10 Ways You Waste Money on Your Car

by Jerry Edgerton

Lts.- Đừng nên mắc hỡm con buôn và các tiệm sửa xe. Theo thống kê thì 2 nghề kém luơng thiện nhất tại Huê Kỳ là các tiệm bán xe cũ và các tiệm sửa xe.

With gas bills putting a crimp in your budget, you don't want to be wasting money on other car expenses. But many car owners do just that — either spending more than needed on maintenance or putting off work that will cost more later.

To be smart about your car, you need to do the right amount of on-time maintenance — while resisting mechanics' pitches for unnecessary work. "With advertising that emphasizes maintenance-free cars, people may have the idea they don't have to take care of them," says George Sadowski, education manager at the Norwood, Mass., campus of Universal Technical Institute, a leading provider of training courses for auto mechanics.

But while neglect doesn't work, neither does overspending. From Sadowski and Michael Calkins, manager of the AAA program that recommends repair shops, here are 10 ways you may be wasting money on your car.

1. Changing oil every 3,000 miles.

A relic of a bygone era, this guideline is often promoted by dealers or repair shops eager for business. Instead, read your owner's manual and follow the manufacturer's recommendation for oil-change intervals — it's often 5,000 to 7,500 miles.

[ Nên xem laị manual của xe, xem nó đòi hỏi thay dầu sau bao nhiêu ngàn miles? ]

2. Using premium fuel unnecessarily.

Don't pay this higher cost unless your owner's manual says premium fuel is "required." High-performance engines like those in Corvettes and some luxury models do really require it. But if premium fuel is just "recommended," you can still buy regular. Michael Calkins of AAA takes this suggestion to heart. "I have a Nissan Murano that recommends premium," he says. "But it runs fine on regular." At recent national averages of $3.78 a gallon for regular and $4.04 for premium, that's a savings of about $4 every time you fill up a 15-gallon tank.

[Nếu có xe xịn lắm thì xem lại có phải xe bắt buộc phải dùng xăng PREMIUM không, nếu chỉ "Nên" chứ không bắt buộc thì có thể dùng xăng 87-octane thoải mái. ]

3. Failing to change your air filter.

"If you have not changed your air filter by about 40,000 miles, it is probably clogged and hurting your gas mileage," says George Sadowski. That MPG penalty could be as much as 10% to 15%, he estimates. So if your mechanic recommends a fresh filter after about 25,000 miles, say yes.

[ Khi đi sủa xe, thì lúc nào nhân viên cũng đề nghị thay air filter dù là ta mới thay cách đó 1 tháng, chỉ nên thay air filter khi đã đi quá 25,000 miles ]

4. Failing to check the brake pads.

Most mechanics will raise this issue periodically, but you should suggest it if not. Getting timely pad replacement can help you avoid later (and much more expensive) repair to the brake drums or rotors, Sadowski advises. Replacing the pads should cost less than $150.

[Nên đề nghị cho thợ sửa xe xem lại bố thắng cuả mình xem có cần thay không, nếu cần thì phải thay còn nếu không thi sẽ phải trả tiền khá bộn khi bố thắng đã quá mòn và mài vào trục bánh xe ]

5. Buying mileage-boosting additives and devices.

On auto racing shows and other sports programs, ads are nearly constant for oil additives or devices — like magnets on the fuel lines — that will supposedly improve your car's mileage. "I've never seen any good scientific study proving that any of this works," says the AAA's Calkins. "They come out of the woodwork whenever gas prices go up."

[Ngoại trừ xe đua còn các loại xe thuờng thì khônbg phải dùng loại này chỉ tốn tiền vô ích! ]

6. Tune-ups for your engine or air conditioning.

Another relic of a bygone era, this is still a popular promotion to drum up business. "Modern engines are constantly being tuned by on-board computers," says Calkins. "And as for air conditioning, if it is blowing cold air, it is fine. If it isn't, get it fixed."

[Chỉ cần tune-up thay spark plugs khi xe đã chạy quá 6, hay 7 chục ngàn miles, còn máy lạnh vì ít sài nên lâu lắm mới phải thêm chất freon, ngoại trừ sử dụng máy lạnh liên miên tại các TB miền thật nóng ]

7. Changing coolant.

Mechanics or dealers will often say you need to have the engine coolant flushed out and replaced. That's only true if you have plenty of miles on it. Modern coolant — you'll know it because it's usually brown or light red — is engineered to last five years or 50,000 miles, says Calkins. That's about double the lifespan of the old-style green coolant.

[Chỉ cần thay engine coolant khi xe đã chạy khá nhiều miles )it1 nhất là 50,000 miles). Các tiệm sửa xe luôn luôn đề nghị để kiếm thêm tiền ]

8. Ignoring your check-engine light.

This amber light on your dash, which in some cars says "service engine soon," indicates a problem with the fuel or emission system. A malfunctioning oxygen sensor, often the reason for the light, can hurt your gas mileage. And an out-of-kilter fuel mix, if ignored too long, could harm the engine."You could wind up with a $1,000 repair job instead of what could have been a $150 job," cautions Calkins.

[Nến lưu ý đến đèn báo "service engine soon" để tìm ra nguyên nhân sửa ngay thay vì về sau xe bị chết thì tốn ít nhất là vài ngàn đô. ]

9. Buying expensive performance tires.

When it is time to replace your tires, the dealer rep or salesman at the tire shop may try to convince you that you need the super-grip performance tires that come with sports cars and other high-performance vehicles. But they can sometimes cost twice as much, Calkins notes, and because they are made of softer rubber, they often do not last as long. And let's get real: Are you driving an Indy track or circling the mall looking for parking?

[Mua bánh xe thật xịn nhiều khi chỉ tốn tiền gấp đôi mà không lợi ích gì cả, trừ trường hợp bạn ở các tiểu bang lạnh lẽo cần bánh xe tốt để di chuyển trong mùa Đông. ]

10. Paying for built-in navigation.

If you are buying a new car, taking the factory navigation system can cost $2,000 or more. Calkins points out that most smart phones now have navigation options that work just as well and carry free updates of their maps, unlike the built-in systems.

[Dạo này GPS xuống giá rẻ rề,mua thứ nào cũng được nhiều khi các cell phones cũng có cả GPS nữa, không cần phải mua thêm option có GPS gắn luôn trong xe. Phí tiền. Nên lưu ý là luật TB CALIFORNIA cấm không co gắn GPS trên kính xe, chỉ có quyềnđể máy trên dàn xe trước mặt và dùng sao cho đừng cản trở tầm nhìn của mình trong khi lái xe. ]

You can't control the price of gas. But by paying attention to your maintenance schedule and doing just enough — but not more than you really need — you can keep from wasting money on your other automotive costs.