Don’t you just love handing your card over to the mechanic? Or the sweet smell that hits your nose when you crack open a fresh bottle of fully-synthetic engine oil?
Buying everything you need to service your car can be a wonderful feeling… or, if you’re a normal human being – it can be a complete pain in the ass – one that probably stops you spending money on things you actually want.
Here at Auto Hero, we’re of the opinion that you shouldn’t spend a dollar more than you absolutely have to on tyres, repairs, and a whole heap of other vehicle-related costs – and we definitely include servicing in that list.
6 car servicing tips that’ll keep money in your pocket
If you love spending more than you have to on your car – this list isn’t for you – but, you’d like to save as much as possible when it’s time to book a car service, here are 6 tips that’ll help keep money in your pocket.
1. You don’t have to take your car to an Offical dealer for a logbook Car Service
If you’ve bought or leased your car from an official dealer, chances are, they’ll make you feel like you should come back to them for everything from servicing to accessories – but this quite simply isn’t the case.
When it comes to maintaining your new car warranty, a logbook service stamp from your local trusted garage is just as good as one from a official dealer – and, chances are, it’ll be half the price.
Oh – and those people who say dealer stamps in your log book will give you a better resale value in the future? Sure, maybe if you’ve got a Lamborghini and a fussy buyer – but for most of us, it doesn’t make any difference.
2. Keep an eye on your oil levels
Your car’s oil can feel like a mysterious magical fluid that shouldn’t be messed with unless you’ve graduated from Hogwarts with a degree in car repair wizardry – but y’know what? This isn’t the case. It’s really quite simple.
Firstly, there’s making sure there’s enough oil in there. Park the car on a level surface, let the engine run until it’s warm, pull the dipstick, wipe it clean, then push it right back in pull it back out again. The oil should be between the two marks.
If you do need to top the oil up, you’ll need to check the handbook or an online guide to make sure you’re buying the right kind – but again, it’s not a lot of work.
The result? Making sure your car has the right amount of oil in there will prevent wear to expensive components – and if you change the oil yourself, you’ll knock a big chunk of the cost of your car service.
3. Find a trustworthy Car service centre
This one’s simple. Some garages have bad reputations – we’ve all heard stories about people who go for a new tyre and end up with 5 new tyres, a new exhaust, and a replacement transmission.
Fortunately, the internet means fewer dodgy stores get away with this kind of experience – but if you want to be absolutely sure, check our post on how to find trustworthy service centres and mobile mechanics. It’s a good way to make sure you’re not paying more than you need on your next car service.
4. Change the air filter
When it comes to services and car repairs, changing an air filter is up there as being one of the easiest jobs. In fact, there’s probably more than could go wrong when you put fuel in your vehicle.
It’s a little different car to car – but generally, it’ll involve taking a few clips off a plastic box under the bonnet, lifting out a filter, then replacing it with a new one that’s exactly the same. If you can do it on a vacuum, you can do it on a car.
Again, it’s not essential that you do it yourself – but expert mechanics charge a lot of their time, so if you can reduce the time they spend on your car, you’ll save a few dollars.
5. Watch your car tyre pressures
Now, servicing doesn’t generally involve doing anything to your tyres – but if you roll into a service centre with dangerously low tread, garages can (and should) warn you not to take the car back on the road.
Aside from sticking a knife in them, the most damaging thing you can do to your tyres is driving around with them under- or over-inflated. Not only is it extremely dangerous – it causes them to wear quicker.
Once a week – or before a big journey – make sure your tyre pressures are correct. It’s a 10-minute job – and as well as saving you the cost of new tyres when you next book a service, it could save your life.
6. Don’t pay for services you don’t need
How often should you service your car? Once a year? Once every 15,000 kilometres? Once every 30,000 kilometres? More? Less?
Every car is different – and every manufacturer makes different recommendations. The trouble is, car services can be another thing that feels like a bit of a mystery. Don’t worry though – get out your servicing log book and have a look. Or, speak to a trusted garage and talk to them about how you use your car – there’s no one-size-fits-all, so you should only pay for the servicing you need – not what a main dealer wants to charge you for!