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Deals That Are Nifty by Sister Thrifty: April 2010

Deals That Are Nifty by Sister Thrifty

Great Steals and Deals around town and online to save you the big bucks and help you keep more of your hard-earned money!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Saving money on "AUTO"pilot with your cars

We now have 2 kids in college with no transportation, so my husband and I finally bit the bullet and purchased a car for them. It was partly for selfish reasons really...we want them to be able to drive home to see us since their college is out of state! We have purchased all of our cars at an auto auction and saved thousands of dollars. To get an idea of the REAL price of a car you're interested in purchasing or even selling, go to:

Kelly Blue Book

NADA Appraisal Guides  


Consumer Reports

Buying new
Don’t ever think you're smarter than the car salesman. He sells cars every day for a living. You buy one only every few years and you don’t have a boss breathing down your neck at the purchase. Just remember, you’re paying thousands of dollars for that new-car smell.

Buying used
Definitely the way to go. You can purchase practically new cars at auction and save thousands of dollars. You can even find incredible deals online or in your newspaper. The tricky part is researching a vehicle’s history and title to make sure you’re getting a good car. For around $25 you can order as many vehicle background checks as you want in a month. Go to Carfax Web site at

Car maintenance
Most of us recognize that conscientious maintenance will extend the life of your car, help it operate more safely and efficiently, and preserve its appearance and value when it comes time to trade it in. Taking your car to a dealership for routine maintenance and a detail shop for cosmetic and restorative work is convenient, but can be expensive. Dealerships, in order to bolster departments which are not profitable, may increase prices to their service customers. Take your car to an automotive repair shop for less expensive routine service. Make sure any work done will not void your warranty. Here are some great tips from a clever dude:

Preventive measures can reduce the need for expensive maintenance procedures.

Especially for cars with fuel injection, buying poor quality gas can cause carbon buildup and loss of performance.

Keeping your tires inflated at the right pressure prolongs the life of your tires, gets better gas mileage, and provides optimum control and traction.

A walk-around inspection of your car daily can help you detect low tire pressure, rust spots and other signs of wear that, if treated early, can avert larger problems down the road.

By using less expensive but equally effective ingredients found around the home, you can prepare effective substitute cleaning products.

Sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda is an excellent material that can be mixed with water to remove tar, bug juice, tree sap, bird droppings and other organic material that can etch into the car’s paint. Commercial products can cost between $10.00 and $40.00 per container.

For stains on the interior surfaces of your car, try a solution of vinegar and water applied with a tooth brush. Turtle Wax Spray Cleaner costs about $7.00 a can; vinegar is about $1.79 a pint.

Periodically, your car will need a “tune up” which may cost up to $50.00 at a local garage and more at a dealership. Some cars are easier to work on than others, so it might be wise to peek under the hood to visually locate spark plugs, distributor, oil filter, air filter, fuel filter and PCV valve. To further explore the world of automobile repair and maintenance, buy a Chilton’s “Total Car Care Repair Manual” for your particular year and model. It is a comprehensive maintenance and repair reference for your car containing step-by-step instructions on most of the maintenance procedures done by dealerships and repair shops. What is best is that on Amazon, you can buy a used copy for $7.00, instead of $33.00 retail.

Under the hood, car maintenance includes replacing or replenishing oil, coolant, windshield fluids and checking for worn belts. You can still save money while keeping your hands clean by shopping for good deals and substituting homemade ingredients for more expensive commercial products.

Cheap oil change – Call your favorite shop and ask when the next special on oil changes will occur. Keep your eyes open for signs on the road advertising a special on oil changes. Know the going prices for this service and see if a local neighbor’s kid will do it for cheaper. You can save $5.00 to $10.00 per oil change compared to licensed dealers.

Homemade windshield washer fluid – All it takes to make windshield washer fluid is liquid detergent (1 tbsp), rubbing alcohol (3 cups), and water (1 gallon). Mix three cups of this solution in a gallon of water for the final product.

If your time is worth more than the $100.00 per hour you can expect to pay for maintenance and repairs, maybe rolling up your sleeves on a Saturday afternoon and getting familiar with your car is not appealing. For many of us, there is a real satisfaction to be experienced when we replace that burnt out headlamp, top off the coolant or brake fluid, or change our own oil.

Saving money can be "auto"matic when you just take a few minutes to do your car research!


Sister Thrifty

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