Unconventional Ways to Start Saving Money on Car Maintenance

unconventional ways to start saving on car maintenance

Automotive maintenance is a necessity, not an option. However, sometimes you don’t have enough money to get all of your maintenance tasks done at the right time.

The good news is that you can cut a few corners and use a few unconventional ways to start saving money on your car maintenance and repairs. The following are 10 tips to help you achieve that.

1. Try a DIY Project

Doing something yourself that requires a professional is the definition of being unconventional. That’s why I listed it first for unconventional ways to start saving money on car maintenance. The average shop charges anywhere from $50 to 100+ dollars an hour for auto repairs and labor.

Unless you hire a shade tree mechanic, you’ll see those prices just about anywhere you go. But if you’re going to do that, you might as well try your hand at performing the maintenance service yourself. That way, you’ll only need to pay for the parts.

It’s relatively easy to access information that will help you perform repairs or maintenance tasks on your vehicle. If you prefer to read instructions, you can purchase a paperback manual for your car.

Online alternatives are available as well. If you are a person who would rather see and hear someone else perform the procedure, you can sift through the endless videos on major video-sharing sites like YouTube, Vimeo, and the like.

Some parts stores even have videos of maintenance procedures on their websites. They offer it to their customers to entice them to purchase parts from their locations, which works quite well.

Use store-brand products as unconventional ways to start saving

2. Refill Your AC With Store-Bought Brand Coolant

Your car’s air conditioning system may need some service if you notice that it only blows warm air. It can have many issues, but the main problem when you experience a lack of cold air is that the freon needs to be refilled.

Fortunately, you can save money on this maintenance task by buying the refrigerant at a local auto parts store and then putting it in yourself.

The first thing to do before you perform this car AC repair is to find out the brand or type of refrigerant your vehicle uses. You will find that information in your owner’s manual or underneath the hood. You’ll find a tag that says something like ‘ R-134A,’ which is the most commonly used refrigerant to date.

Once you know what type to put in your car, the next step is going to the store and finding it. Fortunately, many auto parts stores and department stores sell cans of it. You may have to show your identification when purchasing it, but don’t take it as a personal offense.

These are some quick steps for recharging your vehicle’s AC system. Keep in mind that they may vary for different models:

1. Turn on Your AC

You’ll need to put the air conditioning in the highest setting.

2. Check Your Compressor’s Engagement

Raise your hood and look for the pulley connected to your AC compressor. If it’s spinning, it’s most likely working correctly.

3. Do a Pressure Check

To perform a pressure check, you’ll need to turn the car off and look for something called the low-side pressure service port. Look for it in the engine bay on the passenger’s side. It might be gray or black, and you might be lucky enough to see the letter L on it.

4. Attach the Hose From the Recharge Kit

What you’ll want to do next is connect the hose from the recharge kit. Do not press the trigger on the can of refrigerant just yet. Instead, just attach the hose. There should be a pressure gauge on it.

5. Restart the Car and Read the Gauge

Restart your car and look at the gauge to review the pressure. If the pressure is under 40 PSI, you need to charge your system.

6. Squeeze the Trigger

Now, you can connect the refrigerant can and squeeze the trigger to begin your recharging process. Be careful not to overcharge the system. If you get the pressure up to 40 PSI, that will be good enough.

7. Check Your Temperature

When you’re done recharging the AC system, you’ll need to see if everything worked well. You should be able to blow air as low as 28 degrees if you’ve successfully recharged your system.

Now you know one of the unconventional ways to start saving on recharging your AC system.

3. Go on a Mad Hunt for Coupons and Promotions

You don’t always have to do the work yourself to get a good deal on auto repair services and maintenance. Sometimes, saving money has nothing to do with who does the work and more to do with taking advantage of all the discount options you have.

First, you can try to find coupons by doing a search engine search for ‘{automotive service} coupons.’ The search might return some attractive coupons you can print or download to your phone to take to the facility with you.

You can also visit the websites of all your local auto repair shops to see if they have coupons on their site. Additionally, you might catch a promotion for new clients, holiday visitors, or some other good reason for a discount.

Many places also offer discounts to military personnel, students, and senior citizens. Thus, you may have access to such discounts if you say you are a member of such a group.

Another way to save on maintenance is through your roadside assistance program, insurance company, credit union, or employer connections. Make sure you check with your job to see if it offers to connect you with car repair establishments and get services for a discounted price.

Many companies give their workers access to a wealth of deals through the portal. If you search long enough, you will find the savings you desire. It’s one of the most effective unconventional ways to start saving.

4. Bypass Your Transponder

Many automobiles have transponder keys with chips, making obtaining affordable auto key replacement more difficult. Your key replacement might be so expensive that you’ll want to use unconventional ways to start saving money.

One way you can save money if you lose your key is by bypassing the key. You can purchase and install a bypass kit or try to reprogram a different key to your ignition. Otherwise, you might have to spend hundreds or several thousands of dollars on a new transponder key from a dealership.

5. Claim Your Car Registration

Auto registration services are services you must pay for annually so that you can continue to drive your car. The states set the prices in stone, and they usually work according to your vehicle’s weight. There may not necessarily be too many unconventional ways to start saving money on your registration.

However, you can claim any cash you pay for your vehicle’s registration on your income taxes. That will give you a slight tax break; everyone needs a good tax break every now and then. Use this method as one of the best unconventional ways to start saving

unconventional ways to start saving include hiring shade tree mechanics

6. Use Shadetree Mechanics

Some people believe using shade tree mechanics for maintenance qualifies as using unconventional ways to start saving money. That isn’t necessarily true, however. Some shade tree mechanics have loads of experience and high skill levels, but they work from home for some reason.

You can benefit from their reduced rates if you take your vehicle to one of them the next time you need maintenance work or other auto services.

7. Slash Your Insurance Coverage

Your insurance is another area where you need to use some unconventional ways to start saving money. The price can be too high, even when the insurance quote seems fair.

One action you can do to save money on your premium is to raise your deductibles. Experts advise that you only do this briefly to avoid getting stuck in a horrid situation where you can get your car fixed if something happens. You can use the tactic to boost your available cash for a little while, though.

8. Use your Insurance for Auto Glass Repair

Cracked or damaged auto glass can be a drag, especially during an inspection. Your glass can break for various reasons, including object impact, hailstorms, driver errors, etc. The good news about your auto glass is that you can get it replaced through your insurance company. Some say that this method is one of the unconventional ways to start saving.

This service will probably be quite a relief if you’ve failed your vehicle inspection because of a crack that was slightly too big. Some insurance companies will cover at least one window replacement or auto glass repair.

Florida, South Carolina, and Kentucky are examples of three states where insurance companies must offer drivers a free replacement at least once.

Here’s what you’ll need to do to get your replacement:

1. Call Your Insurance Company

First, you need to contact your insurance establishment to open a claim. Typically, insurance companies have a toll-free number on the back of the card their insured person can use to contact them.

Some companies also allow their insured people to file their claims online, but it might be easier for you to get your free window replacement by talking to a live person.

2. Explain What Happened

Explain what happened that caused your windshield to crack. Many drivers are victims of tractor-trailer debris dumping. That situation occurs when a large truck throws large rocks and they accidentally hit someone’s windshield.

If you’ve experienced such an incident, you can explain that to the insurance company to get help. It won’t be much of the top unconventional ways to save money on auto maintenance, but it will help.

3. Contact a Window Repair Company

The insurance company will most likely give you the number of a company that can repair or replace your window. You can choose to take your vehicle into their shop or arrange for a mobile glass technician to come to where you are.

4. Arrange a Time for Repairs

Let the company know when you’ll be available and set a time to have the work you need done. That’s it. They will repair or replace your windshield, and then you will pass your inspection the next time around.

9. Visit the Salvage Yard for Parts

You can use parts that don’t come brand-new from the factory to perform automotive maintenance and automotive repair processes. It might sound like one of the unconventional ways to start saving money, but you can visit the auto salvage yard and look for parts for your vehicle. You might even be able to find inexpensive parts you would typically purchase at a regular parts store and swap.

10. Use Sealants to Stop Leaks

You’re supposed to do various maintenance tasks on your tires at specific intervals. Those services include tire balancing, tire rotations, and wheel alignments. Tire balancing is a process that involves distributing weight in a certain way.

Tire rotation is moving the rear tires to the back and the back to the rear (or an alternative pattern) so that the tires can wear evenly. A wheel alignment is a mechanical procedure that ensures your wheels are perpendicular to the ground.

Failing to have someone perform any of those tasks can lead to steering wheel vibrations, uneven wearing, and shifting from one’s lane after taking the handoff of it.

Experts also recommend purchasing new car tires if you get a leak in them.

One of the unconventional ways to start saving money is to use a can of sealant if you get a tire leak. The hole needs to be small enough for it to work, but you can get many more miles out of your tire if it does.

Cans of sealant typically cost $20 or less. To put them in, you only need to connect the hose to the air inlet valve on your wheel and then press some type of trigger to release the chemical.

After releasing the chemical, you will then need to drive the car somewhere to fill the tire with air. If properly sealed, the tire will not exhibit any additional signs of leaking.

Those are just a few unconventional ways to start saving money on auto maintenance and repairs. You’ll think of cool new ways after you’ve tried a few of these methods.

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