What to Read Next

How Not to Get Ripped Off on Car Repairs: Lessons from a Woman Mechanic

Sarah B. Weir, Yahoo! blogger
Shine from Yahoo! Canada
August 17, 2012

Do you know what's under the hood?
Do you know what's under the hood?

Nowadays, people barely read their automobile manual, let alone tinker with their engine. Audra Fordin, the owner of Great Bear Auto and Body Shop in Queens, NY, tells Shine that you can save hundreds of dollars a year by tackling basic repairs yourself. "There are a ton of things you can fix--from wipers, to fuses, to headlights--with ten dollars and a screw driver instead of a trip to the garage."

Fordin, a fourth generation mechanic, learned her trade by her father's side. "My dad was a workaholic," she laughs. "I was a little girl who wanted to hang with daddy. In order to do that, I had to work." Fordin is spreading the knowledge. A mom of three, she works with the Girl Scouts and runs workshops and an instructional website, Women Auto Know. "Its always easier to be ripped off when you are uneducated," she warns. "With education comes confidence. You won't be messed with as easily." 

Here are her top money-saving tips:

1. Changing your coolant on time can save you at least a thousand dollars in repairs over the course of your car's lifetime. It helps keep your car cool in the summer and warm in the winter. If you ignore the coolant, your engine can overheat. Fordin says it's worth the couple hundred of dollars it will cost to drain the entire system of coolant every few years before replacing it with new fluid. Consult your manual to see the exact timing for your car.

2. Maintaining the correct tire pressure has a "massive chain effect," Fordin says, on the health of your car. The car body will be under less stress, you'll use less gas, and your tires will last two to three times longer. She recommends checking the tire pressure with a gauge ("kicking them doesn't work") every time there is a temperature change of more than ten degrees.

Audra Fordin
Audra Fordin

3. If it's just regular maintenance or a minor repair, go to your garage when you have time. Don't ask your mechanic to hurry or tell them you have no time to wait. "If they rush, they may make mistakes and you'll pay for it."

4. "Don't say: 'I know it's probably something bad!'" If you are ignorant about your car, some mechanics will take full advantage.

5. Ask your mechanic to show you the problem. "If they say you need a new air filter, look at it! New brakes --look at them. Anything they want to replace should be shown to you."

6. Don't tell your garage you are going out of town and ask them to hold your car for you. It might be used as a loaner.

7. Don't ask, "Do I need new tires?" Fordin explains that tires have indicators built in that to help you keep track.They are embedded in the tread and show when the tires begin to wear down. For more info and tips, check out Fordin's Glove Box Guide.

8. Keep a log maintenance log. Write down your mileage, the repair, and the date. This way you "won't end up changing your oil 2000 miles before you have to."

9. Keep your receipts so you have proof of maintenance and repairs. It's the only way the work will be guaranteed. Producing all of your receipts can also help you sell your car. Fordin says, "It makes the next owner feel comfortable about the purchase."

10. "If they fix something without your authorization, consider it free," says Fordin. "It's your vehicle, you make the rules about what gets repaired."

Register Now for Free

Are you paying yourself what you’re worth? Learn how to take control and build wealth.

Bad News For Insurance, Great News For Virginia

Virginia drivers, with cars and good driving records are learning that they may qualify for lower car insurance rates. Do you qualify?

Free Workshop in Washington DC Area, Feb. 27!

This workshop introduces you to the tools to create winning trades no matter which direction stocks move! Attend the event and get a FREE silver bar!

Hilton HHonors™ Card

Earn 40,000 Hilton HHonors™ Bonus Points. Apply for Your Card Today.

How Older Men Tighten Their Skin

Men, reduce the look of wrinkles, sagging skin and fine lines with this affordable and effective skin tightening treatment without leaving your home.

Mountains of Freebies Are Delivered Every Day!

Sign up now for freebies so good you will feel guilty not paying for them! No credit card or purchase necessary.

Motorcycle Tech Training

At MMI, you ll get the advanced skills that top manufacturers need. MMI graduates are in high demand by employers nationwide.

The Smith Part-Time MBA Gives You More Options

Ad Description Earn an MBA from UMD on your schedule. New accelerated options at 3 locations.

Help Erase Credit Card Debt with a Personal Loan

Are you paying too much on your credit cards? Consider a Personal Loan to help consolidate your payments.

Banks Are Worried Homeowners Will Do This.

Homeowners are surprised and furious. If you owe less than $625,000 on your home, you better read this.

Banks "Outraged" by Brilliant Home Payoff Method

Before you pay your next mortgage you should see this. Millions of homeowners are already amazed. If your bank knew you did this, they'd freak!

Meet someone new near you

Browse pics and profiles for free!

Sweeten This Valentine's Day with a Custom Dessert

Chocolate has been done. Show them they're special with a heart-shaped pastry. Learn how to make this delicious token of love here.

Is your insurance comp Laughing Behind Your Back?

New Studies Show that if you drive less than 55 miles a day you can save a ton on auto insurance.