Created by: Dave Harland | 19 August 2019

How to save money on car maintenance

If you’ve got a car and it needs a repair, it can be extremely frustrating to be told that the cost of fixing it could amount to hundreds of pounds.

But there are loads of things you can do to prevent problems arising in the first place, as well as others which can stop costly car maintenance fees from spiralling. Here are five…

1. Be vigilant

Your car is a complex machine, with lots of moving parts which need to be working in perfect harmony for the vehicle to operate properly.

When parts wear down over time due to high temperatures and friction, faults are unavoidable. But if you can catch a problem early, it’ll make the cost of repair much cheaper.

So you should try to use your senses to observe any change in your car while driving. For example:

  • If you can smell burning rubber, that might be a problem with your clutch.
  • If your car is pulling to one side, your tyres may be worn or the alignment might be wrong. 
  • If your air conditioning isn’t working, you will need an aircon re-gas.

If you notice any of these things, get in touch with a trusted mechanic immediately, and you could save money compared to the amount you might pay if you ignore the problem.

2. Remove heavy items if possible

If your car’s full of heavy goods for no good reason, the strain on the vehicle’s brakes and suspension will be high. If you can, try to remove any non-essential luggage so your brake pads don’t wear down as quickly.

3. Never ignore the ‘Top up Oil’ sign

Engine oil is the lifeblood of a car and if you keep ignoring the dashboard warning light, you’ll end up with a costly repair.

Engine oil acts as the lubricant between all of the moving parts inside the engine, and there’ll be a massive build-up of heat without it, resulting in parts falling apart and melting.

So you should keep the oil topped up, and always use the right type for your car – check your log book to find out what the manufacturer recommends.

4. Don’t go to a dealership garage unless you have a warranty

If you take your car to an independent garage to have your brakes repaired out of warranty, the parts they use will probably be the same as what a dealership garage would use.

But a dealership will almost certainly charge you more – so get a price from an independent garage first.

5. Drive with care

Bad driving can affect your car’s health. But here’s how your actions behind the wheel can improve what’s under the bonnet…

  • Don’t rev in cold weather because the drastic temperature changes could damage your engine.
  • Try to avoid hard stops because your brake pads and rotors will wear down. Instead, brake earlier so you stop smoothly.
  • Avoid riding your clutch as this’ll wear down the bearings inside.
  • Finally, don’t apply your brakes while you drive downhill. This is known as ‘dragging’ and it causes a huge strain on your braking system.

Keep your eyes out for more helpful tips like these. We post regular articles on the FriendlyScore blog to help you save money in all areas of your life.

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