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Stop Spending So Much $$$ on Your Car — Try These 5 Hacks to Slash Expenses

Some fixes are actually free.


According to the AAA, the average American spends nearly $10k per year keeping their cars on the road. And that number is only going to rise; everything from gas to new tires to oil changes is starting to get pretty expensive, thanks to inflation. While most repairs are inevitable (when you need new brakes, you can’t mess around), you don’t necessarily have to pay full price every time your vehicle needs a little TLC. It’s all about knowing where to find the best deals. Here, expert savers have shared their tips with FIRST — keep reading to learn how to maintain your car without breaking the bank.

1: Get familiar with your warranty — you may get free repairs.

“Educating yourself about your car’s warranties and their expiration dates helps ensure any covered repairs are done before they run out. For example, most warranties cover the car transmission, which can cost you up to $3,000 to replace, or the axle shafts, which can run as high as $1,500 each. Having a certified mechanic check these items to see if any need replacement while under warranty — before they become an issue — can save you thousands in cash down the road.”

—Vicki Cook, co-founder of

2: Save cash on tires with pressure checks.

“When even slightly under-inflated, tires are vulnerable to blowout-causing wear and tear — and a new tire can cost you up to $300. Ensure they stay in good condition by keeping an eye on air pressure numbers. You can find the optimal numbers in your owner’s manual, and most new cars display the current numbers on the dashboard (you can also check them at any gas station). If they’re low, it only costs about $2 to fill them with air.” (Bonus tip: Some gas stations offer free tire air.)

—Eduarda dePaula, CEO of

3: Prolong battery life for pennies with a toothbrush.

“Corrosion is one of the top reasons a battery needs early replacement. But regularly cleaning it off can help it last years longer, saving you $200 or more. Simply check the battery terminals (where you’d connect jumper cables), and if you see a white, green, or blue-tinged substance, do this: Mix equal parts baking soda and water to form a paste, then use an old toothbrush to apply the paste and gently scrub off corrosion; rinse off with a spritz of water and dry thoroughly. ”

—Brandon Walsh, former engineer at GE Aviation

4: Spend less on oil with a DIY change.

“An oil change can cost $35 to $75, depending on where you have it done. Newer models require a change about every 10,000 miles, but older cars require it every 3,000 miles, which can add up. The easy way to save: Search YouTube for your car’s make and model and the words ‘oil change’ to find step-by-step videos on how to do it yourself. All it will cost you is the price of 1 to 2 quarts of oil, about $3.50 to $6 each.”

—Richard Reina, product training director for

5: Score $ at the pump by signing up for GasBuddy.

“You may already know that the GasBuddy app ( helps you find cheaper gas. But sign up for a free ‘Pay with GasBuddy’ account and you’ll make money. The debit-like card they send can be used to buy gas, as well as to shop at participating stores like The Home Depot, Old Navy, Petco, and more, earning you up to 10 percent cash back, the sum of which gets automatically deducted when you use the same card at the pump. Plus, you can unlock deals that can save you an extra 25 cents a gallon.”

—Kyle Burbank, money-saving pro at

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.

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