New Year's Resolution: Save Money on Car Repair

From a brand-new sports car to an old, faithful commuter, your car can last longer and perform better with a few helpful steps. Start a New Year’s resolution today to take better care of your car. Learn how some DIY auto repair can not only protect your vehicle, but also save you money by improving fuel efficiency and avoiding major repairs. Don’t let your vehicle become a source of financial frustration this year but plan ahead and get great deals on the parts you need.

8 Ways to Take Care of Your Car in the New Year

1. Receive Consistent Oil Changes

Dirty oil can quickly wear out a number of crucial components in your vehicle. Too much oil sludge can clog your engine and require costly repairs. Carefully monitor the condition of you oil and your mileage so you can stay on top of your oil changes.

Depending on the type of oil, driving conditions and other factors, your oil change could last 3,000 miles or even longer. Check with your mechanic or local auto parts store to discuss the oil lifespan for your vehicle. Signs you need an oil change include dark, thick oil, and a low oil level. Be sure to replace your oil filter with your oil for maximum effect.

2. Monitor Your Air Filter

Your car's engine requires a precise combination of air and fuel to achieve maximum fuel efficiency and horsepower. Inefficient airflow could lower your fuel economy and create issues in high-stress engine components. Monitor your air filter and replace it as needed. You may be able to knock or blow out your air filter to remove some of the debris, but over time your vehicle needs a new filter to restore your fuel efficiency and power.

Consider investing in a quality air filter. Air filters come in a range of prices, so it can be tempting to pick the cheapest filter when you're on a budget. However, a quality filter may last twice as long as an inexpensive one. Investing just a little more in a quality filter may save you money over the filter's lifetime.

3. DIY Windshield Wiper Replacement

If you're looking for a low-cost car repairs you can do yourself, replacing your windshield wipers is a simple and efficient way to save money this year on auto repairs. Some windshield wipers have a convenient latch that requires no tools at all, while others require a screwdriver to remove and install new wipers.

Whether you're passionate about DIY car repair or simply looking for a way to save money on your next repair, this is a great place to start. New windshield wipers help you stay safe on the road and avoid any auto accidents that could be costly and dangerous.

4. DIY Headlight Bulb Replacement

Once you start doing your own auto repair, you may be surprised at how easy it is to save money in a short period of time. A slightly more complicated, but cost-effective, repair is to replace your own headlight bulbs. A missing headlight is not only dangerous, it could also lead to a ticket.

If you have sealed beam headlights, this repair project is best left to the professionals. Otherwise, simply find the bracket or screw holding your headlight in place and remove the back portion. The bulb itself should be removed easily and replaced. Always consult your owner's manual before beginning, and make sure you have the correct bulb for your make and model of vehicle.

5. Replace Your Brake Pads

Worn-out brake pads quickly lead to damaged brake calipers, rotors, and other essential brake components. Brake pads are reasonably affordable and quick to replace, but more comprehensive brake problems can be costly. While more experienced DIYers can tackle brake pad replacements, you'll still save money by letting a mechanic replace them before they create more brake issues.

If your brakes aren't responding promptly or are squealing, it's time to inspect your brake pads. Most new brake pads have wear patterns, just like your tires, that help you determine how much life is left in the pads. Any uneven wear or exposed metal under the pad means that it's time to replace your brake pads.

6. Change Your Car Battery

How old is your car battery? Some car batteries only have a one-year warranty, while others can last as long as 5 years or more. Typically, three to five years is a good lifetime for a battery. As your battery ages, it decreases in efficiency. Over time, it could become compromised and begin to leak dangerous battery acid or fail altogether and leave you stranded.

A great way to avoid a costly towing service is to monitor your car battery and replace it when it shows signs of wear. Corrosion around the terminals, any visible cracks or difficulties starting your engine could all be caused by a worn-out battery.

If they can, AutoZone associates will happily replace your battery and install a new one for you. If you wish to tackle this project on your own, you'll need some safety equipment, basic hand tools and a proper way to dispose of your car battery.

7. Invest in Quality Parts

Perhaps the best way to save money on auto repairs this year is to invest in quality parts. From brake pads to headlights, quality parts tend to last longer. When you purchase name-brand parts and premium alternatives to stock parts, you can expect these benefits:

  • Improved functionality
  • Longer warranties
  • More reliable performance

Ask an associate at an AutoZone near you how you can invest in quality parts on your next repair project. Fuel filters, car batteries, oil, and tires are all common car parts that come in a wide range of warranties and lifespans. By paying slightly more, you can enjoy warranties twice as long as what you would get with the budget option.

8. Sign Up for a Rewards Program

Your car is an investment. You know you'll need to purchase auto parts from time to time to keep your vehicle running smoothly, so sign up for the AutoZone rewards program today to start saving money. You'll gain access to free services, personalized coupons, and start earning credits toward cash back on your AutoZone purchases.

Advice, how-to guides, and car care information featured on and AutoZone Advice & How-To’s are presented as helpful resources for general maintenance and automotive repairs from a general perspective only and should be used at your own risk. Information is accurate and true to the best of AutoZone’s knowledge, however, there may be omissions, errors or mistakes.

Be sure to consult your owner’s manual, a repair guide, an AutoZoner at a store near you, or a licensed, professional mechanic for vehicle-specific repair information. Refer to the service manual for specific diagnostic, repair and tool information for your particular vehicle. Always chock your wheels prior to lifting a vehicle. Always disconnect the negative battery cable before servicing an electrical application on the vehicle to protect its electrical circuits in the event that a wire is accidentally pierced or grounded. Use caution when working with automotive batteries. Sulfuric acid is caustic and can burn clothing and skin or cause blindness. Always wear gloves and safety glasses and other personal protection equipment, and work in a well-ventilated area. Should electrolyte get on your body or clothing, neutralize it immediately with a solution of baking soda and water. Do not wear ties or loose clothing when working on your vehicle.

FREE Loan-A-Tool® program requires returnable deposit. Please note that the tool that you receive after placing an online order may be in a used but operable condition due to the nature of the Loan-A-Tool® program.

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