Everyone knows that buying a used car is a great way to save money. However, the real key to frugal car ownership is performing your own maintenance at home. You can save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars simply by performing your own routine maintenance on your vehicle.
When it comes to owning a car, there is no better way to ensure it has a long lifespan than with routine maintenance. However, not everyone is a trained mechanic — that’s why we put together this list of five valuable car maintenance tips that make your life easier. Whether you’re an expert mechanic or new to wrenching, you’re sure to find a useful tip on this list.
Keep Cardboard Boxes
While most people look at empty cardboard boxes as trash, us DIY mechanics look at them like they’re gold — and they kind of are. Cardboard boxes are perfect for repurposing in the garage since you can use them for a variety of jobs.
Don’t want to lay on a cold concrete floor? Put down a flattened cardboard box. Doing an oil change and don’t want oil on your garage floor? Easy solution: put down a flattened cardboard box. See where we’re going with this?
When you use cardboard boxes in your garage — you’re not just being savvy — you’re making a positive impact on the environment too. Why not save the environment while also saving your back from the cold concrete floor?
Get a Magnetic Dish
Staying organized is one of the most important parts of working on your car at home, that’s why this is one of our favorite tips to share. If you want to keep track of those pesky nuts and bolts that want to roll away on you, there is no better way to do it than with a magnetic dish.
A magnetic dish is exactly what it sounds like, a dish that is magnetized so you can easily store objects within it. You can attach the dish to your car so it is always within reach while you’re working, helping you keep track of things with ease.
If you’re looking for a magnetic dish, you can find them at your local hardware stores like Home Depot or Harbor Freight. Magnetic dishes are fairly inexpensive and their use will far outweigh any money you spend on it, so get one today!
A Little Light Goes a Long Way
Another great way to make life easier in the garage is to have a great light source. When you’re working on your car, things can get tough to see, especially when they’re covered in motor oil and dirt. That’s why we suggest having at least one good source of light handy in your garage at all times.
We recommend a headlamp as it’s a hands-free way to get light in the exact places you need it. However, if you don’t want to look like an angler fish, there are plenty of great shop lights out there to choose from. There are magnetic lights that you can attach to the car, old school “trouble” lights and fancy LED strip lights — all of which work great in the shop.
Don’t work on your car blind, stop by your local Harbor Freight and pick up a shop light today. No matter which light you choose, you’ll be glad you did it!
Take Pictures as You Go
Cars are complex pieces of machinery and while anyone can work on them, there are some best practices you should follow. This tip is an absolute must for any mechanic, be it experienced or not. If you want to make performing your own vehicle maintenance simple, taking pictures with each step is the best way to do it.
While you’re working on your car, keep your smartphone handy and snap pictures as you go. Chances are you’ll need to reference the pictures at some point during your repair, so it’s best to have them than not. If you’re ever unsure about how something goes back together, having a picture on hand really comes in handy.
Another bonus of taking pictures is being able to reference them down the line during other repairs. Need to take that manifold off again but can’t remember how? Just reference your tear-down photos from the last time and you’re off to the races. This simple tip will save you hours in the shop and endless frustration — so don’t forget it!
Replace Things in Pairs
Whenever you’re replacing an item your vehicle has more than one of, always replace all of them at once. There is no bigger annoyance than replacing an item on your car, only to have to do it all over again just a few short days or weeks later. That’s why we recommend always replacing things in pairs if they come in them.
Whether its brake pads, headlights, tires or anything else on a car — replacing both or all at once saves you time and frustration. The best part of this method is that you’ll never have to play the “when was that last replaced” guessing game!
When In Doubt, Visit Thrifty Car Sales
Still unsure about your ability to work on your car? That’s okay, simply bring it to our service center here at Thrifty Car Sales and our expert technicians will handle the rest. Whether you just need an oil change or a full engine rebuild, the expert technicians here at Thrifty Car Sales can do it all.
If your car needs maintenance and you don’t want to do it at home, come on down to Thrifty Car Sales and we’ll take care of it for you. At Thrifty Car Sales, we make servicing your car a breeze. Simply stop by our service center or schedule an appointment ahead of time on our website — it’s really that easy.