If you're considering skipping out on regular car maintenance in the name of frugal living, you might want to think again. While nobody really likes to take their vehicle in for a tune-up or an oil change, these basic tasks will end up saving you money in the long run. Here are just a few reasons why.
Avoiding Costly Repairs
The best reason to keep up with your vehicle maintenance is to avoid costly repairs. The average repair cost for a vehicle in the United States is $356.04. That's a lot of money, especially for those who are on a tight budget. Some of these repairs are due to accidents and bad luck, but a lot of repairs are intended to fix simple wear and tear. Even if you don't drive very often, you're still putting your vehicle under a lot of strain with your short trips to the grocery store.
If you believe wholeheartedly in frugal living, you might balk at the idea of getting your car tuned up and your oil changed regularly, especially if your car seems to be running smoothly. And yet, changing your oil and replacing your brake pads is a lot cheaper than the kinds of repairs you'll need to make if you neglect these basic tasks.
Lower Gas Mileage
Not only does regular maintenance keep your car running smoothly, but it can also save you some money at the pump. When a vehicle is running smoothly and receives regular oil and filter changes, its gas mileage improves significantly. On the other hand, neglecting these tasks as well as regular tune-ups could cause your car to feel like it's running out of gas much faster than it once did. Anything from a worn-out spark plug to a faulty oxygen sensor can contribute to poor gas mileage, so bring your vehicle to a repair shop if you find yourself using a lot of gas or if you haven't had a tune-up in a while.
Extending the Lifespan of Your Car
Regular maintenance can extend your car's lifespan. Cars are expensive, so it makes sense that you would want to make your current vehicle last for as long as possible. There are plenty of relatively inexpensive vehicles on the market that will last for 10 years or longer as long as you keep up with oil changes and tune-ups. By the time your vehicle is that old, you'll likely no longer have to make payments on it, and keeping up with your maintenance means that you probably won't have to worry too much about making costly repairs.
Fixing Small Problems Before They Get Out of Hand
Finally, regular maintenance will allow you and your mechanic to catch small problems before they get too costly for you to repair. Even something as simple as replacing worn-out windshield wiper blades can help save you money if you replace them as soon as you notice that there's a problem with them. Windshield wipers have come a long way since they were introduced as small brushes on windshields in 1903, but they still wear down over time. If you can replace them yourself regularly, you won't have to spend extra to buy new ones when you can't afford to do so.
Of course, this goes beyond just windshield wipers. Worn sparkplugs, faulty brakes, and dying transmissions are all much easier to deal with when your mechanic catches them when they're relatively small problems. The idea of frugal living might inspire you to ignore some minor problems, but they need to be fixed eventually. It's going to be much easier and cheaper to fix them while they're still minor problems.