If you clicked into this article for investing advice on car-related companies, I have some good news for you and some bad news. First, the bad. I'm here to give you some tips on how to save money on your car, not how to make money on cars. But the good news is that we do have a lot of great info on car-related firms such as Pep Boys
- Seth Jayson: "Pep Boys Pumps Up"
- Jeremy MacNealy: "Look Who's Buying AutoZone"
- Stephen D. Simpson: "The Incredible Shrinking AutoZone"
- Mike Cianciolo: "GM Fights to Stay on Top"
- Rich Smith: "Rise of the Machines at Toyota"
- Mike Cianciolo: "Focus, Ford, Focus"
- James Early: "The Auto Parts Wars"
Back to saving money. April magazines are out on newsstands right now, and that means that car buyers can snap up a copy of Consumer Reports' annual car-buying issue, chock-full of detailed ratings of just about every car available. If you're in the market for a new set of wheels, grab a copy of this issue.
The issue also features some tips on how to save money when maintaining your beloved set of wheels. For example:
Don't think you always should go to your dealer for service. The dealer won't necessarily provide the best care for your car and will often charge more than a local garage would. "Federal law gives you the right to service your vehicle wherever you like without affecting your warranty," the magazine reports.
Consider following your owner's manual more than you follow the dealership. A dealership may try to get you to have more work done on your car than is really needed, such as replacing various parts that can last several more years or miles. Instead of asking for a "tune-up," ask for the specific things you want done. Otherwise, a dealership or garage may add a bunch of extra -- and perhaps unnecessary -- services to the package, inflating the bill.
- Seek out better prices. Ask how much a given service will cost at several dealerships and garages, and you'll likely get a wide variety of estimates. Consumer Reports got quotes ranging from $269 to $1,078 for a 60,000-mile service. Shopping around can save you some very big bucks.
It's definitely worth it to take the time to find a mechanic you trust. Ask family and friends for recommendations, and check them out by taking your vehicle in for small jobs to get a sense of how you and your ride are treated.
Wash your car by hand, taking extra care to rid it of salt. Take the opportunity to look for minor scrapes and bruises that need attention. (Ignore scratches, and you'll end up with rust.) Wax the car while you're at it, too.
Get new wiper blades and clean your windows inside and out to improve visibility.
Check your tire pressure, which changes with the weather. Check the tires themselves, too, to make sure they're still in good shape.
- Have your antifreeze tested and your cooling system checked so that they work effectively for you and keep the engine from overheating.
What advice can you offer? Share your thoughts on our Buying and Maintaining a Car discussion board. Or just pop in to see what others are saying. (We're offering a free 30-day trial of our entire discussion board community right now.)
You'll find more money-saving tips and guidance at our Buying a Car area.