Buying a new car? Here are three ways you can save on maintenance costs

Buying a new car is exciting, but it does come with its stresses - the auto loan approval process being one of them. After reviewing your traditional and alternative credit reports and providing you with a loan, your lender will keep the title to your car until you've paid the debt. 

Your car loan payments aren't the only expenses you have to worry about. Cars can be expensive to maintain. Before you buy a car, keep these tips in mind to save money on repairs and routine upkeep.

"It'll only cost you $5,500 over 10 years to keep a Toyota up and running."

1. Buy a vehicle with low maintenance costs 
Some auto manufacturers have better reputations than others - and for good reason. Some vehicles are poorly designed, while others simply use expensive parts. In other cases, the country of origin can increase maintenance costs. For example, spark plugs made in the U.S. may be more expensive than spark plugs made in Japan. 

How do you keep track of all the factors that affect upkeep cost? Thankfully, YourMechanic did a lot of the work for you. The company studied how often specific brand-name cars break down over 10 years, and calculated the costs of repairing them. According to the study, BMW vehicles are the most expensive to maintain: They'll cost you $17,800 over a decade on average. In contrast, it'll only cost you $5,500 over ten years to keep a Toyota up and running. 

2. Learn how to change your own fluids 
Replacing the transmission fluid is a bit of a task - one that you should leave to a mechanic. However, changing the oil, adding coolant and checking the brake fluid are all tasks within your abilities. You might find changing your oil to be a bit intimidating, but all you really have to do is follow instructions. 

How can you learn to do all these things on your own? Look up your local vocational technical school. These organizations usually offer night or weekend classes on anything from woodworking to, you guessed it, car maintenance. If you can't commit to a $90 class, ask one a handy friend of yours to show you how to change certain fluids. According to Angie's List, the average oil change costs $46 - that can add up over time. 

3. Don't drive so aggressively 
While you may want to hit the highway at 85 miles per hour, doing so can wear out your brakes. Think about it: For every 80-mph burst on the highway, you're going to have to  slow back down. All that speeding up and slowing down isn't necessarily good for the fuel economy, either. Your tires are also taking a beating, and replacing them can be one of the biggest costs you experience. Depending on the make and model, one tire could cost anywhere between $69 and $302. 

Overall, don't go to hard on your car. Drive it like you have your own kids in the back seat (if you don't already). Driving smoothly will pay off in the long run. 

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