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While for many Australians owning a car is a life fact, another important fact is that owning a car costs money. In our daily efforts to be more sustainable, economical and cost-effective, we should also do our best to keep the car-related expenses down, while taking care of their every need, and more importantly, keeping us safe on the road at all times. Whether you use your car to commute, buy groceries, drive the kids to football practice, or make weekend tours, here are some money-saving car maintenance tips.

Inexpensive oil change

As the second most important fluid in your car, providing the engine with a clean supply of oil prevents wear and tear on its internal components, provides the best gas mileage and minimizes a range of engine problems which can easily turn into costly repairs. Sometimes cars come with complimentary maintenance and oil change schedules, but you can always trust the factory schedule. You can save some money by looking out for coupons from local garages and repair shops, which are usually a lot cheaper than authorised dealers.

On the other hand, Valvoline Instant Oil Change runs an efficient franchised business across Australia that gets you in and out quickly. It’s important, however, to steer away from all the ‘add-ons’ and ‘suggested maintenance’ offers, as an inexpensive oil change can easily accumulate to an expensive maintenance tab. Now, if you aren’t afraid to get a little dirty, you can buy your own oil and oil filter and do everything yourself. However, unless your car runs on full synthetic oil, or you need more than 4 to 5 quarts, it’s not worth the mess. Hand it over to a local shop and spend some quality time with your car in a nice way.

Tyre maintenance essentials

First and foremost, you need to keep your tyres inflated to the factory recommendations in the owner’s manual. Alternatively, you can usually find the recommended pressure on a label inside the door frame of the driver’s door. Not only does proper tyre pressure keep your gas mileage within the factory limits, but it provides a smooth and comfortable ride over bumps and helps with high-speed cornering. Although today’s tyres seem indestructible, harsh Australian sun and temperature changes often remind us that they are an item that wears out.

Of course, all the maintenance tips won’t help you unless you buy quality tyres. This family-owned repair shop that also offers quality cheap tyres in Blacktown is a proof that performance doesn’t always have to come with a high price tag. If you have an extra set of tyres, make sure you store them properly, within protective tyre bags. Even if you don’t drive your car for a longer period, take it for a ride at least once a month to prevent dry tyre rot, which is a result of uneven force distribution. Also, it’s recommendable to rotate your tyres every 10,000 kilometres, so they wear out evenly.

DIY air and pollen filter swap

Engine air filters need to be replaced regularly, according to the factory schedule, even more often if you live in dusty or drier climates. They are vital to proper engine operation, as they filter out dirt, dust, pollen and other debris from the engine air intake. Engine air filters are made to be easily accessible, their cylindrical shape with folds of vertical ribs easy to spot. The beauty of this operation is that almost anyone can do it, you don’t need any tools and everything is over in 10 minutes. Why give up your car to a mechanic for a full day, just to sit there waiting for a 10-minute operation, which you can perform in no time?

Another filter you can easily replace yourself is the cabin air or pollen filter, which keeps the cabin air clean of dust and airborne pollutants. Most cars have them under the bonnet in a black rectangular box with metal clips on the side. If you’re not sure, check your owner’s manual. Some cars will have them inside, behind the glove box. Again, it’s as simple as it gets – open up the box and check out how the existing filter fits inside. Remove the old filter and insert the new one the same way the old one was fitted. Don’t forget to engage the metal clips when you’re done.

In our effort to live a more frugal life, we need to try handling simple car maintenance operations ourselves. While not everyone is an auto expert or a born mechanic, we can all learn new skills that not only give us a sense of accomplishment, but also leave more cash in our pockets.