The Most Important Car Maintenance Steps That Can Lower Your Auto Repair Costs

Whether you currently own a newer car or an older one, maintaining it is important in order to make it last for years to come. Improper maintenance can lead to a number of headaches down the road when small and large repairs pop up. In order to prevent these repairs, or at least lessen the costs of them later on, here are some of the most important steps you can take to maintain your car.

Routine oil changes are more important than you think  

Cars line up for an oil change at a jiffy lube business
Cars line up for an oil change at a jiffy lube business | (Photo by Getty Images/Bob Riha, Jr.)

Let’s face it, taking your car to have its oil changed probably isn’t at the forefront of your mind. If that’s the case, then you’re not alone. Fox News reports that 54% of Americans feel intimidated when dealing with a car mechanic, so it’s no surprise that the lack of oil changes in this country is widespread. That’s unfortunate, though, as changing your car’s oil is the least you can do when it comes to proper maintenance.

There are a couple of reasons why changing your car’s oil routinely is important:

  • The oil lubes up the car’s internals to keep things running smoothly
  • No matter what, the oil will get dirty over time, so changing it is a necessity

If the oil doesn’t get changed, then it can turn into sludge eventually and really clog up the engine, which will lead to expensive repairs later on. Do yourself, and your car, a favor and change the oil in the engine. After all, oil changes cost less than replacing an engine.

Brake inspections can ensure the safety of you and the other cars around you

A car mechanic changes the brake disc of a Range Rover Evoque in a garage.
A car mechanic changes the brake disc of a Range Rover Evoque in a garage. | (Photo by Marijan Murat/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Do you hate when brake squeal or when your car doesn’t stop as well as it should? The other cars around you do too. Although a full-on brake job is only needed every once in a while, it’s important to note that getting your car’s brakes checked regularly can save lives. And while that might sound dramatic, the main point is that a routine inspection can ensure that your car’s brake system is properly lubricated and cleaned, which can prevent larger repairs later on. Fortunately, many auto repair shops and even dealerships offer brake inspections for free.

Tire rotations can keep your car’s tires wearing evenly

A mechanic at a car repair shop in the Lichtenberg district changes a vehicle from summer to winter tires.
A mechanic at a car repair shop in the Lichtenberg district changes a vehicle from summer to winter tires. | (Photo by Wolfgang Kumm/picture alliance via Getty Images)

One often overlooked maintenance item is tire rotations. Many car owners neglect to get their car’s tires rotated, which can lead to premature wear and tear and the need to buy new tires sooner. A good rule of thumb is to have your car’s tires rotated whenever you get a brake inspection done – or every 6,000 to 8,000 miles – in order to ensure that they wear down evenly so that you get the most use from them, reports Car and Driver.

A complete vehicle inspection can make sure that your car is in a great shape

An apprentice automotive mechatronics technician inspects damage to a VW Touran in a Volkswagen workshop in the Hanover region.
An apprentice automotive mechatronics technician inspects damage to a VW Touran in a Volkswagen workshop in the Hanover region. | (Photo by Julian Stratenschulte/picture alliance via Getty Images)

For some dealerships and auto shops, it’s a routine procedure to completely inspect a customer’s car before sending it off down the road. They typically check everything from your car’s tires to its fluids, and even the body panels. If you have never had your vehicle completely inspected, then it’s recommended to having it done as a preventive maintenance measure. It can also catch a lot of potential issues that can appear later on.

Car maintenance is key, no matter what

If you want your car to keep running properly for many years, then maintaining it is important. Improper maintenance can lead to many costly repairs down the road and it can even be dangerous to you and others around you. Remember to keep your car’s oil clean, the tires rotated, and the brakes in top shape, you never know when certain parts of the car can give out without any warning signs.

RELATED: Electric Car Maintenance: What You Need to Know