NEW YORK (MainStreet) — With spring blooming across most of the country, a traveler's thoughts turn to the open road — and to take a nice ride getting there.
But slow your roll, car lovers. Before you hit the gas pedal in earnest, make sure you offer your vehicle some tender loving care this spring. The good news is that the cost of maintaining a vehicle is stable or in decline, even as fuel prices stay low.
According to AAA, gas and oil costs were down by 10% from 2013 to last year, and should continue to fall in 2015. Maintenance costs, were up 2% in 2014, while tire costs (both purchase and maintenance) were down 1% last year. While industry analysts expect the business of providing maintenance to remain lucrative as drivers hold onto their cars longer, look what experts at Automotive Fleet say about maintaining even huge numbers of vehicles this year:
We expect [preventative maintenance] pricing to either remain flat or decrease somewhat. Continued stability related to the cost of oil, along with increasing drain intervals and increasing acceptance of synthetics should have a favorable impact on PM costs. Additionally, more [original equipment manufacturers] are offering free services, which will lower perceived costs in this area.
To squeeze the most savings from your auto maintenance budget without sacrificing the quality and care your vehicle needs, it helps to blend the basics with the creative, auto experts say.
Take the wear and tear from winter weather on your vehicle. "I detailed cars professionally for about four years when I was younger, and noticed that most people overlook the paint after a long winter of salt and gravel," says Bryan Marsden, a blogger with the personal finance site FatWallet.com and an auto aficionado. "You should always check to see how harsh the winter was on your car. If needed, rent a high-speed buffer and use a mild to light polish to get any particles and scratches out of the clear coat and paint."