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Even as cars evolve to need less-frequent care, maintenance and replacement costs can take a big bite out of your wallet. Don't worry, we're not going to try to teach you how to rebuild an engine or even dirty your hands—just how to make smart decisions that will keep you rolling for less.

Keep the right parts dry.

I see this all the time in my neighborhood: Drivers come home and park the car in front of the garage door. Then when rain threatens, they run out to pull it inside lest their car get rained on. Or, when it gets dark, they pull the car in for the night.

Ouch! Here's what's wrong with that: Starting a cold engine is when the bulk of its wear occurs. That's in part because all the oil is sitting at the bottom, rather than distributed around the parts that move. But also, when your engine runs and doesn't get warm, the byproducts of combustion, including water, collect in the oil and can over time turn it into a noxious sludge that attacks the motor from the inside. On a longer trip, your car's engine gets hot and the water is boiled out of the oil and the engine—no worries there. So: avoid short trips when you can—especially the short and pointless ones.

Give regular fuel a try.

Even if your car says premium fuel recommended—or even required—few really need it. Most late-model cars can adjust to regular fuel because engines are now equipped with knock sensors, which adjust the engine's timing automatically when they detect uncontrolled burning—the tell-tale 'pinging'—and forestall any engine damage. You may experience a slight decrease in power and fuel economy, but even the mileage loss won't come anywhere near the difference between regular and premium.

A key exception: If your car is turbo- or supercharged and specifies super, follow the manual. And for Pete's sake, you're doing neither your car nor your wallet any favors by putting higher-grade gas in a car that calls for regular.

Don't change the oil more than you need to.

Sure, Uncle Marvin changed his oil every 3,000 miles and his Studebaker ran forever. But oils have evolved, and so have engines. Even Jiffy Lube's not running the "every 3,000 miles" pitch anymore. Stick to the manual's recommendations and refuse all entreaties from service managers and ad campaigns, especially ones for oil additives.

Note that your manual may tell you to follow your car's electronic oil-use sensors rather than go by a specific mileage. Don't get me wrong. Oil is your engine's lifeblood and it's critical to change it. But doing so more often than your vehicle's manufacturer recommends simply doesn't pay off.

Find a local mechanic you trust and show him your business.

Too many car owners flit from shop to shop, forking over fortunes on major repairs. Here's a better strategy: Identify a gas station owner or repair shop manager in your neighborhood you like, make sure he knows you are creating business for him, get to know him on a first-name basis and be friendly. It's amazing how a bond of trust like this can save you money. I work with someone whose trusty local gas station owner came to his house to jump-start his battery in an emergency, and charged him nothing.  Read more at:

Get a free no obligation Car Quote to find out if we can put more dollars in your pocket.  Ask us about discounts you may be qualified to receive.  Contact Us at (800) 807-6871 today!

Posted 1:10 PM

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