Routine maintenance savings
- Do it yourself if you know how. You may, need to reset service light on some cars. You can buy OEM filters in bulk online such as Honda filters
- Coupons: May be a better option as synthetic oil is not cheap on most cars. My dealer sends me coupons to change the filter, oil and rotate the tires for $25. It’s hard to beat this price for the oil and filter alone. Wait until coupon comes and save up.
- Make sure to do the oil changes at the predetermined intervals. A series of oil changes is far cheaper than a new engine.
Other work you can do yourself
- Air filters: Don’t skimp here especially if you have a Japanese brand car. Buy OEM filters at dealer or online
- Cabin air filters: the same, easy to pop out glove box and put in most cars, see You Tube. You can buy these on Ebay or Amazon for OEM ones.
- Wipers/blades: If your car uses inserts just buy the rubber inserts instead of the whole blade ($7 versus $25/set). You can buy the OEM ones at the dealer or online. If you plan to keep the car for a while buy a whole bunch. The OEM blades will be better than the aftermarket blades anyways.
Buying Tires: It pays to shop around
Buying new tires is tricky business. The reason I say this is model numbers are often not comparable across stores, kind of like on mattresses. This makes it hard to comparison shop and is intentional.
Read reviews online and in places like Consumer Reports to see what real people think of them. These are often accurate. I used to think Goodyear was good until I had a pair come on my Honda and sure enough other reviewers online also panned the same tire model as mine. They were “just ok” at best.
Costco: Wait for the specials, then order tires online and ship to store, they will install there if you are member. The deals are quite good but you have to be patient. I saved $90 off a set of Michelin Premier tires but had to wait a month until the offer I wanted came up.
Tire Rack Online: Ship to store or ship to installer
Discount Tire Online: Ship to store or ship to installer
Tires stores usually not the best deal but look anyways as a way to price shop
Buy reputable brand tires, not no name brands.
Realize tire warranty is very hard to claim. Who cares if the tires have a 60K mile warranty?! If they go out at 40K miles they will prorate you for the unused life usually on a new set of their same crap brand tires. Such warranties are also meaningless as you need a new tire right now when one goes out not when the warranty claim has been processed months later. I had this happen on I 90 where I blew a sidewall on a Dunlop Sport tire and had to ride on an ancient, bouncy spare the rest of the way for three more hours to NY. The next day I needed to buy a new tire not wait weeks. Plus usually they want you to buy a pair too not just one for even wear. So I had to buy two new tires for the front for $240, and took the other semi used tire and put it on my old spare for the next flat (which happened via nail two years later). With some AWD cars like Subaru you may have to replace all four tires at once. Don’t cheap out! It will cost you in the long run.