A car is a big investment, and most of us can’t afford to a new car every couple of years, so we have to make sure we take care of the one we have. I have a jalopy from 1996 that I love because it runs well, has heated leather seats that work, and AC that’s cold in the summer. It also used to live on the East Coast, so it has some unsightly rust spots, random dents and dings, and a passenger seat that moves forward when you push the button back. It’s also paid off and has a clean title, so I’ve had to do my best to maintain it on a writer’s budget (which means free or really, really cheap). I’ve learned to do a few key over the years while I save up for a new car, and you can, too. Here are three simple ways to extend the life of your car on a budget:
Dump The Detritus
I have two sons under the age of six, so my little sedan has seen its share of food crumbs, broken toys, and random socks. Currently, my trunk holds three razor scooters, a croquet set, ice chest, and one Ninja costume. By Friday afternoon, everything will be taken out, put back where it belongs in the house, and the boys will help me vacuum up three or four days worth of crumbs and spilled French fries. It’s not an exciting ritual, but making sure I keep stuff from piling up keeps the extra weight from adding up. Over time, added weight can negatively affect the gas mileage.
Check The Tire Pressure
Friday afternoon also means I give my car the once over, and one thing I check religiously is my tire pressure. By making certain my tires are properly inflated, I’m keeping the tires from wearing unevenly as well as keeping my gas mileage consistent. I’ve had the unfortunate experience of a worn tire leading to a blowout, and I’m determined not to re-live that experience if I can avoid it.
Use A Premium Oil
I’m lucky enough to have a husband who taught me how to change my oil, and for my make of car, a good synthetic oil is a must. I usually also check and replace the air filters if they need it, and make sure the spark plugs are clean.
These are only three of the many things I do on a weekly basis to maintain my car. I’ll probably hold onto it for as long as I possible so I can save up for a really nice new vehicle. One place I may head out to is Nicholasville Nissan, here in Kentucky. They have a new stock of 2015 Nissan Sentras on the lot, and I just might break open my piggy bank a bit early for the blue one!