NEW YORK (MainStreet) — There's more to the cost of a car than just your monthly payment plus insurance. Oil changes alone can add up to an extra $500 per year, but they're something basically anyone with just a few simple tools can do themselves. No matter what your cost is, basic auto maintenance and repair is something you don't need to spend extra money on. Why pay someone else to do it when you could easily take care of it yourself. All the money you're spending on keeping your car up is money you can invest in your retirement, put aside for a family vacation or just save for a rainy day.
"You don't need a single tool to check tire pressure," says Karl Brauer of Kelly Blue Book. "All you need are opposable thumbs. It's a very low effort, high return form of maintenance." What's more, checking your tire pressure won't just save you money when it comes to the cost of having someone else check it for you. Checking your own tire pressure will save you money every time you drive your car in the form of increased fuel efficiency.
Another thing you can do without even a tool set is check your fluid levels. "You just need hands and how to do it properly," says Brauer. Some fluid levels, such as coolant, shouldn't be done when the car is warm, while others, such as transmission fluid, should be done after the car is heated up. The "trick" is only knowing how to check fluids the safe way.