Hopefully by now you've had a chance to recover from holiday spending and maybe you're expecting a refund. Even so, money is money and it's always good to have more. Plus, I feel like us men are "expected" to know how to do stuff, but honestly I'm not a mechanic ... and I know a lot of you guys aren't either. Don't worry though, while installing a supercharger or replacing an exhaust pipe might be beyond most of us, there are things we can do our selves that will help save money compared to sending the car to the garage to get it fixed.
The challenge is that unless you know what you are doing already, it's tough to get started. During a visit to AutoZone recently, I was totally impressed by how welcoming their staff was and how approachable the store was as well. Sure, most of the people going there were gear heads, but along with a 20 year-old driving a customized car with the chrome rims and chain-link steering wheel was a guy who was buying washer fluid for his BMW. While you can always go to a big-box store's "auto section" the biggest difference for me was when I had a question the person behind the counter was knowledgeable and knew exactly what I needed.
Tax time is a great time to consider DIY stuff for your car since for some of you (like myself), we're paying extra money to the IRS and looking for ways to save money. For others of you, it's like hitting the lottery and you can spend some of that rebate money pimping your ride or even just making some long overdue repairs.
We'll be sharing more about my experience at AutoZone coming up, but here's a few ways that you can save money right now with DIY car care.
Change Your Own Oil
While there are some tools and supplies you are going to need to get before you start, you'll quickly be able to recover those costs. The real benefit here though is that by visiting AutoZone and getting to know more about what actually will be replacing the used oil, you're going to get a better understanding of you car and an opportunity to chose better options than what would be otherwise provided by the dealership or a quick-change lube location.
AutoZone even has oil recycling barrels for you to use after the oil change is done.
How to Know When to Replace Your Battery
Until today, I didn't even realize you could bring your battery to AutoZone to get it tested before replacing it completely. The helpful folks at AutoZone are able to test the entire starting and charging system to help determine what the issue and if all you need is a charge, they can do that while you shop!
How to Choose and Replace a Headlight Bulb
Did you know that your headlight bulbs can actually lose up to 20% of their brightness in 2-3 years of use? If you've ever thought that they were a bit dimmer, you might be right - they don't always just burn out. While taking it to the dealer might be the solution in the manual, it can be expensive and the replacement might be dictated by the manufacturer. There area wide variety of options for you though and now you have the flexibility to pick what's more important to you - Life (how long it lasts), Brightness (how bright it is), or Whiteness (the color / hue of the beam).
How to Wash Your Car The Right Way
Sure, you can send the car through the washer at the gas station and that's OK - but you can save money, keep your car looking great, and even help extend the life by washing the car on your own. For instance - ever noticed how after you go through a car wash it sometimes has those beads of water? Yeah, they look cool and I've always thought that was a sign that the wax was working ... but especially when it's sunny those beads of water can act like a magnifying glass and actually cause permanent damage to the car's paint. (OUCH!)
Don't forget though - it's not all about just saving money and cars should be about having fun. So - while you are there, don't forget to pick up something fun too!