Keeping your car in shape is important to keeping your repair bills low. The best auto repair specialists will tell you preventive maintenance is the best way to save money on auto repair. Simply by being conscious of the following eight minor auto repairs, you will prevent expensive repairs.

  1. Keep the Oxygen Sensor Condition Updated
    Your car’s oxygen intake is monitored by an oxygen sensor. It can monitor your gas mix and can adjust the mixture to be more fuel efficient. The top reason for why your “check engine” light turns on relates to fuel efficiency. When this oxygen sensor malfunctions, it can result in power loss and slow acceleration. The cost of replacing the oxygen sensor is about $250 and failing to keep this device up to date can mean losing up to 40% on gas mileage.

  2. Fix Windshield Cracks
    Small cracks on your windshield can develop into big problems over time. Most importantly, you do not want any cracks to obscure your view while driving. The problem is simple to fix in its early stages. The best auto repair specialists involving windshields use a transparent epoxy that costs under $100 to repair small cracks and this type of repair work can be done anywhere and not necessarily in a shop. Insurance companies tend to cover these minor windshield repairs and replacing a windshield completely can cost $500 or more.

  3. Check Spark Plugs
    Spark plugs wear out when they can no longer generate sparks effectively. When spark plugs get old, it can cause a rough idle. It can even cause the engine to pause or speed up. One way a spark plug can blow out is if raw gas feeds the catalytic converter. You want to make sure your spark plugs are up to date when you take a state pollution test, since worn plugs can cause your vehicle to fail. The combination of a new set of spark plugs and spark plug wires may run around $315.

  4. Tire Balancing
    When your tires are out of balance, it can cause further wear and tear on tires as well as driving problems. Sometimes it’s a good idea to rotate your tires so that the newer tires are in front. Eventually, you can only rotate tires so much before all tires need to be replaced. When tires get too worn, they can blow out, which can force you to be stranded somewhere. The cost of a new set of tires is about $400.

  5. PCV Valve and Hose Upgrade
    Excess fumes around the cylinder and crankcase are routed back into the combustion system by the PCV valves. Faulty valves cause oil to leak through seals and gaskets and cause several problems, such as lower gas mileage, stalls and sluggish acceleration. The PCV valve and hose quality can affect how long your oil lasts before it can have harmful effects on your engine. The cylinder walls must remain properly lubricated and it costs a little over $100 to replace a valve and hose.

  6. Get Newer Thermostat
    Your thermostat detects engine temperature and alerts you when the engine is hot, which can trigger coolant to cool your engine. The thermostat lets you know the status of your coolant so that you do not forget to replace it once it starts burning off. If you ignore your coolant levels, it can lead to a blown cylinder head gasket or a cracked head. Either problem can be very expensive but the best auto repair experts will tell you that safety is a priority.

  7. Update EVAP Vacuum Hoses
    Your EVAP system helps protect the environment by preventing pollution particles in your gas tank from escaping into the atmosphere. Vacuum hoses collect the vapor and direct it to a storage container. It then enters the intake manifold where the fumes are burned off while the engine is running. Replacing hoses can be done for less than $100 and it may be necessary to replace your hoses if your engine hesitates, stalls, has idle issues or gets low gas mileage. The best auto repair philosophy is to periodically check your hoses.

  8. Check Power Control Module (PCM)
    The PCM, your engine’s computer, adjusts air and gas composition as it enters the combustion chamber. You may need to replace your engine coolant temperature sensor (ECT), which affects the internal temperature of the engine. The PCM is a $150 unit that speeds up the fan and determines the timing of sparks. When the PCM is not working correctly, it can waste gas and put stress on the catalytic converter.