Make Your Car More Dependable

By Insurance.com Posted : 03/02/2007

If you depend on your car, here’s how
to make it more dependable.

A car is probably one of the worst investments you’ll ever make. In terms of actual dollars returned, ownership is a helpless loss. Nevertheless, a car is a necessity in most of our lives, so we should work to keep our vehicles as healthy as possible. Like the doctor says: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Take care of your car, and it will take care of you. And you’ll probably save yourself a few bucks along the way.

What you can do yourself:

  • Read your owner’s manual — This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how few owners bother to learn what needs to be done to their car and at what regularity. Remember: you can learn it from your owner’s manual, or you can have your vehicle give you an expensive, unscheduled education.
  • Take care of your tires — Like the commercial says, you’ve got a lot riding on them. Most drivers tend to ignore tread and wear problems until it’s too late, that is, until the tires need to be replaced, or worse, blow out. Buy a pressure gauge and use it. Rotate your tires as recommended.

A quart a day (or as needed) keeps the tow truck away
If there were only One Commandment in the world of Auto Maintenance, it would be to change your oil frequently. You can’t hurt your engine by doing it too much. Every 3, 000 miles, along with a new filter is ideal. Alas, this once easy-to-perform task has been rendered nearly impossible for the do-it-yourselfer due to the configuration of newer engines. However, there are plenty of inexpensive oil change places that will also perform a great deal of the regular checks your car needs.

When you need professional help
Find yourself a mechanic who you can trust and who knows your vehicle. Ask around. Check the Better Business Bureau. And if you don’t understand why you are being charged $473.29 to eliminate that little noise, make the mechanic or service manager explain it to you. If they don’t have time for you, go elsewhere. And be sure to see if they warrantee their service.

The Web — more useful than a monkey wrench
Another source of additional savings can be found on the Internet. There are many good sites that compare auto insurance rates. Others give unbiased information on car maintenance. Some even have mechanic finders, which recommend garages in your zip code based on what others have found.

From Carburetors to Computer Chips
Time was you could pop the hood of a car and have an inkling what was going on in there. That’s far from true now, but between your vigilance and good mechanic’s service, ol’ Betsy (or Lexie) should take you from point A to point B for many years. That being said, it’s easier to do when working with a better product.

According to a 2003 JD Powers survey, here’s what car owners say were the most (and least) dependable cars:

Ten Most Dependable Cars (starting with the most dependable):

  1. Lexus
  2. Infiniti
  3. Buick
  4. Porsche
  5. Acura
  6. Toyota
  7. Cadillac
  8. Lincoln
  9. Honda
  10. Mercury

Ten Least Dependable Cars (starting with the least dependable):

  1. Kia
  2. Land Rover
  3. Daewoo
  4. Suzuki
  5. Volkswagen
  6. Isuzu
  7. Hyundai
  8. Mitsubishi
  9. Volvo
  10. Jeep

Please note that this description/explanation is intended only as a guideline.

Please note that this description/explanation is intended only as a guideline.

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