Written by a Guest Blogger from the UK
A lot of us use a car as our main means of conveyance, and as a result we need to have a car that is reliable and safe. Regular maintenance is definitely a necessity, and checking up on your car is no different from taking yourself or a pet for a check-up. The mechanic/doctor/vet has a quick look around, makes sure everything’s fine and dandy, and then you’re on your way, unless some thing is wrong and they have to help fix the problem.
However, like the doctor and the vet, it’s not always very cheap. Although there are some great companies out there (family ones are always some of the best) offering cheap car maintenance, there’s no harm in learning a few tricks of the trade so you can fix small problems. If you identify issues before they get any worse, you will avoid far larger costs further down the line when a small leak turns into a major problem, and so on.
There are a multitude of ways to learn, and of course the internet is an amazing resource when it comes to picking up new skills, asking questions, and even doing the odd bit of research on parts or tools. However, the best thing you can do with a search engine and a spare half-hour is look up an in-person training course, because simply reading an article will not prepare you for a hands-on experience. Everyone needs to research their chosen hobby or skill, but practical experience is one of the most efficient ways to learn and test your skills.
Additionally, ensure that you have a range of tools and materials with you in the car – storing them under the seats or in the boot (for those readers in the US, the boot is the trunk) is best as they are then easily accessible. This will enable you to replace a flat tire, help fix a leaky hose or broken belt, and generally keep things going, at least until you can get the vehicle to a mechanic. Of course, this should save you some money as you’re then not claiming on your Aviva car insurance policy and can maintain your no claims bonus.
If you can’t fix something, ask for help! There’s no shame whatsoever in taking the car to a mechanic – it’s better to have it looked at and pay a small cost (don’t use car insurance unless it’s a big job that would damage your budget, because a no claims bonus really helps cut down the costs of car insurance over time). So all in all; read up, skill up, practice, and don’t be afraid to hold your hands up and ring a professional. You’ll soon find that taking care of a car is a cheaper, simpler job than you once thought.