A car is one of the largest purchases that most people make. After your home, your car is likely to be the most expensive thing you buy. Unfortunately, you are also likely to replace it more times than you are likely to replace your home. Over your lifetime, it's possible that the cars you buy can add up to the cost of a home.

The best way to get the most out of your purchase, and not need to replace it as often, is to keep your car properly maintained. A car that is properly maintained will have fewer problems overall, and cost less in the long run. Your car will last longer, and need fewer expensive repairs. That can save you money over time, especially if car longevity gives you the chance to save up for your next car so that you aren't stuck buying with a loan and paying interest.

Follow Manufacturer Suggestions

The first thing to do is read your owner's manual and keep up with the manufacturer suggestions for regular maintenance. Whether it's using the recommended grade of petrol for the engine, or having the transmission flushed every so often, following manufacturer suggestions can help you keep your car running properly much longer. Plus, regular maintenance can help ensure that your warranty remains in effect. That can save you money when repairs are needed. Start out with manufacturer suggestions, and maintain your car from there.

Other Ways to Properly Maintain Your Car

One of the best ways to keep your car up to date in terms of maintenance is to change your oil every 5,000 kilometres or 3 months, unless your owner’s manual says otherwise. The manual will also say what grade of oil your car needs. The oil filter should also be replaced at the same time. You don't need to go overboard with fancier oil than what is recommended, unless you live in conditions that require it. If your owner's manual offers an option for synthetic oil, consider that as well.

Check your air filter every 3 months as well. Replace the filter if it’s clogged with dirt and dust. If you plan to own your vehicle for 3 years or more, you might be better off with a reusable air filter from companies like K&N. Not only do these filters increase airflow, but when they get dirty you can simply wash it out and put it back in. Learning how to do some of these simple tasks on your own can also have the added benefit of saving you money, since you won't have to pay someone else to do it.

Make sure your vehicle’s coolant/antifreeze is filled up to the level. Check hoses for signs of leaks or any wear. Having your cooling system properly maintained is essential to prevent overheating which can destroy your engine. Depending on where you go for oil changes, you might be able to have this service performed for you during an oil change. Some dealers also offer free oil changes and fluid checks for life. Understand what is included in such services so that you know what you are entitled to.

To help your tires last longer and increase your fuel efficiency, have them rotated every 15,000 kilometres. This ensures even wear all over the tires so that they last longer, on top of providing you with help improving gas mileage. If you have a set of winter tires, you could just simply rotate your tires when changing them. Also, check the tire pressure once a month and fill them with air as needed. Properly inflated tires is better for the running of your car, your gas mileage and the longevity of your tires. You'll save more money in the long run when you take care of your tires.

Keep your car clean. You might be surprised to discover that keeping your car clean can be an essential part of maintenance. Wash the outside regularly, as well as cleaning the inside. Don't forget to occasionally take your car to a wash that can provide an undercarriage blast to remove some of the debris and build up that can accumulate underneath your car.

While you may not be comfortable doing all of this maintenance yourself, certainly make sure you take your car in for its regularly scheduled maintenance. Stick with a mechanic that you trust and they will make sure that your vehicle stays in top condition.

A car that is properly maintained will have fewer problems and cost less in the long run. Your car will last longer, and need fewer expensive repairs.

About Tom Drake

Tom Drake is the owner and head writer of the award-winning MapleMoney. With a career as a Financial Analyst and over eight years writing about personal finance, Tom has the knowledge to help you get control of your money and make it work for you.