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The warm weather and sunshine soaked days of summer make for perfect day trips and weekend getaways. All it takes is a quick hop into your car and you’re off on a short but fun-filled adventure – that is, until your check engine light comes on. There are many unexpected costs of car ownership, especially for younger drivers who don’t have as much experience under their (seat)belts. Before you purchase your next car, knowing what kinds of vehicle expenses you could face down the road (no pun intended) can help you prepare for what you can afford and how you should save. Here are 4 tips for keeping you and your passengers safe and your car in good shape.

Know When to Service Your Car for Wear and Tear Maintenance

We often think of wear and tear on a car as a scratch here and a shopping cart to the bumper there, but your entire vehicle gets worn down over time. Your wheels, sensors, paint, brakes and chassis can all experience wear and tear differently from a variety of sources. For example, if your daily commute takes you over a lot of potholes or road construction, your alignment might get thrown off more quickly than if your commute was smooth sailing. If you live or work near salt water, you may find that your paint erodes much faster than a car that’s used inland. Following your own regular car maintenance checklist can help you spot small issues, and knowing when to service your car can help you avoid serious problems and higher vehicle expenses.

What is Your Battery Life Expectancy?

You probably give little thought to your battery each time your car effortlessly rumbles to life. However, the moment you need to get somewhere and realize that you left your lights on all night, your car’s battery is suddenly your top concern. The average car battery life expectancy is four to six years, but harsh conditions can take a toll, and we’re not just talking about ice and snow. Heat can affect your car battery, so be sure to add it to your regular car maintenance checklist all year round and replace the battery when necessary.

Perform a Regular Tire Inspection

If you’ve ever had a flat tire, you know how inconvenient and dangerous it can be. Performing a regular tire inspection to look for signs of uneven wear, damage and underinflation and fixing any issues right away could save you from high vehicle expenses not to mention accidents. Your alignment can also create problems with your tires, especially if you’re frequently traveling on uneven terrain. Getting your alignment and tires checked regularly can help you avoid costly repairs later on. You can do your own visual checks too, looking for things like cracks or bulges. Here are more things to look for in a tire inspection before setting off on your next summer road trip.

Fuel is a Big Part of Your Vehicle Expenses

It seems to happen every year, yet we’re never ready for it: the fuel cost rise of summer. In fact, there are several real reasons why fuel costs spike in the summer months and yet it’s something that many of us forget to plan for. The next time you decide to hit the road on a warm weather getaway, be sure to factor fuel into your vehicle expenses and save up ahead of time so that your summer fun doesn’t burst your budget.

For most of us in Connecticut, getting where we need to go requires a car. But the damaging winter weather can leave roads in tough shape come summertime, so it’s important to monitor your vehicle for problems before they become dangerous and expensive. Remember to follow your own regular car maintenance checklist and know when to service your car. If it’s time to replace your vehicle, visit our FutureTrack blog for smart savings tips.

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