5 Car Maintenance Costs That Are Worth The Extra Money

Owning a car means that you’ll end up spending a good amount of money every year on insurance, maintenance, and possible repairs, not to mention your monthly car payment, if applicable. And while it might be no brainer when it comes to finding cheaper rates for car insurance or maybe even a lower rate for your car payments, we don’t recommend taking the easy way out when it comes to certain maintenance and repair costs.

Sure, you might be able to find a small shop that will charge less for labor, and that’s definitely a good thing, but what you don’t want is for them to use cheap parts. As such, here are five maintenance costs that are actually worth paying more for.

Oil changes

When it comes to oil changes, you typically have a choice of three different oil types: conventional, synthetic blend, and full synthetic.

Conventional oils are the most affordable, however, they break down easier. Synthetic blends will contain a mix of conventional and synthetic oil, so they are more viscous. And lastly, synthetic blends are the most viscous and break down far less, which is why they don’t need to be changed as often.

If you have a newer car and want to keep it running for as long as possible, then we highly suggest paying more for the full synthetic blend as you won’t have to change the oil as often and it will keep your engine running smoother.

However, if you have a much older car that’s only worth $2,000, then you might not want to spend more for it and a conventional oil might be more cost-effective and work just fine.

A mechanic prepares to complete an oil change on a car
A man preparing to perform an oil change | Paul Kane/Getty Images

New brakes

We definitely cannot stress enough how important is it to buy good-quality brake pads and rotors. If you end up going to the dealership, then they’ll use the OEM-spec hardware, however, they will charge you a lot for labor.

On the other hand, if you go to a smaller, private shop, they will likely charge you less for the labor and use cheaper parts.

We suggest going with the OEM-spec parts no matter where you go, or even if you do the work yourself because your brakes are the parts that actually stop your car. The last thing you want is sub-par parts keeping you and your family from hitting a car in front of you, or possible, something much worse.

On a side note: Cheaper brake pads usually end up squealing and squeaking later on, so spend the extra money.

New tires

Your car’s tires are the only parts that are actually connecting your car to the road, so it’s worth it to get a good set. There are plenty of different tires to choose from and your local tire shop representative might sound like they are just trying to upsell you, but we suggest actually listening.

Sure, there might be a mark-up on tires in general, especially if you buy them from dealerships, but some tires are actually worth spending more money on.

For example, if you drive a sports car like a Corvette, then you should probably opt for summer performance tires over all-season tires. The performance tires will stick to the road better and provide the most optimal performance.

So next time you’re shopping for tires, do your research to see which ones will work best for your car. Or just buy the same tires that came on it when it was new, if possible.

Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 winter tire
Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 winter tire | Nokian

Car washes

If you want to keep your car looking shiny and new, but you don’t have the means to wash it yourself, then we suggest spending the money every two weeks to a month to get it washed.

The outside elements can do a number on your car’s paint and it’s best to keep it as clean as possible.

Car wax

Whether you wax your car yourself or have a professional do it, we suggest getting it done at least a couple times a year. On top of that, we suggest using a “sealant” over the typical carnauba wax because it lasts longer and protects better.

Car being waxed to help maintain its value.
Maintaining the exterior of you car is a great way to preserve its value | Barbara Davidson/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Don’t “cheap out”

These are just a few of the simple maintenance costs that you shouldn’t “cheap out” on. However, they are likely the most important and simplest ways to keep your car in the best shape possible, so spend the extra money, it could be worth it in the end.