]</p> <p><a href="http://cashmoneylife.com/how-to-get-a-job-using-linkedin/">How to Get a Job Using LInkedIn</a> &mdash; Get a job using LinkedIn by participating in LinkedIn groups. [Cash Money Life]</p> <p><a href="http://www.moneycrush.com/10-things-you-should-never-spend-money-on/">10 Things You Should Never Spend Money On</a> &mdash; You should never spend money on extended warranties. [Money Crush]</p> <p><a href="http://ptmoney.com/marriage-money/">6 Tips for Marriage and Money</a> &mdash; If you are married, be sure to create a budget with your significant other. [PT Money]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.quizzle.com/blog/2011/06/5-tax-breaks-for-job-seekers/?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+QuizzleWire+%28Quizzle+Wire+&raquo;+Personal+Finance+Blog%29">5 Tax Breaks for Job Seekers</a> &mdash; Are you looking for a job? If so, any employment agency fees you pay can be used as a tax deduction. [Quizzle Wire]</p> <p><a href="http://getcurrency.com/technology-toys/upgrade-your-home-theater-without-going-broke">Upgrading Your Home Theater Without Going Broke</a> &mdash; Give your home theater an upgrade without going broke by shopping online. [Currency]</p> <p><a href="http://savingmoneytoday.net/2011/5-money-lessons-for-high-school-graduates/">5 Money Lessons For High School Graduates</a> &mdash; Make sure that your high school graduate knows that materialism is misery. [Saving Money Today]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/how-to-plan-a-great-and-cheap-summer-birthday-party-choosing-a-theme">How To Plan A Great (And Cheap) Summer Birthday Party: Themes</a> &mdash; Plan a great themed summer birthday party by making the party an Olympic party. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="http://blogs.reuters.com/reuters-wealth/2011/06/08/prenup-5-ways-to-protect-your-assets-and-your-marriage/">Prenup: 5 ways to protect your assets and your marriage</a> &mdash; When making a prenup, be sure to keep your emotions out of it. [Reuters Wealth]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-how-to-dispute-your-mechanic-bill">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-these-5-car-maintenance-tasks-and-keep-your-car-on-the-road-forever">Do These 5 Car Maintenance Tasks and Keep Your Car on the Road Forever</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-your-new-tires-really-6-year-old-ticking-time-bombs">Are your new tires really 6-year old ticking time-bombs?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-used-car-salesman-reveals-dirty-tricks-and-how-to-beat-them">A Used Car Salesman Reveals Dirty Tricks (and How to Beat Them)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/five-reasons-why-i-love-public-transportation">Five Reasons Why I Love Public Transportation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-your-car-stolen">How to get your car stolen</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation best money tips bills Cars mechanic Fri, 10 Jun 2011 10:00:11 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 573944 at http://www.wisebread.com