Dave Ramsey

Dave Ramsey Shares 13 Car Maintenance Tips to Save You Money

Maintaining your car is not only essential for its longevity and performance but also crucial for your financial well-being. From preventing costly breakdowns to ensuring your safety on the road, regular car maintenance plays a significant role in saving you money in the long run.

Renowned financial expert Dave Ramsey understands the importance of proactive car care and offers valuable insights into the top maintenance tasks every car owner should prioritize.

Let’s explore 13 car maintenance tips from Dave Ramsey designed to help you save money and maintain your vehicle’s reliability and safety.

1. Check your spare tire

Spare tire
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Regularly inspect your spare tire to ensure it’s properly inflated and in good condition. Use a tire pressure gauge to check the air pressure, and inflate it to the recommended PSI if necessary. Additionally, inspect the tire for any signs of damage, such as cuts, bulges, or dry rot. It’s also a good idea to periodically rotate your spare tire with your regular tires to prevent uneven wear.

2. Change the oil

pouring car oil
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Follow your car manufacturer’s recommendations for oil change intervals, typically every 5,000 miles or as specified in your owner’s manual. To change the oil, you’ll need to drain the old oil, replace the oil filter, and refill the engine with fresh oil of the appropriate viscosity and grade. Be sure to properly dispose of the old oil and filter according to local regulations.

3. Keep the battery clean

Car battery
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Inspect your car battery regularly for signs of corrosion on the terminals. If you notice any buildup, use a wire brush and a mixture of baking soda and water to clean the terminals thoroughly. After cleaning, apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly to the terminals to prevent future corrosion. Additionally, check the battery’s fluid level if applicable, and top it off with distilled water if necessary.

4. Replace the brake pads

cropped view of mechanic holding brake pad near assembled disc brakes
Image Credit: LightField Studios/Shutterstock.

Monitor your brake pads for signs of wear, such as squeaking or grinding noises when braking or reduced braking performance. To replace the brake pads, you’ll need to lift the car, remove the wheels, and access the brake calipers. Remove the old brake pads, install new ones of the correct size and type, and reassemble the brake components. Be sure to properly bed in the new brake pads according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

5. Replace your cabin air filter

Car air filter with new and old placed on car chassis in engine room of a car
Image Credit: BLKstudio/Shutterstock.

Locate the cabin air filter housing, typically located behind the glove box or under the dashboard on the passenger side. Remove the old cabin air filter and replace it with a new one of the same size and type. Be sure to install the new filter with the correct orientation, following any arrows or markings on the filter housing.

6. Get new windshield wipers

Man is changing windscreen wipers on a car ,picture vintage style
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Inspect your windshield wipers for signs of wear, such as cracks, tears, or streaking. To replace the wiper blades, lift the wiper arm away from the windshield and depress the release tab on the wiper blade. Slide the old blade off the wiper arm and install the new blade in its place. Be sure to test the new wipers to ensure proper fit and operation.

7. Get your tires rotated

Rotate tires
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Schedule regular tire rotations every 3,000 to 5,000 miles or as recommended by your car manufacturer. To rotate your tires, lift the car using a jack and properly support it with jack stands. Remove each wheel and tire assembly and reinstall them in a different position on the car. This helps promote even tire wear and extends the life of your tires.

8. Check the shocks, springs, and struts

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Inspect your car’s suspension components for signs of wear or damage, such as leaking fluid, excessive bouncing, or uneven tire wear. Replace worn or damaged shocks, springs, or struts as needed to maintain a smooth and comfortable ride. It’s also a good idea to have your suspension system inspected by a qualified mechanic during routine maintenance appointments.

9. Check your coolant

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Monitor your car’s coolant level and condition regularly to prevent overheating and engine damage. Check the coolant reservoir or radiator when the engine is cool and top off the coolant level as needed with a mixture of coolant and distilled water. If the coolant is discolored or contaminated, flush and replace it according to your car manufacturer’s recommendations.

10. Check your spark plugs

Spark Plug
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Inspect your spark plugs for signs of wear or fouling, such as carbon buildup or worn electrodes. Remove the spark plugs using a spark plug socket and inspect them closely. Replace any worn or damaged spark plugs with new ones of the correct type and gap. Be sure to properly torque the spark plugs to the manufacturer’s specifications when reinstalling them.

11. Inspect your belts and hoses

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Check your car’s belts and hoses for signs of wear, such as cracks, fraying, or soft spots. Replace any worn or damaged belts and hoses to prevent engine damage and breakdowns. Be sure to inspect the timing belt, serpentine belt, and radiator hoses regularly and replace them according to your car manufacturer’s recommendations.

12. Check your lights

check engine light
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Test your car’s headlights, turn signals, brake lights, and parking lights regularly to ensure they’re functioning properly. Have a friend help you by observing each light as you activate it from inside the car. Replace any burned-out bulbs or malfunctioning lights immediately to maintain visibility and safety on the road.

13. Do the emissions inspection

Professional Automotive Engineer in Glasses with a Computer and Inspection Tools is Testing an Used Electric Engine in a High Tech Laboratory with a Concept Car Chassis.
Image Credit: Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock.

Schedule an annual emissions inspection as required by your state or local regulations. Ensure your car is in good working condition and has no check engine lights or emissions-related issues before the inspection. If your car fails the inspection, address any necessary repairs promptly to ensure compliance and avoid fines or penalties.

Author: Madison Cates

Title: Managing Editor


Research journalist, Freelance writer, Managing editor

  • Expertise: automotive content, trending topics.
  • Education: LeTourneau University, Bachelors of Science in Business Administration.
  • Over 400 articles and short news pieces published across the web.

Experience: Madison Cates is a journalist located in the great state of Texas. She began writing over eight years ago. Her first major research piece was published by the Journal of Business and Economics in 2018. After growing up in a household of eight brothers and a dad who was always restoring old Camaros, she naturally pivoted her freelance career into the automotive industry. There, she found her passion. Her experience paved the way for her to work with multiple large corporations in automotive news and trending topics. Now, she now finds her home at Wealth of Geeks where she proudly serves as Managing Editor of Autos. Madison is always down to geek out over the latest beautiful cars on the market, and she enjoys providing her readers with tips to make car ownership easier and more enjoyable.

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