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Bright Ideas · Saving Money · 6 Unexpected Car Services You’re Wasting Your Money On
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6 Unexpected Car Services You’re Wasting Your Money On

You want to take good care of your ride, but you could be overpaying (or even throwing money away) on these services!

Between paying for car insurance, gasoline, and regular maintenance, we spend a lot of money on car-related expenses! While many of them are necessary costs that keep your car in good working order, there are a handful of services you can take off your to-do list to keep more money in your pocket!

If you’re looking for ways trim the fat in your budget, auto services can be a good place to do so! While you should still take your car to a professional for important maintenance and major repairs, there are more than a few car maintenance tasks that you can cut out to save money.

We’ll be exploring 6 of the auto services you may want to consider skipping in today’s post. Whether they’re cheaper to DIY to just plain unnecessary, opting out of these services can save you money without compromising the wellbeing of your car!

6 Auto Services You’re Wasting Money On

1. Oil Changes Every 3,000 Miles

When it comes to oil changes, everyone has a different opinion about how often you should get them. The best source of information about your specific make and model is your car’s owner’s manual, but don’t be surprised if the suggested oil change interval differs from the one on the windshield sticker from your last oil change!

Auto service stations would love to change your car’s oil every 3,000 miles, but your owner’s manual might say your car only needs one every 5,000 miles. So do your research to make sure you’re not wasting money on unnecessary oil changes.

2. Air Filter Replacements

Most newer model cars are equipped with a cabin air filter that, as the name suggests, filters the air inside your car. It’s important to change this filter regularly to keep your heating and cooling systems working correctly, but a repair shop might charge you $100 in parts and labor just to swap it out!

But if you’re willing to install a new cabin air filter yourself (which seems surprisingly doable), you could save yourself around $70. Just make sure to purchase the correct replacement filter for your specific make and model, either online or at your local dealership.

3. Refrigerant Recharge

And speaking of cooling, if the A/C in your car doesn’t seem to be working as well as it used to, you might jump to the conclusion that your refrigerant needs to be recharged. But in reality, it probably doesn’t!

Modern cars’ cooling systems are tightly sealed, and most don’t ever experience a loss of refrigerant. A faulty blower fan or leak in the air circulation system is more likely to blame, so get those checked first before you shell out a couple hundred bucks for a refrigerant recharge.

4. Regular Engine Tune-Ups

Another difference between modern cars and the ones we drove 20+ years ago is that modern cars are basically giant mobile computers. They have dozens of different computer systems that monitor performance via sensors and make adjustments as necessary to optimize engine performance.

So if you have a relatively new car and the engine seems to be running poorly or just feels a little “off,” an engine tune-up may not actually address the problem. Instead, you’re better off putting that money toward a diagnostic test that can identify specific problems.

5. Lube Jobs

Keeping your chassis well lubricated used to be a critical part of car care and maintenance, but most of today’s cars and trucks have sealed, “lubed-for-life” joints. That means that lube services are rarely necessary for newer cars, so don’t waste your money on them (unless you have an older car or truck that needs them!)

6. Headlight Replacements

In the event that one of your headlights or taillights goes out, you can save good money by heading to the nearest auto parts store rather than a garage or service center. Ask an employee to help you find the correct bulb(s) for your make and model, and you can usually replace it yourself with ease. (They may even offer to come out to the parking lot to help you replace it on the spot!)

Note: While replacing headlights is usually no sweat, not every car makes it easy! My son-in-law had to disconnect and remove his older Subaru’s battery just to reach the burnt headlight he was trying to replace, so it’s probably a good idea to look up what your car’s owner’s manual says about replacing headlights before committing to doing it yourself.

Now that you’re saving money while keeping your car in tip-top shape, check out these hacks for keeping your car clean too! 🙂

Do you have any tips for saving money on car-related expenses?


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    Hi, I’m Jillee!

    I believe we should all love the place we call home and the life we live there. Since 2011, I’ve been dedicated to making One Good Thing by Jillee a reliable and trustworthy resource for modern homemakers navigating the everyday challenges of running a household. Join me as I share homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make life easier so you can enjoy it more!

    Every day I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

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