Some people trade in their vehicles the moment the warranty runs out, but many drivers understand that keeping a car for the long-term is the best way to maximize the value of their purchase. While there are significant financial advantages to keeping a vehicle once the manufacturer's warranty runs out, it can also feel like walking a tightrope without a safety net. Worrying about the next problem and the cost of repairs can be stressful, but this anxiety is often unfounded.
Taking a mindful approach to car ownership can help to minimize the likelihood of costly repairs while also helping you to save money when a problem does crop up. These three tips will help to ensure that your vehicle ownership experience doesn't feel like a constant drain on your wallet.
Keep Up With Maintenance
Unfortunately, a significant number of vehicle repairs are the result of poor maintenance. Neglecting oil changes, brake pad replacements, and other routine maintenance items can turn these minor expenses into major headaches. Don't stop with regular maintenance just because your free service contract with the dealership has run out. In fact, it's often worth increasing the frequency of maintenance (ie, more frequent oil changes) as your vehicle's mileage increases. Sticking with a maintenance routine is often more than sufficient to ward off many common repairs faced by higher mileage vehicles.
Find Specialized Shops
Many auto repair shops specialize in specific makes or countries of origin. If you drive a German vehicle, for example, finding a shop that specializes in cars of German origin is often a good idea. For higher-end vehicles such as BMWs or Mercedes, it is often possible to find a shop that works only with that specific manufacturer. Although the labor costs for these specialized shops can sometimes be higher, you will save money in the long run since specialists will complete the work more quickly and often more correctly.
Develop A Close Relationship
You might not think of your mechanic as your best friend, but developing a relationship with one shop can be important when your goal is to keep a higher mileage car on the road. By repeatedly returning to the same shop, the technicians will get a feel for your car's unique maintenance and repair history. This knowledge will help the workers at the shop diagnose problems more quickly. Many shops will also prioritize return customers, helping you to get our car repaired and back on the road that much more rapidly.
It can be tempting to treat your car as another disposable appliance, but the high cost of the average vehicle makes long-term ownership a financially rewarding option. With a little care, owning your car for years to come can be a great way to save money while still enjoying a reliable vehicle.