About 60 percent of car owners who normally take their vehicle to the repair shop report spending between $500 and $2,000-plus a year on auto repair and maintenance -- while 60 percent of DIYers report saving $500 or more (more than half report saving $1,000-plus) from doing their own auto repairs, according to surveys by AutoMD.com.
This represents a considerable saving/spend gap. To help close this gap, AutoMD.com has identified some of the most common, and most costly, auto repair mistakes that car owners should avoid.
"At AutoMD.com we are always looking for ways to help car owners save precious dollars while keeping their vehicles running safely. This is why our experts have put together a list of simple tips to help pre-empt costly auto repair mistakes," said Brian Hafer, vice president of marketing at AutoMD.com. "By following this advice, car owners can save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on auto repairs."
AutoMD.com's Top Ten Expensive Auto Repair Mistakes:
Mistake No. 1: Neglecting preventative maintenance and minor repairs. Cost: $1,000s Ignoring simple preventative maintenance, like changing the engine oil and filter, could damage your engine and replacing that engine could cost thousands of dollars. Failing to make minor car repairs today, such as replacing a thermostat or front brake pads, could mean more expensive repairs tomorrow. Other simple, but important, repair and maintenance tasks car owners can do on their own - or have a mechanic perform at an affordable price -include changing the transmission fluid; checking the coolant level, mixture, and condition, and checking the vehicle's tire pressure on a regular basis. Bottom Line: Don't put off to tomorrow, what can be done today.
Mistake No. 2: Not asking for your parts back. Cost: Unnecessary $$ If a part needs to be replaced on your car, always ask for your old part back; simply ask the mechanic to place the old part in the new part's box. Unfortunately, some dishonest repair shops may charge you for work that was not done or repairs that are not necessary. Asking for your old parts back confirms that the new part was actually installed, and it keeps the mechanic from replacing a part that is still good. Bottom Line: Not asking for your old parts back could mean paying for an unnecessary repair, or paying for a job that was not performed.
Mistake No. 3: Neglecting your tires. Cost: More gas $$$, plus tire replacement ($140 - $600-plus), and loss of safety (priceless!) Driving on underinflated tires can shorten the life of your tires, increase tire wear and lead to significant tire damage from heat, potholes and other road hazards. If the tire fails completely, you could lose control of the vehicle! Plus, keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure can improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent. And don't be tempted to get more mileage out of your tires than they can safely give by driving on them when they are bald. Driving on bald tires can reduce vehicle traction and lead to an accident.Bottom Line: Proper maintenance not only extends the life of your tires, it means safer driving and better gas mileage.
Mistake No. 4: Ignoring dashboard warning lights. Cost: $1,000s, loss of safety (priceless) Dashboard warning lights are just that, warning lights. Pay attention to them - they could be warning you about a serious maintenance problem that could lead to expensive repairs or unsafe driving. Be sure to read your owner's manual and familiarize yourself with what the different warning lights on your car's dashboard mean - Check Engine Light, Oil Light, Temperature Light, Brake Light - and what action you should take for each.
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