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Saving for College?  Look in the Driveway

LEXINGTON, Ky., Aug. 21 / As insurance rates rise, how can parents tighten the belt more when they are budgeting for costs such as tuition, books, and housing as their kids head off the college?  The Valvoline Company recently partnered with the host of the nationally syndicated The C.A.R. Show, Roger Kwapich, to educate consumers on the money-saving benefits of keeping your current vehicle on the road with preventive maintenance while avoiding the costly purchase of a new car.

"Buying a new car is an expensive purchase," says Kwapich.  "I've been recommending to my listeners for years that if they really want to save money, they should avoid buying a new car and keep their existing cars on the road with preventive maintenance." 

Kwapich notes that, "Today's vehicles are designed to last well beyond 200,000 miles. I have lots of callers who think that high mileage equates to high repair dollars. However, if they practice good maintenance, they can keep their cars running great well past 200,000 miles."

Preventive maintenance can be as simple as changing the oil every 3,000 miles and rotating your tires every other change.  What are your potentially highest repair costs?  Identifying these provides a good starting point on where your maintenance needs should be focused. So, engine, transmission, fuel system, etc.  This means regular oil changes, tire rotations, addition of fuel system cleaner and tune-ups before you see signs of damage. 

1. As the seasons change, so should your oil:  Oil is the life blood of your engine, so change it seasonally, with a suggested frequency of every 3000 miles.   

2  Brakes should be inspected with each oil change: On average, brakes should be replaced every 35,000 to 40,000 miles -- and for most cars, the front brakes tend to wear faster than the back.

3. Belts, hoses and thermostat should be inspected with each oil change. You can do a simple visual check of your belts and hoses for signs of fraying or loose fittings or leaks any time you fill your tank.  Replacement of belts, hoses and thermostat is recommended every four years or 50,000 miles. 

 4. Rotate your tires: Tires, non-directional tires excluded, should be rotated every 6,000 to 10,000 miles or during every other oil change. Doing this will increase the tires' life by as much as 25 percent.

5. Tune it up:  The 100,000 mile tune up is a terrible idea!  Long life spark plugs (100,000 plugs) should be replaced at 35,000 to 40,000 miles and certainly at  60,000 miles.  The fuel filter, fuel injectors and induction system should be changed/cleaned every 2-3 years or 24,000 to 30,000 miles.

Following these tips will save you thousands of dollars in repairs.  Even if you took your vehicle in and asked to have all five tips performed at once it's still cheaper than the sales tax on a new, $18,000 car. 

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