Cutting corners on car maintenance could cost you more

NOW: Cutting corners on car maintenance could cost you more

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The pain at the pump may have you wanting to cut corners on car maintenance, but doing so could hurt your wallet even more. We see gas prices everyday as a reminder that the price of oil is at an all-time high, but it’s also impacting the price of oil in your car. Auto techs want you to know that despite higher costs, this is not the time to pinch pennies.

The price of an oil change for a 2012 Buick Enclave—one of the vehicles in the shop-- would cost nearly 40 dollars this time last year. Now, it’ll cost 60 dollars.

Cameron Yoder, a service technician at Morris Auto Service in Elkhart has been in the auto repair industry for about twenty years, he says for newer vehicles oil is key to making the engine operate properly.

Yoder says your oil needs to be full and clean to help you save money because fuel efficiency is directly related to proper oil in a vehicle.

“So, oil is obviously a big concern,” said Yoder. “A lot of the conjecture is if it’s a little older they want to run a little heavier grade oil, they think that it helps. It actually hurts it more than it helps.”

Before you think of swapping out a full synthetic oil change for the cheaper standard oil change keep in mind your car’s warranty and lifespan.

“If you’re dealing with warranty, if there was any problem with the car and you are not using the correct, that could adversely affect your warranty issue,” said Yoder. “Putting that oil in where it’s not recommended, you are degrading the life of the car. It’ll still lubricate, it just doesn’t do as good a job, so you’re cutting life from your car.”

And at the gas pump, you may think it’ll save you money by only filling up a bit at a time, but if you’re going to do this, Yoder says it can reduce your vehicle’s fuel pump’s life expectancy if the tank is near empty for long periods of time.

“A smarter way—especially when gas prices are high-- is to fill the tank up when you possibly can and only let it go down to half a tank and refilling it from there.”

With the national average of a gallon of gas at more than five dollars, we’re all looking for ways to save. Yoder shared some tips on how you can spend less on your travels this summer.

Yoder says small things can make a big difference over time. One way is to keep tires inflated at or slightly above the proper PSI. It creates less rolling resistance and more fuel savings. You can save money by driving during a hot day rather than a cooler day or at night because a hotter engine burns more efficiently. While it may sound counterintuitive, Yoder says the more expensive fuel may save you more money on the long run.

“So around town driving wouldn’t be as advantageous because in-town driving, you’re on and off the throttle all the time, so running different grades of fuel wouldn’t have as big of an effect as taking road trips,” said Yoder. “And road trips, let’s face it- that’s really where the fuel hurts. So, running on premium fuel—definitely a better idea.”

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