When I was in high school and University I had a part time job at an auto retailer. During my time there, I learned a thing or two about cars. I learned how to change my oil and oil filter, how to change my air and fuel filters, how to flush my radiator and change the coolant, how to polish and wax the paint, and how to change the globes and window blades.
One of the other things I learned was how much cheaper it is to maintain your car yourself. I only took my car to the mechanic if it needed something fixed that was safety related, such as the brakes.
After having had my first car for almost 10 years, it finally came time to sell it with 200k on the clock at the end of 2012. The car was still in good order as I had been servicing it every 5000 kilometres at a cost of about $40 for 5 litres of semi-synthetic oil and a Ryco filter.
However, I was 6 months into my first full time job out of University and figured it was time to upgrade to a newer, shinier car. But, I didn’t have the cash. So I did what all mature responsible adults with full time jobs do… I got a car loan for $15k at an interest rate of 10%.
2.5 years later our car was getting close to having 100k kilometres on the clock. So, we very logically thought that we better get rid of the car before it hits 100k km’s and starts having issues, even though it hadn’t given us one single problem in the 2.5 years we had it. So, we sold our car, paid off the remaining $8k on the loan and then took out another loan for $25k to upgrade to an almost new SUV with 7k kilometres on the clock.
Both of these cars were under warranty when we got them. So, we took them to the Ford and Jeep dealerships respectively to ensure that they were getting appropriate care. The Ford used to cost us around $220 for an “A” service and $350 for a “B” service. The Jeep costs us about $430 each service, partly because it’s a 4wd (have I mentioned I live in the City by the way?!).
We have just been paying these amounts for services as standard without asking a question. Additionally, because we were sooooo flushed with cash and all, we started taking to the car to a drive through car wash every few weeks at a cost of $15 a pop, rather than spending 40 minutes hand washing in the yard like I had done every time I washed my first car, for the whole 10 years I had it.
But, then, I had The Epiphany… And, now I can’t believe how stupid we’ve been! We have been paying almost $1k a year on car maintenance alone! And, I don’t even know where the oil filter is located on the Jeep. Heck, I didn’t even know where it was located on the Ford!
Well, fuck that! I refuse to just accept a $430 service like that is okay. From now on, I will shop around and look for coupons for servicing. And, I will figure out where the bloody hell that oil filter is. I might even change that oil filter myself.
Clearly, I was a flawed consumer. A flawed consumer who was fooled into thinking that outlaying $430 on simple maintenance twice a year was okay. But, now I am a savvy saver who is trying to achieve financial wealth the easy way. And, car maintenance, my friends, is easy!