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A new automobile, for most people, is their second largest investment (next to a home).  A great way to save money and increase financial assets is to hang on to that vehicle, rather than purchase a new one every few years.  With proper maintenance, it’s very common and inexpensive to get 150,000 miles from a vehicle, if not more.

The Car Care Council estimates that $60 billion in vehicle maintenance or repair is not performed every year.  This is evidence that there is considerably more that consumers can be doing to protect the investment they made on their automobile.

“Whether it’s an oil change, replacing brakes or new belts and hoses, that periodic repair bill is a drop in the bucket compared to monthly payments on a car,” said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council.  “The bottom line is that a properly maintained vehicle is safe, more dependable, more fuel efficient, less polluting and more valuable.”

Figures from Runzheimer International, a management-consulting firm that measures travel and living costs, confirms the Car Care Council’s claims.  Recent figures from a Runzheimer study show that trading a vehicle every  eight years,  as opposed    to    every    four,     can     save more than $2450 per year.  That includes repairs, maintenance, license, registration, taxes, and insurance.

Here is a list of tasks that can keep you on the road and save you money in the long term.

–Repair all issues as soon as they occur; never let anything go!
–Wash the car once every other week and/or as often as it snows.
–Don’t wait for things to break before you address them!  Preventative maintenance is much less expensive than repairing and replacing parts.
–Check all your own fluids under the hood whenever you get gasoline!
–Keep gas tank over ½ full at all times!
–Avoid smoking in the car. If you must, use a sealed container for the ashes and butts so the vehicle will not reek of smoke.
–Change filters and   fluids   frequently.
–Pay    it   off   as   soon    as   you   can!
Before you start shopping for that next new car, think about how much money you can save by sticking it out a few more years with your current vehicle.  Who wants to be making car payments the rest of their lives?