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Indy on a Budget

Transportation Troubles

Saving money on costly auto repairs

September 01, 2011
Today everyone is looking to save money and unexpected car repairs are the last thing busy families want to deal with. But no matter what, inevitably, usually at the most inconvenient time, like during your Labor Day weekend trip, the brakes will start grinding and the air conditioner will go from cold to hot.

That's the bad news, but the good news is there are some things you can do now to save you car care troubles down the road.

"By getting regular maintenance done you help to prevent unintentional wear and tear on a vehicle," said Andy Adams, owner of Andy's Mobile Oil Change. "You also are usually able to catch more major problems early on before they become very expensive and possibly disabling to your vehicle."

While most of us think regular maintenance means oil changes every three months or 3,000 miles, Adams said drivers may be able to save some money by checking the owner's manual. These days, he said, some cars only need oil changes every 10,000 miles.

In addition to checking and changing the fluids, Hoosiers also need to maintain their cars' tires.

According to Palmer-Hoffman Auto Outlet in Indianapolis, tires need to be rotated about every 6,000 miles. Drivers who choose to skip out on this in order to save the $10-20, will be spending hundreds of dollars much sooner to replace the tires.

Adams, whose mobile car care company comes to customers' homes or places of business, said regardless of the make or model of the car, the dealership isn't the only place to go for service. However, he added that a super center auto care shop may have the lowest price, but they don't always have the best deal.

"When you look at the time spent getting to and from the place and the time you are either sitting and waiting or shopping while your car is being serviced it may not be such a good deal."

Additionally, Adams said beware of hard up-sells and suggests taking time to stay up-to-date and know when things should be replaced.

Another great way to keep your car running smoothly is to limit the miles you put on it. Whether you're looking for something to do on a night out, or a staycation for Labor Day weekend, the Circle City offers endless choices.

You don't have to be ready to work up a sweat to take advantage of the Monon Trail.

The 16.7 mile trail stretches from Carmel to Westfield to Indianapolis. It's an easy, scenic way to see the city and save on gas mileage.

IndyGo also offers great services for commuters, just take advantage of their bike and bus program. For as little as $4, for a day pass, this could be a great option for the family headed downtown for the day, but not wanting to be on foot for hours on end. More information at www.indygo.net.

Additionally you can take use of IndyGo's free online trip planner. There you can just plug in your pick-up location and enter your desired destination. The planner provides a complete itinerary of the route, including walking directions from the bus stop to your destination that you can either print or email to your smart phone.

Lastly, if a road trip is want you're looking for, but again you'd prefer not to have the wear and tear on your car, Hoosiers can check out the Mega Bus, www.us.megabus.com. Depending on the dates of travel, the daily express bus service will take you from Indianapolis to Chicago, Cincinnati or Columbus, Ohio for about half the cost of a fill-up.

How's that for a money and gas savings deal?

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Tags: Local, money

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