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5 Ways to Put the Brakes on Expensive Auto Maintenance

Whether you’re hitting the open road this summer or looking to maximize the life of your vehicle, here are five ways to keep your car and wallet running smoothly.

Comparison shop: Finding a local garage or car repair shop you can count on is about as important as finding a doctor you can trust.

Do your research and find a mechanic that you are comfortable with, fits your lifestyle (i.e. open late or weekends), and understands the make and model of your car.

Do-It-Yourself: Before you head to the mechanic, check the owner’s manual. Many services, such as oil changes and replacing the air filter and lights, can be done at home.

Practice preventative maintenance: Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” While Franklin obviously wasn’t talking about auto care, his advice is sound.

Don’t skip services like oil changes, tire rotation, and checking tire pressure.

Budget and bargains: According to 2013 Mint data, people spend $167 per year maintaining their vehicles.

Budget ahead for maintenance costs and gas prices now to avoid surprises in the future.

You can often find discounts or loyalty rewards through deal sites like Groupon or Living Social, auto shops, insurance companies or local newspapers.