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20 ways you waste money on your car

Cars make us irrational. We call them our babies and lovingly wax them every Saturday -- or we turn up the radio to drown out the sound of a dragging muffler. Either mindset will cost you money, sometimes a lot of it.

Walking the line between obsession and neglect means you never spend a nickel without a good reason -- and good reasons can include spending money on something that's not broken.Here, then, are 20 ways you waste money on your car:

Premium gas instead of regular. Buy the cheapest gasoline that doesn't make your car engine knock. All octane does is prevent knock; a grade higher than the maker of your car recommends is not a "treat."

3,000-mile oil changes. Manufacturers typically suggest 5,000 miles, 7,500 miles or even longer intervals between oil changes (many car markers now include oil-life monitors that tell you when the oil is dirty -- sometimes as long as 15,000 miles.) There may be two recommendations for oil-change intervals: one for normal driving and one for hard use. If you live in a cold climate, take mostly very short trips, tow a trailer or have a high-revving, high-performance engine, use the more aggressive schedule. If you seldom drive your car, go by the calendar rather than your odometer. Twice a year changes are the minimum.

Taking false economies. Better to replace a timing belt on the manufacturer's schedule than to have it break somewhere in western Nebraska. Better to pop for snow tires than to ride that low-profile rubber right into a tree.

Using the dealer's maintenance schedule instead of the factory's. Of course he thinks you should have a major tune-up every 30,000 miles. Most of the tasks that we generally think of under the heading of "tune-up" are now handled electronically. Stick to the manufacturer's schedule unless your car is not running well. If your engine doesn't "miss" -- skip a beat or make other odd noises -- don't change the spark plugs or wires until the manufacturer says so.

Using a dealer for major services. Independent shops almost always will do the same work much cheaper. Call around, owner's manual in hand, to find out, mindful that the quality of the work is more of a question mark. Some dealers may tell you using outside garages violates the car's warranty. This is a lie.

Using a dealer for oil changes. Dealers sometimes run dirt-cheap specials, but otherwise you'll usually find changes cheaper elsewhere. If you're using an independent shop for the first time, you might inconspicuously mark your old oil filter to make sure it has indeed been changed. And don't let them talk you into new wiper blades, new air filters or high-priced synthetic oil, unless your car is one of the few high-performance machines built for it.

Not replacing your air filter and wiper blades yourself. Buy them on sale at a discount auto-parts store rather than having a garage or dealer replace them. Replacement is simple for either part, a 5-minute job. A good schedule for new air filters is every other oil change in a dusty climate; elsewhere at least once every 20,000 miles. Treat yourself to new wipers (it's easiest to buy the whole blade, not the refill) once a year.

Going to any old repair shop. At the very least, make sure it's ASE-certified (a good housekeeping seal of approval from the nonprofit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence). From there, look for a well-kept shop with someone who's willing to answer all your questions. Estimates must include a provision that no extra work will be done without your approval. Drive your car to make sure the problem is fixed before you pay. Pay with a credit card in case there's a dispute later. Be courteous and pay attention. A good mechanic is hard to find.

Changing your antifreeze every winter. Change it only when a hydrometer suggests it will no longer withstand temperatures 30 degrees below the coldest your area sees in winter. Your dealer or oil-change shop should be happy to check it for free. Every two years is about right. But you also should keep your cooling system happy by running the air conditioner every few weeks in winter to keep it lubricated, checking for puddles underneath the car and replacing belts and hoses before they dry and crack.

Replacing tires when you should be replacing shocks. If your tires are wearing unevenly or peculiarly, your car may be out of alignment or your shocks or struts worn out.

Letting a brake squeal turn into a brake job. Squeal doesn't necessarily mean you need new rotors or pads; mostly, it's just annoying. Your first check -- you can probably see your front brakes through the wheels on your car -- is to look at the thickness of the pads. Pads thicker than a quarter-inch are probably fine. If your brakes emit a constant, high-pitched whine and the pads are thinner than a quarter-inch, replace them. If your car shimmies or you feel grinding through the pedal, then your brake rotors need to be turned or replaced.

Not complaining when your warranty claim is rejected. Check Alldata and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) to see if a technical service bulletin (TSB) has been issued about the component in question. Manufacturers often will repair known defects outside the warranty period (sometimes called a secret warranty). It helps if you've done your homework and haven't been a jerk.

Not keeping records. A logbook of every repair done to your car can help you decide if something's seriously out of whack. Didn't I just buy new brake pads? With a log and an envelope stuffed with receipts, you'll know who did the work and when, and whether or not there's a warranty on the repair. And a service logbook helps at resale time, too.

Buying an extended warranty. Most manufacturers allow you to wait until just before the regular warranty expires to decide. By then you should know whether your car is troublesome enough to require the extended warranty. Most of them aren't worth the price.

Overinsuring. Never skimp on liability, but why buy collision and comprehensive insurance on a junker you can probably afford to replace? Add your deductible to your yearly bill for collision and comprehensive coverage, then compare that total with the wholesale value of the car. If it's more than half, reconsider.

Assuming the problem is major. If your car is overheating but you don't see a busted hose or lots of steam, it might be the $5 thermostat, not your radiator. Or it may be that ominous "check engine" light itself that's failed, not your alternator.

Not changing the fuel filter. Have it replaced as a part of your maintenance -- every two years or according to the manufacturer's schedule -- rather than when it becomes clogged with grit, leaving you at the mercy of the nearest garage.

Not knowing how to change a tire. Have you even looked at your spare? Make sure it's up to snuff and all the parts of your jack are there. Changing a flat yourself is not only cheaper, it's faster, too.

Not keeping your tires properly inflated. Check them once a month; otherwise, you're wasting gasoline, risking a blowout and wearing them out more quickly.

Car washes. Ten bucks for long lines and gray water? Nothing shows you care like doing it yourself.

Get Proper Vehicle Insurance In a Bat of An Eye Without Visiting Any Physical Office

Driving a car without insurance is illegal, and drivers may land into unnecessary trouble for doing it. It is vital to ensure that you always have proper cover before taking your automobile for a spin. It also applies in situations where drivers have just bought a new vehicle from their favorite dealership and want to go home or to their businesses as they never know what may happen en route. You never have to step into an insurance office as it is possible to get fast Brampton Auto Insurance online without moving from your desk by following the steps below:

  1. Do a Quick Online Search

It will present different options regarding policy providers as well as comparison tools that can help identify the insurance companies that offer reasonable rates. Go through reviews from past clients to ensure that you are working with a reliable service provider.

  1. Contact your Preferred Agent

After identifying the service provider to work with, go ahead and contact them or leave them a message on their official page so that they can get back to you within the shortest time possible. Talking directly to the agent will let you know the coverage options they have. At this point, you can also answer questions about your car and the people who intend to drive it and details of the current cover so that the providers can have all information they need.

  1. Explore Discounts

Do not always settle for the first price that the agent delivers. You can hugely lower premiums by studying insurance discounts that your service provider extends. While doing this, you may also customize your policy with additional options like accident forgiveness and roadside assistance among many others to get the ones that work for your situation.

  1. Settle on a Policy

Never commit to an insurance plan before going through all packages with different levels of pricing and coverage. It is a convenient way to be aware of your options so that you select a policy that suits your budget and needs. After noting your ideal policy, choose a payment method to complete the transaction. From here you can download proof of insurance card.

After purchasing the new auto cover, you get instant proof of insurance either by fax or email. Keep this document in your car to prove that you a have valid policy. As soon as the insurance has been issued, your service provider will mail the proof of insurance.

Please note: All information on this site is provided "as is" without any warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied, including but not limited to fitness for a particular use.

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