One wishes to keep the car in perfect shape at lower maintenance costs. This article provides you with some useful tips on how to maintain this delicate balance.
There is so much to do with a car, when it comes to maintenance. Right from a small job of checking tire pressure to a comprehensive overhauling, the costs vary in a very wide range. You may have bargained aggressively for buying a car you consider a steal. But, are you considering the fact that the annual expenses for maintenance are likely to sabotage all your plans? Before you go for a buy, it is always advisable that you take the cost of car care per mile into consideration. These days, there are many standard cost comparisons appearing in various auto magazines or websites. In most guides, you will get to see the average maintenance costs, which are functions of various tasks like engine repairs, transmission, or replacement of car parts. Here’s a list of some of these tasks taken explicitly along with their respective charges.
Although it is the simplest and cheapest job, it must be mentioned as a type of car maintenance. Car wash can typically cost anywhere between USD 5 – USD 10 per washing.
Engine Oil, Air Filters, and Fuel Filters
This is one very important routine required to keep the engine healthy. Checking, and if required, replacing these elements are the tasks that are suggested by most car mechanics in order to preserve engine character and increase life. These tasks make up a sizable part of the annual expenses for maintenance of the car. Always use a good-quality branded engine oil, preferably a synthetic oil treated with additives, which help control friction. It is advised that you change engine oil after regular intervals, especially before a long journey. An oil change typically costs between USD 70 – USD 120.
Air and fuel filter systems ensure that clean air and fuel enter the fuel injection system, and thereby ensure that no harm is caused to the engine. When it comes to cost, these filters are quite comparable; however, air filters are slightly cheaper than the fuel ones. Air filters, typically, cost in the range of USD 10 – USD 15, whereas the latter may cost up to USD 25.
Tire Alignment and Air Pressure
Tires need care as well as periodic maintenance. Keeping them properly inflated and at the right pressure help improve your fuel economy. Under-inflated tires, at less than required pressure, will provide more resistance to travel, and too much pressure will put them to the risk of punctures. It is advisable that you check air pressure in tires on a weekly basis. Proper alignment and air pressure can improve gas mileage by up to three percent. For most of the American cars, a wheel job will cost about USD 60, which generally includes tire pressure check. This is one task that affects the maintenance expenses per month.
The suspension mechanism is almost solely responsible for the smoothness and comfort levels inside the car. However, the system also requires a lot of care and check up. Even though standard car suspensions have a long life, they need to be replaced every eight to ten years, or even less if you do a lot of off-road driving. Replacing this system can cost between USD 1000 – 2000 or more in case of high-end luxury cars and SUV. A suspension alignment may cost around USD 60 – 100.
Even though it happens to be one of the most important components of a car, its care is conveniently ignored. With periodic topping up of distilled water and proper care, one can increase battery life by up to a year. Three of the common battery group sizes – 24, 65 or 75 – can vary from USD 50 for a cheaper model to USD 90 – 120 for a premium battery, along with a 2 – 3 year battery replacement warranty.
A 4-stroke engine needs to be tuned for an optimum performance. For a basic tuning-up job, rates can be USD 30 for low-end cars and can go up to USD 100 for more expensive ones. More often than not, an auto repair station spots defects in the engine during the tuning process, which requires additional spending to fix these defects.
Any repair or maintenance work done will be added with labor charges of the workstation. Most stations waive these charges for about a year or two from the time of purchase of a new car, but that is obviously the period when it requires least maintenance. These labor charges may not be explicitly mentioned as you go to a workshop, so make sure that you consider them before submitting the vehicle.
In case your auto warranty is still valid, you are likely to save a lot. Most spare parts and labor charges are discounted within the warranty period. There are many more tasks that are generally performed, but much less frequently, as compared to the jobs discussed above. These include clutch, brake, muffler, radiator work, etc.
These are the major task break-ups, which cumulatively add up to give the total car maintenance costs. Following proper driving practices, and regular check-ups can dramatically bring down your expenses.