Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He also has an MBA from the University of South Florid...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Sep 13, 2020

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Having a car can be expensive at times, especially when you have something major to fix.

That is why maintaining your vehicle properly is critical to keep it running at its best for years.

Cars are actually a delicate piece of machinery despite their hard and sturdy exterior and what they can do.

When it comes to your car each and every part inside of it is critical for it to work properly.

Each part makes another part work and you need each part working properly so you can rely on your vehicle to get you where you need to go whenever you need to go.

Keeping the parts running also comes with having the proper fluids that are need for parts to work properly.

If you do not maintain your vehicle properly you will pay in the end and the price may be way out of your budget.

Average Cost of Repairs by State to Keep Your Vehicle on the Road

Below is a table of the average cost of basic repairs your vehicle will need by state.

Also included is the average cost of an auto policy and the price per gasoline per year.

Alaska $341$1,077$730
Arizona $362$963$888
Arkansas $361$813$1,055
California $390$906$940
Connecticut $385$1,058$929
Delaware $314$1,110$967
Florida $377$1,124$1,015
Georgia $385$927$1,096
Hawaii $370$906$869
Idaho $349$664$988
Indiana $329$709$1,162
Iowa $315$630$998
Kansas $352$764$991
Louisiana $354$1,277$924
Maine $328$682$1,109
Maryland $388$1,030$951
Massachusetts $358$984$827
Michigan $317$1,064$994
Minnesota $346$782$1,033
Mississippi $356$901$1,231
Missouri $353$780$1,099
Nebraska $347$709$1,025
Nevada $364$1,078$771
New Hampshire $328$767$975
New Jersey $393$1,244$783
New Mexico $345$895$1,131
New York $365$1,196$713
North Carolina $390$708$1,032
North Dakota $344$662$1,207
Ohio $328$698$947
Oklahoma $338$839$1,175
Oregon $380$807$893
Rhode Island $371$1,142$800
South Carolina $368$860$958
South Dakota $312$654$1,056
Tennessee $353$762$1,021
Texas $364$1,001$860
Utah $371$810$918
Vermont $270$730$1,178
Virginia $382$758$964
Washington $375$910$866
West Virginia $310$975$1,033
Wisconsin $329$658$1,031
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There are five easy things to do to your vehicle that will extend the life of your car.

Regular Oil Changes to Save Long Term Wear on Engine & Components

The first thing you need to do to properly care for your vehicle is to get that oil changed. You should get your oil changed every three thousand miles you travel.

Minimum and Maximum lines on oil dipstick

Note: As illustrated, when you check your oil dipstick there is a maximum and minimum mark. Be sure to keep the oil levels between the minimum and maximum mark. Older used vehicles may need to be checked more often than newer vehicles.

Also keep an eye on your oil to make sure your vehicle has the proper amount at all times. Proper amount of oil and clean oil is key to an efficiently running engine.

If you do not have enough oil it will cause friction in your engine and could possibly blow the engine up, and that is a cost not many can budget for.

Synthetic vs Conventional Oil Cost & Savings

If you thinking about the using synthetic oil instead of conventional oil below is a table of the cost savings when using synthetic and synthetic blend over conventional oil.

Type of Oil Cost of Oil ChangeRecommend Mileage Between Oil ChangesCost per MileChanges per 100,000 MilesCost Savings per Oil Change Over ConventionalGallons of Oil Saved per Change
Synthetic Blend$325,000$.006420$5.000.6
Pure Synthetic$457,500$.006013$7.001.5
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Oil changes are way cheaper than a new engine. Dirty oil is not good for your engine either and will also cause a lot of damage that can be a pricey fix.

Tires in Rotation & Help Them to Last Longer

The next tip I have for proper maintenance is to rotate those tires regularly. Tires should be rotated every few months.

The tires on your car needs to have an even wear and tear on them and depending on your vehicle depends on which ones get more wear and tear then others.

Tire rotation for front wheel, rear wheel, and 4-wheel drive vehicles.

Image Credit: Tirebuyer.com

Note: All tires wear differently. There are other factors to consider such as type of road and how long per drive. Therefore it is really difficult to determine how much longer your tires will last when rotating them.

Tire rotation is one of the maintenance items which are not normally done as recommended. Most manufacturers recommend rotating the tires approximately every 7,500 miles or so. For the average driver it would be about every 6 months.

Some cars the front tires will wear easier and others the back ones will lose tread faster.

Keeping your tire tread even will help your car run on the road better and save on gas money.

Clean Air Filters

Tip number three is another relatively simple but crucial part of maintenance.

Check those air filters. The air filtration of your vehicle makes sure the whole vehicle and all its parts are running in its best condition.

Replacing a vehicle air filter for maintenance.

Note: It is easy to change the air filter. It is located within the air filter box and normally held together with clips. Once opened all you have to do it take out the old one and replace it with a new filter.

If you have a dirty air filter is can cause a lot of damage in the engine. Your air filter also helps with the efficiency of your fuel use and the life of your oil in your engine.

Changing your air filters are another part of maintenance that is cheap and easy but can cause a lot of costly damage if not done.

There again an air filter is cheaper then fixing the damage a dirty one can cause.

Replacing a cabin air filter in a Honda CR-V.

Note: While replacing the vehicle air filter you can replace the “cabin” air filter too. Most of them are behind the glove box. This image is of a Honda CR-V. Lower the glove box and you can replace the filter.

Be Careful What You Tow

The next tip is just simple common sense.

Do not tow anything that is bigger then what your vehicle is made to tow.

Towing more weight than your vehicle can handle is not only hard on the mechanics under the hood working overtime but can cause a lot of damage when it comes to colliding into each other or other things.

Towing capacity of popular Honda vehicles.

Note: It is important you check your vehicle’s towing capacity. As illustrated, each vehicle have a towing capacity such a 1,000 lbs for a Honda Accord.

Heavier vehicles normally have a higher towing capacity. It is important that you do not go over the towing capacity if you ever have to tow a vehicle.

If the load is too heavy you cannot expect to have proper control of it.

Towing instructions for all make and model vehicles is at Zips.com.

Proper Fluids for Maintenance & Safety

Last but not least, make sure your vehicle has all the proper fluids to run right.

All the fluids your vehicle has are there for a reason and need all to run accordingly, even the window washing fluid.

Proper levels of fluid and clean fluids are very important for all mechanics of a vehicle to run properly.

There again fluids are cheaper then fixing the damage that can be caused by not having proper fluid levels or dirty fluids.

Checking Fluid Levels in Your Vehicle

Below is a table of main fluids to check in your vehicle which takes less than ten minutes to do.

Vehicle FluidWhat to Look For
CoolantLook for the clear overflow plastic container near the radiator. If the liquid is below the minimum line, fill with a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze.
Power steering fluidThe small tank is located near the firewall, at the windshield’s base. Level should be between the minimum and maximum levels.
Brake fluidUsually in a clear reservoir marked with minimum and maximum lines. Fill if it’s low, but then have the system checked: there could be a leak or the brake pads may be wearing.
Engine oilRemove and wipe clean the dipstick, then insert it for a clean read. The dipstick should have a normal range indicated. If the oil is low, add more following recommendations in your owner’s manual. Be careful not to over-fill. Make sure to change the oil as per the schedule in your car’s owner’s manual.
Windshield washer fluidEasy to find. It’s important to keep your windshield clean, esp. when it is raining.
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