An Inside Look at Car Costs, Part Two
Welcome back! We decided to sit down with Eric, EricTheCarGuy.com and Jay, Speedlux.com to bring you the tips and tricks of the car maintenance trade. A vehicle can be expensive, so read on to learn how to cut costs, do some repairs yourself, and make your car even greener. Be sure to check out Part One of this series if you haven’t already!
What would you recommend for a new car owner?
I don’t recommend the purchase of new cars. I don’t think it’s a sound financial investment due to depreciation. I recommend certified used over new.
If the person is a novice driver, I’d recommend a compact size city car as it is easier to maneuver and park, even in tight spaces. Yet, if the person is an advanced driver, I’d recommend a car that suits his driving style and apparently, his budget. A car with an automatic transmission often proves to be a better choice, too, for novice drivers.
What are 5 essentials items to keep in your car?
- Owner’s Manual: The owner’s manual has a lot of useful information, you’ll never know when you need it on the road!
- Jumper Cables: Save your money on the tow truck, when you hear the click instead of the engine starting, you’ll know you’ve made the right decision keeping the jumper cables in your trunk!
- First-Aid Kit: Having one at home comes up very useful at times, why not in your car? When you really need it, it’ll be there!
- Duct Tape and Rope: Like every outdoor man will say, rope will always come in handy! It can get you out of trouble. You can fix up a lot of things with plain duct tape.
- Multi Tool: With this handy little gadget, you’ll be able to fix up anything basic in your car and it doesn’t take a lot of space!
Courtesy of CarCare.org
What would you recommend for the first time of going to a repair shop?
Do your research. These days there’s plenty of information and reviews on local shops. Look for a shop that’s in good standing with the BBB and has a good rating on sites like Yelp. Also, check with your friends and family. Their personal experiences can go a long way. When you go to the repair shop, be sure to explain the problem as clearly as you can. The more concise you can be, the easier it is for the repair shop to address whatever problems you have. Lastly, have regular services done by the same shop if possible. They can keep an eye out for potential issues. Also when something goes wrong their familiarity with your vehicle will help in diagnosis.
A full check of the condition of a car being brought to the repair shop, just in case there is a minor issue with the car that car owners tend to overlook.
What would you say are the basics of car care?
During the summer check the following:
- Check that the electrical system is charging correctly
- Cooling systems do extra work during the hot summer days. To prevent the engine from overheating keep a 50-50 distilled water versus cooler
- Do a pressure test!
- Check your car for leaks
- Keep the radiator clean
- Check your tires monthly, hot roads can do a lot of damage to your tires.
Courtesy of Carcare.org
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In your opinion, how important is to maintain the exterior of a car?
I personally don’t spend a lot of time on the exterior appearance of my vehicles, but that’s part of my overall philosophy. I’d rather drive a reliable ugly car, than a pretty new one. That way I don’t have to worry about shopping carts or door dings.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rI-UiECuXYI That said, people normally purchase vehicles based on their exterior appearance. Therefore the value of the vehicle is directly linked to it’s outward appearance. The better you maintain the appearance, the more it may be worth when you go to sell it. It also shows pride of ownership which also effects overall value.
It is quite important because the look of a car often represents the owner and if the owner is a businessman who needs to meet a lot of clients each day, appearance plays a key role. However, it is not as important as maintaining the interior and the engine of a car, of course. If something goes wrong with the interior, people will most likely have to spend quite a lot of money to fix it. Even worse, if something goes wrong with the engine, the car may not even be able to start at all. So, maintaining the engine to make sure it is in top condition is the most important thing here.
What would you recommend before going on a long trip in a car? Look it over, or have it looked over by a qualified mechanic. They may be able to spot issues before a break down on the road. Also, getting the tire pressures correct goes a long way to help fuel economy.
Checking the remaining car fuel in the tank, checking when was the last time the car was serviced, checking if any component of the car is malfunctioning, making sure that all emergency kits are available in the car, such as a spare tire, emergency triangle, etc. Also, it is important to make sure that the person going on the long trip has enough food and drinks for the trip ahead until the destination is reached.
- Check all fluids
- Check brakes
- Check tire pressure
- Check all lights
- Check the wiper blades and make sure that the wipers are working.
Courtesy of Carcare.org
Give us your most important gas saving tips.
- Keep your tire pressure as stated in the owner’s manual
- Change air filters regularly.
- Check spark plugs – when your car misfires, it wastes fuel.
- Gas cap fits properly – nearly 147 million gallons of gas are vaporized yearly because of not fitting gas caps.
- Drive calmly and keep your speed limit – Aggressive driving wastes fuel, you can save up to 33% of your fuel if you drive properly.
- when traveling limit any extra weight
Courtesy of Carcare.org
How can you make your car greener?
Keep it serviced regularly and purchase good tires. A poorly running vehicle is not green. The better it’s maintained, the better it will run and the lower it’s emissions. Regular maintenance not only goes a long way to prevent break downs, but it will also help lower emissions therefore making it greener. Tires effect just about every system on the vehicle. The better the tires, the greener your vehicle will be. Good tires decrease rolling resistance, and as a result, lower emissions. They also keep your vehicle safer on the road. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bW2Tw3pJFqQ
By turning off the engine while having to stop for quite a long time, such as while parking in front of a store, even for just a short while. Thankfully, with most of today’s modern cars, the engine has the ability to shut down automatically if the onboard computer detects that the engine has been idle for 40 seconds or more. Then, all the driver has to do is simply to step on the throttle to reactivate the engine. Another thing worth considering is to periodically check the quality of the car emission. If the emission quality is poor, perhaps it is time to get the car serviced.
Eric and Jay provided quite a lot of information to take in! Take their advice to heart to maintain the life (and affordability) of your vehicle. Don’t wait for a major problem to occur—maintain regular checks and optimize your car for your surroundings. Be sure to be prepared in case of emergency. Don’t ever be afraid to ask an expert for more car tips and maintenance advice.