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How to Save Money on Car Repairs and Maintenance

Cars are expensive enough without all of the money that goes into repair and maintence. Check out these easy ways to save money on your car that you might not have thought of.

By
Bruce and Jeanne Lubin,

Rubbing alcohol for windshield wipers

How to Clean Your Windshield Wipers

Messy wipers can be a major safety hazard (not to mention, really annoying!). If your wipers are smearing the windows, simply wipe the blades with rubbing alcohol. It fixes the problem instantly!

DIY Car Upholstery Patch

For a quick fix for a tear or cigarette burn in your seat, simply use an iron-on patch. Hold the patch in place with a few straight pins while you iron. If you don’t have a long enough extension cord to bring the iron into your car, set the iron on one setting higher than the directions on the patch recommend. When it heats up, unplug it and quickly bring it out to the car.

How to Prolong Your Car's Battery Life

Keep your battery in working order by making sure corrosion doesn’t build up on its terminals. We’ve found three tricks that work. You can pour a can of cola over the battery terminals; let it sit for a half hour, then wipe clean. Or you can wipe down the battery posts with petroleum jelly once every two months. Another method is to make a thick paste of baking soda and water. Let it stand for 10–15 minutes before washing it off.

Find Free Floor Mats

If your car’s floor mats need to be replaced, consider going to a carpet store and finding some samples to use instead. You’ll always be able to find samples that are gray or another color to match your car's interior, and best of all, they’re free!

Skip the Car Wash

Don’t spend money at the car wash. Invest in your own auto cleaning supplies, avoiding big box home improvement and hardware stores. You’ll find the same items—squeegees, shams, and sponges—for much less in the cleaning aisle of your local grocery store. Then raid your kitchen for cornstarch and cooking spray. To clean dirty windows, mix a tablespoon of cornstarch with about 1/2 gallon of warm water, apply to the windows, and dry with a soft cloth. To remove brake dust—that fine, black powder—from your car’s tires, apply a bit of cooking spray or vegetable oil, let sit for 10 minutes, and wipe off. Then spray them again when you’re done. The vegetable oil will reduce the collection of dust in the future, and you’ll be able to wipe it off even more easily next time. Who knew?

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