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Five Skills to Save You $$$: Auto Mechanic Skills

Is there anyone more infamous than the shady car mechanic? You know the stereotypical story, you bring your car in for an oil change and by the time you walk out, you have been convinced that your car “needed” thousands of dollars in repairs to issues you never knew existed. Unfortunately for us, this stereotype is founded in reality. Yet, while there are many mechanics out there merely looking for ways to take your money, even the most honest mechanics can cost a ton. What’s even more startling is to look at your mechanic’s bill. You’ll notice that even though parts only cost $25, you were charged $300 for the mechanic to do the labor to install that part. That is where they get you, in the cost of labor.

Now, I’m not disputing that mechanics should be paid for their time and expertise, quite the contrary, I believe that they perform an important service to our society, I’m just saying that if you, as the savvy consumer, can learn some basic mechanic skills, you can get away with not having to pay $50 for someone to install your $10 air filter.

Here are the mechanic skills you should focus on to save money and keep your car running in tip top condition:

Learn to change your oil. Years ago, before the advent of Jiffy Lube and the 20-minute oil change, people used to change their own oil in their own driveways. Ask your grandparents about this, I’m sure they’ll remember. So what’s changed? Why have people stopped changing their own oil? Well, there are lots of answers to that question but one main reason is people don’t know how to anymore. As cars have become more complicated, people have stopped trying to do their own maintenance and repairs. And while this makes sense if you are faced with the task of changing out the car’s computer system, the basics of an oil change have remained the same for many years. Learn how to change the oil and oil filter. Doing so can save you big money. That fully synthetic oil you pay a mechanic $60-$80 for can be replaced for $20 if you do it yourself.

Learn to rotate your tires. Yes, its easier to get someone else to do it for you, but come on people, you just take off one tire and put it on somewhere else. Make sure you know the pattern for how to properly rotate your tires and you’ll be good to go.

Learn to check your car’s fluids and to top them off. Learn to check the levels of your oil, coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid, wiper fluid, etc. There is no reason to pay someone to tell you that you don’t need to add more fluid.

Learn to replace your car battery. This can be a pain in the butt (have you felt how heavy car batteries are?) but it is completely doable for a novice.

Learn to replace your wiper blades. This is super easy and should never be something you pay for.

Learn to replace your car’s air filter. Again, super easy and not worth the $50 they’ll charge you to do it.

If you’re feeling adventurous, learn to replace your brakes. This is for the more advanced mechanic, but replacing your own brakes will save you tons of money when the time comes. Just make sure you do it correctly. Brakes are an important feature when it comes to stopping your car.

Learn these basic skills and you’ll only pay a mechanic for something that takes true expertise, not the basic routine stuff you could be saving money on. What other mechanic skills have saved you money? Sound off below.

Article publié pour la première fois le 13/04/2013