It's a simple fact of life that car maintenance costs money - and you've always got a better use for the few quid you've got in your pocket.
However, while there's no such thing as free maintenance, you can cut the costs without cutting corners. No matter how new or old your car, there’ll be some independent mechanic tucked away somewhere who will look after you for a reasonable rate.
You could trim your maintenance budget to the bone and do at least some of the work yourself
Of course he’s got to make a profit and car parts cost money, but shop around, ask friends for recommendations and the chances are you’ll be able to shave a few quid off your maintenance costs while still getting a great job done.
Or you could trim your maintenance budget to the bone and do at least some of the work yourself. If the idea terrifies you, don’t dismiss it out of hand as the biggest cost of servicing is the labour – and there’ll be a mark up on the parts too.
Instead you could go to your local motor factor and buy the parts more cheaply, then do all the work yourself – typically saving yourself at least 150 notes. If you're already confused, a motor factor is a stockist of car parts, and what they don't have they can usually get within a few hours.
Just search online for a motor factor near you, or give Eurocarparts a try; there's a branch in most towns or they do a mail order service. Your best bet though is to do the easiest jobs like changing the oil and filter or replacing bulbs, then farming out the trickier (safety-critical) jobs to a garage.
But there’s nothing to stop you from tackling some of the bigger jobs too; check out the evening classes at your local college and think about buying a workshop manual. You could save a packet, and potentially a very large one at that.