Having a car makes life easier. But it can be frustrating, and costly, when the maintenance expenses keep piling up. Check out these 7 simple ways to maintain your car yourself and save money on car maintenance.

1. Skip the car wash

Having your car professionally cleaned is one of those easy-to-eliminate expenses. Instead of making a trip to the car wash, try sudsing it up yourself. You just need car wash soap, a hose, and a bucket to get started.

2. Find cheaper gas

Driving miles to find the cheapest gas defeats the purpose. Try using Fuelcaster® — our gas price predictor, to see which gas stations have the lowest prices near you.* And even better? You’ll also be able to see if gas prices are predicted to rise or fall. So you can decide when it’s best to fill up.

Another easy way to save on gas? Combine your trips and errands to be most the fuel efficient.

3. Get a gas credit card

Unless you own an electric car, buying gas is inevitable. So consider a credit card that gives points back for gas. Sometimes knowing you’ll recover even a small percentage of what you spend can lessen the sting of the expense.

4. Read the manual 

Yep, the one probably shoved in the back of your glove box. Or you can check out the online version. Either way, perusing it will help inform you about what repairs need to be done and when.

And, if you’ve read that manual, you won’t be surprised (or feel taken advantage of) at the shop.

5. Lengthen time between oil changes 

Another reason reading the manual can help: oil changes. In the past, 3,000 was the standard number of miles to go between oil changes. Some dealerships or oil-change stations still recommend them at those intervals. But many newer models can go at least 5,000 miles between changes, and some even up to 10,000 miles. Check your manual to get specifics for your vehicle.

6. Do it yourself

For some people, tackling a job like rotating your tires is an easy DIY task. But for the rest of us, the least we can do is make sure the tires are at the right PSI. Keeping them properly inflated will allow them to last longer. And rather than going to the dealership or a specialty tire store when your tires need to be replaced, consider checking out deals at your local warehouse store instead.

7. Turn off the engine 

How many times have you sat outside a coffee shop, grocery store, or even a friends’ house with your car idling? Turn your car off next time! Not only will it save you money, but it’s also better for the environment. And that’s a real win/win.

That being said, it may seem like every time you turn around your car needs something. Just remember: keeping up with necessary maintenance may cost you right now, but you’ll save in the long term.

*Though we’re confident in our predictions and prices, they’re not guaranteed. Gas prices are influenced by many factors and savings will vary.

DIY hacks | Safe and smart

about Hannah

Hannah Fairbanks is a freelance writer living in San Francisco with her husband and 2 daughters. When she’s not writing, you might find her reading, packing bento box lunches for her kids, and making sure she gets in at least 10,000 Fitbit steps a day.