| Car Care
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When it comes to your car, do you have every little hiccup checked out by your mechanic? Or, does your car have to be brought in on a tow truck when it needs service? Wherever you land on the maintenance spectrum, these preventative practices will help your car last longer and could save you big bucks in the long run according to CarCare.org.

First, stick to the vehicle’s service schedule. Augie Barone, Service Manager at Pat’s Garage in San Francisco, reports on CarCare.org that, “The customers who have the most miles on their car are the ones who are consistent with their service schedule.” These customers are generally able to fix issues before they get out of control.

Next, check your vehicle’s fluid levels, including the oil, brake fluid, clutch fluid (if it’s manual transmission), or your automatic transmission fluid. Having an adequate amount of clean fluids in your vehicle will help the engine run smoother, which can prevent wear and tear. If you want to make this chore really quick and easy, just visit your local Jiffy Lube; they offer free fluid top-offs on motor oil and any or all of these five vital fluids: transmission/transaxle fluids, differential fluid, power steering fluid, windshield washer fluid, and batter water (excluding sealed batteries). And you don’t have to make an appointment!

Then, get oil changes early and often. Regular oil changes help prevent the buildup of harmful deposits on your engine. This “gunk” can reduce your fuel economy and power, as well as make your engine work harder than it needs to. A harder working engine is one with a shorter life span, says CarCare.org.

Now turn off the radio and listen for any weird sounds or vibrations. Are your brakes squeaking? Do you hear an unusual clicking noise? You may feel awkward doing it, but replicating these noises for your mechanic is important and well worth your time. The quicker they can diagnose the problem, the less time they will have to spend searching for it, which hopefully means lower labor costs on your final bill. A good mechanic can also spot potential issues before they get out of hand and cause more damage to more parts of your vehicle.

Take a look at your tires and wheels. Uneven wear or unbalanced tires can put excessive stress on your vehicle’s suspension. Like with an over-stressed engine, excess stress on your tires and wheels could mean a trip to the auto repair shop and a cringe-worthy bill. Keeping an eye on your tire pressure and tread could help prevent more serious problems later on. Jiffy Lube will check your tire pressure and re-fill your tires for free, but Discount Tire takes free services to the next level. They offer free flat tire repair (even if you didn’t purchase your tires at Discount Tire) and free tire rotations for tires purchased with Discount Tire.

So what’s the bottom line? Take care of minor problems as early as you can. Left unattended, minor maintenance and easy repair work can turn into large problems and even larger repair bills down the road.

What a pleasant surprise! Check out DriverSide.com for free car repair advice, repair estimates, and even service related coupons tailored to your area. Just enter in your car’s year, make, and model and you can review safety recalls, get help diagnosing mechanical issues, and set up automatic email reminders to keep you on track with your service schedule. It’s like your own personal garage!