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Adding a little extra to your car budget now, could pay off huge later.

Car Maintenance: Spend Now, Save Later

Friday, May 2, 2014, 8:48 AM -

Let’s face it, owning a vehicle can get expensive.Not only is there the initial cost of purchasing a vehicle, but then you tack on fuel, insurance and maintenance costs and it adds up quickly.We all try and save a few bucks here and there, but if there is one area not to cut corners, it’s on your vehicle’s maintenance.

Emanuel Hilario, Ground Service Equipment Lead Mechanic for American Eagle Airlines says, “Ignoring some of the simple maintenance issues can result in an accident or injuries to you or others on the road.”

Unfortunately, there are a lot of things on your vehicle that do need to be maintained, but if you keep up with them you can avoid bigger problems down road. Hilario provides an extensive list of regular car maintenance that should be completed. It includes, “Consistent oil changes, tire rotations, air pressure checks, brakes, wheel alignment, steering, changing spark plugs, filters and fluids.

What are a few of the most common types of maintenance for the average vehicle? Oil changes are very important and have to be done a few times a year. Brake pads often wear down and need to be checked annually. Your vehicles tires need to be maintained and rotated or there will wear out quickly.

Photo by Geoflickr?, via Flicker

Photo by Geoflickr?, via Flicker

The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) recommends that you change the oil in your vehicle every 5,000 to 8,000 kilometers or every three months. Hilario explains, “Regular oil changes keep your engine clean and lubricated. Neglecting oil changes cuts down the friction which can literally wear away parts of your engine, causing it to fail.” Your average oil change will cost you anywhere from $30 to $50. Over a year, that amounts to $120 to $200. But, to replace an entire engine, it could cost between $2,000 and $5,000 depending on the type and manufacturer.

According to the Midas website, your brake pads may need replacing if the brake pedal is spongy or slow to respond or if you hear grinding or constant squealing during braking. Hilario explains, “On average, you should be paying anywhere from $200 to $400 to replace the brake pads on most common cars, depending on the manufacture this cost may vary.” If you don’t replace the brake pads when needed, you could have bigger problems down the line. “Checking your brakes annually allows you to spot wear or issues before it's too late, neglecting regular brake work could eventually lead to more costly rotor or disc replacement which now may cost you anywhere from $400 to $900.

Tires are a huge cost for your vehicle as they do need to be replaced at some point. Tire rotations can actually help extend the life of your tires. A tire rotation is when the front tires are moved to the rear and the rear tires are moved to the front. This helps ensure that all of your tires wear evenly. CAA recommends that you have your tires rotated every 12,000 to 15,000 kilometers. A tire rotation may only cost you around $50. The price of tires range depending on the brand and type, but can cost anywhere form $400 and up.

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To maintain your vehicle, it will cost you small amounts of money spread out over time. But, if you neglect your vehicle and don’t maintain it, it could end up costing you huge chunks of money. Ultimately, you’ll save more in the long run by taking care of your vehicle and keeping up the maintenance.

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