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5 DIY car maintenance tasks to save money

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Photo of a woman fixing her car

Regardless of the car you drive, sooner or later it will need maintenance. But there’s good news: You can do some of that maintenance at home with the help of your owners’ manual AND without having to pay a mechanic! You just need an afternoon and the parts. So, get ready to roll up your sleeves and save yourself some money (could be a few hundred dollars a year!) that you can put to other uses with these 5 DIY car maintenance tasks.

1. Replace the fuel filter

Estimated time: 5 – 10 minutes
Estimated cost: Around $14 to $60
When to do it: About every 10,000 miles, depending on the car you drive. Check your owner’s manual.

A clean fuel filter can help your car run better, with more power and more miles per gallon, so you won’t have to fill up the tank as much.Don’t know where your owner’s manual is? Just Google search your car make, model and year with “+ owner’s manual”. Most car manufacturers post manuals online!

Need extra help? Search YouTube videos for car maintenance tutorials!

2. Replace the air filter

Estimated time: 15 minutes
Estimated cost: $10
When to do it: Approximately once a year or every 12,000 miles, check your owner’s manual

A clean air filter helps keep your car’s engine clean to help it run better and save you money on expensive maintenance. And like the fuel filter, it also helps you save on gas!

3. Check tire pressure

Estimated time: 5 minutes
Estimated cost: $0
When to do it: Once a month

Having the proper tire pressure can help your car drive more efficiently and therefore save you money on gas expenses. The maximum pounds per square inch (PSI) is printed on each tire, but check the car manufacturer’s recommended PSI since it is often lower than the maximum.

4. Change the windshield wipers

Estimated time: 5 – 10 minutes
Estimated cost: From $7-$20 each
When to do it: At the beginning of rainy season, or as needed

A good set of working wipers are important to keep you and your family safe from blurry road conditions. With new wiper blades in place, you should be able to have a clear view of the road ahead, and when you do it yourself, you’re saving a bundle on labor!

5. Oil change

Estimated time: 30 – 60 minutes
Estimated cost: $20
When to do it: Every three months, or 3,000 – 5,000 miles for many cars. Check your owner’s manual.

Removing the old oil from your car’s engine and replacing it with new, fresh oil can improve your engine’s performance, improve gas mileage, and make your vehicle last longer.

There you have it! In one afternoon, you can help keep your car in shape, save on going to the mechanic, and put that money you saved toward your kids’ school supplies, the next family trip or your future home!


The information in this site, including any third-party content and opinions, is for educational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal, tax, or financial advice or to indicate the availability or suitability of any Oportun product or service to your unique circumstances. Contact your independent financial advisor for advice on your personal situation.

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