The Cutting Edge: Auto Maintenance

Hefty maintenance costs that come along with owning an automobile can seem to be more than the car is worth. From oil changes, to tune ups and everything in between, cars can be an expensive necessity. With the economy taking a turn for the worse, people may be looking to hold on to their cars longer. As you prepare to get that extra mile from your vehicle, here are a few auto maintenance tips to help you along the way:

Look for coupons. They’re not just for grocery stores. offers automotive coupons for auto maintenance shops nationwide. But if you prefer to take your car back to the dealership, find out if the area branch has a Website. Oftentimes local Honda dealerships offer coupons specific to that location.

Check the manual: “Many motorists believe they have to get their oil changed every 3,000 miles,” says Christie Hyde, spokesperson for the American Automobile Association (AAA). But, many newer models can go up to 7,500 miles before needing an oil change. Hyde says car owners should check their owner’s manual to find out what is recommended by manufacturer. She says motorists shouldn’t just go by sticker on the vehicle. Review the manual to find out what work is required at the given mileage before making a service appointment.

Buy it yourself. It’s not enough that mechanics charge by the hour, but additional costs for parts can also hike up an already burdensome bill. If your car needs new parts try going to an auto parts store or visiting for less expensive auto supplies. It’s likely to be cheaper than the mechanic.

Do it yourself. Sure, it sounds cliché and frankly, who has the time to figure some of this stuff out? But Hyde recommends going to an auto parts store such as NAPA, where car owners can get a little free help with minor fixes such as checking tires or changing air filters.

Don’t skimp. If you’re looking to hold on to your car a little longer, don’t shortchange your vehicle. “Paying a little more now can head off major expenses in the future,” Hyde says.