cost analysis http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/13280/all en-US 8 Simple Auto Repairs That Save Big Bucks in the Long Haul http://www.wisebread.com/8-simple-auto-repairs-that-save-big-bucks-in-the-long-haul <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-simple-auto-repairs-that-save-big-bucks-in-the-long-haul" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5463666587_e9033a7580_z.jpg" alt="working on car" title="working on car" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="200" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There you are, tooling down the Miracle Mile in the car of your dreams, letting the whole world drink in the spectacle that is the awesome you, when, BAM! A red warning light on the dash rains all over your parade. You wonder, as a typical human being, is this something I can ignore and perhaps it will go away? Is it really such big deal? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-simple-tips-to-keep-your-car-running-longer">6 Simple Tips to Keep Your Car Running Longer</a>)</p> <p>Thankfully, the truth is that pretty often, that little red light isn't all that dire; the whole idea behind the computerized problem detection systems built into new cars is to warn you <em>before</em> the problems require big and expensive fixes. There are also other sensory warnings that should clue you into the fact that something's wrong, like wheel shimmy or squealing brakes.</p> <p>The little nuances can become bigger issues if you ignore them, though. So don't put a piece of duct tape over the red problem light; embrace it. Here are eight minor repairs that warrant your immediate attention, because the alternative is to pay big bucks in the near future to repair the damage that ignoring the little ones has caused. And while you're at it, be sure to search for <a href="http://dealnews.com/c238/Home-Garden/Automotive?eref=wisebread">automotive deals</a> (like this <a href="http://dealnews.com/Advance-Auto-Parts-coupons-20-off-no-minimum-10-off-30-more-/591823.html?eref=wisebread">series of Advance Auto Parts coupons</a>) that might make any DIY tasks easier to swallow budget-wise too.</p> <h2>1. Replace the Oxygen Sensor</h2> <p>The oxygen sensor in your car monitors your engine's, well, oxygen intake. It can determine if the engine is running too rich with too much gas in the engine or too lean with not enough gas in the mix. This sensor allows the engine's computer to adjust the fuel mixture for efficiency, and this sensor is the number one reason for your &quot;check engine&quot; light to come on. To repair or replace your oxygen sensor will set you back $246.39, according to CarMD.com. This is a small price to pay the world of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-diy-car-repair-costs-more">car repairs</a> today.</p> <p>If you ignore or delay the oxygen sensor in your engine your car could lose up to 40% of its gas mileage, and at $4 gas, that cost can add up quickly. Malfunction of this sensor can also cause power loss, make your vehicle slow to accelerate, and eventually foul your spark plugs and your catalytic converter. The price to replace a converter alone can reach $3,500 because precious metals are used in its construction: platinum, palladium, rhodium, even gold. You <em>really</em> don't want to replace your converter.</p> <h2>2. Fix Windshield Bruises</h2> <p>You catch a stone from a passing gravel truck and whoops &mdash; you have a very small, perhaps star-shaped ding in your windshield. It doesn't interfere with your vision, so what's the problem? The problem is that, once a small crack is made in the windshield, it threatens to grow and can race entirely across your windshield, obscuring your vision and ability to operate your vehicle safely.</p> <p>Luckily, there is a thriving window glass industry whose specialist can easily fix small cracks in a windshield using a transparent epoxy, usually for under $100. It can be done wherever your car is, too; there's no need to take it to the shop. And better news, many insurance companies will pay for the repair, rather than have you wait until you need an entire new windshield, which could cost upwards of $500 or more.</p> <h2>3. Replace Spark Plugs</h2> <p>Spark plugs ignite the fuel mixture in the combustion chamber of your engine. When they become fouled or wear out, they no longer fire at the proper time or at all. This malfunction can cause your engine to idle roughly, hesitate, or surge. It can also result in lost power and acceleration. A blown spark plug can even result in raw gas being fed to the catalytic converter, which could cause it to fail prematurely. Spark plugs that are faulty can also result in your vehicle failing state pollution testing, bringing along all the hassles that entails.</p> <p>A new set of spark plugs and spark plug wires will set you back a mere $314.67, according to <a href="http://corp.carmd.com/">CarMD.com</a>; that's not much in light of the cost of a new converter and the waste of fuel.</p> <h2>4. Balance Your Tires</h2> <p>If you've ever driven a car that made you feel like your were slithering down the road instead of coasting, you know what it feels like to have tires that are out of balance. This unpleasant sensation isn't the only downside to this condition, however. Unbalanced tires can cause uneven wear on your tires, and a new set of tires for your favorite ride can easily reach $400 or more.</p> <p>The shimmy can also put additional wear on your car's suspension system, eventually necessitating replacement of shocks and struts, which are way more costly than a simple tire balancing. Unbalanced tires also compromise your car's handling, which can result in having to repair dents in the bumpers or worse.</p> <h2>5. Replace the PCV Valve and Hose</h2> <p>As your car burns gasoline, some of the fumes escape around the cylinder and reach the crankcase. The PCV valve routes this gas back into the combustion system, where it can be burned to minimize pollution and maximize mileage. A faulty PCV valve allows pressure to build up in the crankcase and drives oil out through the seals and gaskets.</p> <p>Replacement of the valve and hose costs an average of $102.47. The alternatives &mdash; in addition to dealing with oil leaks &mdash; is a motor that: idles roughly or even stalls; gets poorer gas mileage; accelerates sluggishly; and lacks proper power. Your PCV valve and hose can also affect the lifetime of your oil, causing it to become more viscous. This then comes a threat to the really expensive parts of your engine, such as the cylinder walls, properly lubricated.</p> <h2>6. Replace the Thermostat</h2> <p>The thermostat in your car senses the temperature of your engine, and when it gets hot, it signals the coolant to flow through your engine block. Your engine needs to run hot enough to efficiently burn fuel and keep oil flowing, but not so hot that it expands beyond expectations.</p> <p>If you ignore your thermostat you run the risk of boiling off your coolant, blowing a cylinder head gasket, or even cracking a head. These are all pricey problems you really don't want to face.</p> <h2>7. Replace EVAP Vacuum Hoses</h2> <p>The evaporative emissions system is part pollution control and part mileage maximizing. As gas naturally evaporates from your tank and fuel system, the EVAP prevents these vapors from escaping directly into the atmosphere. The hoses gather the vapors and routes them to a storage container and into the intake manifold while the engine is in engaged. There, these fumes are burned off.</p> <p>Ignore the EVAP red light and you'll find your engine may hesitate, stall, idle roughly or rapidly, and lose mileage. The average $95.83 charge for replacing the hoses will quickly pay off in increased performance.</p> <h2>8. Replace Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor (ECT)</h2> <p>Your power train control module (PCM) &mdash; the computer at the heart of your engine's operation &mdash; adjusts the composition of air and gas that enters the combustion chamber depending on the temperature at which the engine is operating. The engine coolant temperature sensor is the device that tells the power train control module what the internal temperature of the engine is. The PCM then determines the ratio of the fuel mixture, advance or delay the spark, increase the cooling fan speed, and other steps to fine-tune operations. Replacing the ECT will set you back about $150.62.</p> <p>If this sensor quits working properly, your PCM can assume that the engine is running cool and thusly richen the fuel mixture unnecessarily, wasting gas and putting more stress on the catalytic converter. This could suck many dollars out of your wallet.</p> <p>We'd all love to have a car that never needed any attention or maintenance beyond filling it with liquid gold. But the fact is that like any machine, your car will show signs of wear, and occasionally need some TLC to keep it running up to snuff. The trick is to tend to its needs early, while the problems are still small. And if you're lucky, you might just find an <a href="http://dealnews.com/c238/Home-Garden/Automotive?eref=wisebread">automotive deal</a> that makes it all the easier to address.</p> <p><em>This is a guest post by </em><a href="http://dealnews.com"><em>Dealnews</em></a><em>.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Here are 8 minor repairs to do now before the damage costs you big bucks down the road. </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dealnews">Dealnews</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-simple-auto-repairs-that-save-big-bucks-in-the-long-haul">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/when-diy-car-repair-costs-more">When DIY Car Repair Costs More</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/remove-car-dents-quickly-and-cheaply">Remove Car Dents Quickly and Cheaply</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/repair-the-car-or-spend-the-cash">Repair the Car or Spend the Cash?</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/9-car-parts-that-are-safe-to-buy-used">9 Car Parts That Are Safe to Buy Used</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/removing-car-scratches-the-revenge-of-the-frugal-body-shop">Removing Car Scratches: The Revenge of the Frugal Body Shop</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation car repairs cost analysis Wed, 18 Jul 2012 10:24:14 +0000 Dealnews 942160 at http://www.wisebread.com When DIY Car Repair Costs More http://www.wisebread.com/when-diy-car-repair-costs-more <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/when-diy-car-repair-costs-more" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2973786096_d679da09f8_z.jpg" alt="oil drain" title="oil drain" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="179" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are two reasons people take on do-it-yourself projects: 1) The person is crafty, handy, or otherwise skilled, and/or 2) The person is looking to save money.</p> <p>If you fall exclusively into the &quot;saving money&quot; category, you probably realized long ago that DIY anything often takes a lot more time and effort than it is sometimes worth. But did you also know that DIY sometimes actually costs more money? (See also: <a title="Like DIY? Avoid These 10 Costly Mistakes" href="http://www.wisebread.com/like-diy-avoid-these-ten-costly-mistakes">Like DIY? Avoid These 10 Costly Mistakes</a>)</p> <p>For instance, consider basic car repair. Dealnews recently wrote <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-on-car-maintenance-with-these-5-diy-tips" title="Save on Car Maintenance">Save on Car Maintenance With These 5 DIY Tips</a>. Specifically, the article advises that you repair and replace your own windshield wiper blades, fuses, air filter, car battery, oil, and oil filter. But if the only reason you are doing these things yourself is to save money, you may be spending more money than you otherwise would.</p> <p>Recently, my cousin who is a mechanic, performed some maintenance on my car and I got the chance to help with a few of these &quot;DIY&quot; tasks. I can attest that these tasks may actually cost you more than if you had had the work performed by a professional. (My cousin also did a lot of much more skilled work, which, on the whole, saved us roughly $800.) Check out my three cost comparisons below.</p> <h2>Oil Change</h2> <p>Several of my local car repair shops either have daily specials (if you come in between certain hours) or they frequently mail coupons for $19.99 oil changes. If you want synthetic oil you'll pay about $20 more. So how much does it cost if you do it yourself? At our local Target store the cost is about $5.50 per quart of regular oil and about $7.50 per quart of synthetic oil. My Mitsubishi Galant (a standard 4-door sedan) takes 5 quarts of oil. Add an additional $5-8 for an oil filter and suddenly the cost is over $30 &mdash; nearly $10 more than I would have paid had I brought it to a shop.</p> <h2>Windshield Wipers</h2> <p>I paid $10.99/windshield wiper for a total of $20 (plus tax) for my Galant. Unfortunately, one of the wipers was faulty which will require an extra trip back to the store &mdash; where they will hopefully exchange my wiper. (I've already trashed the packaging.) If not, I'll have paid $30. Yet, last month on our other car (an Accord), we used a <a title="5 Awesome Alternatives to Groupon" href="http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-2822544-10817658">Groupon</a> for a tire rotation, oil change, new wiper blades, and system check for only $34. Had I purchased two of the Groupons, I would have spent $6 less than I did doing the car repair myself.</p> <h2>Car Battery</h2> <p>I didn't need a new battery this maintenance-go-round, but my cousin quoted me the price and it was only $15 cheaper than the price of the battery I had installed last winter. Call around and get price quotes as some of the companies can buy in bulk at a much better rate than you will ever get yourself. And if you do the battery replacement yourself, you risk temporarily losing access to your radio until you place a 30-minute call to the dealer to find out your radio code (I speak from experience about the radio code issue).</p> <p><strong>Big Caveat:</strong> There will always be DIY car repair that will save you money. For example, the handle to my glove compartment recently broke. The repair shop was going to have to order a $256 new part and also charge $40 in labor; but they advised me of a site called car-parts.com where I could likely find the part for cheaper. For $32, including shipping, I got an entire used glove box and installed it myself in less than 20 minutes.</p> <p>There are times when DIY saves you money, but, like all projects, ensure that you actually run the cost comparisons instead of assuming DIY always means cheaper services.</p> <p><em>Have you ever done car repair yourself? Did you actually save money?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elizabeth-lang">Elizabeth Lang</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-diy-car-repair-costs-more">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-2"> <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/remove-car-dents-quickly-and-cheaply">Remove Car Dents Quickly and Cheaply</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/removing-car-scratches-the-revenge-of-the-frugal-body-shop">Removing Car Scratches: The Revenge of the Frugal Body Shop</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/6-slick-tools-to-save-money-on-car-repairs">6 Slick Tools to Save Money on Car Repairs</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-simple-auto-repairs-that-save-big-bucks-in-the-long-haul">8 Simple Auto Repairs That Save Big Bucks in the Long Haul</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/repair-the-car-or-spend-the-cash">Repair the Car or Spend the Cash?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation DIY car repairs cost analysis Wed, 21 Sep 2011 10:00:29 +0000 Elizabeth Lang 713545 at http://www.wisebread.com