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An absolutely shocking 30% of American citizens spend their tax refund on the cars. And while I’m sure a few stereos and rims sneak through, the vast majority of that spend is on basic maintenance that has been put off, very often for much too long. Since it is very statistically likely that YOU are among this group, we teamed up with Autozone and their Hoods Up America campaign to give you the best ways to spend your tax refund on your car. You don’t have to be a DIYer to fix your car up for less, you just need to follow these shockingly-easy 3 steps:

Get free stuff first!

I mean, does this need to be explained? When you’re trying to get your refund check to stretch as much as possible, free items and services are the obvious choice. Autozone offers:

  • Loan-a-tool with 100s of tools
  • Parts testing
  • Battery system testing and charging
  • ECM testing
  • Battery testing
  • Check engine light testing
  • Engine light fix finder (in some states)

All of these help make any repair easier and less expensive. Almost all full service garages charge for these services (if they even offer them), so even if your is outside your DIY comfort level you can shave hundreds of dollars off your shop bill just by positively identifying the culprit first and then buying the replacement yourself. Which brings me to my next point –

Buy your own parts

Professional mechanics and dealership shops often buy replacement parts at a discount, then charge you a premium for them on your bill. This way they make extra on the parts as well as just the repair time. Save yourself this extortion by buying exactly what you need yourself and bringing it in to the shop. Yes, they will most likely charge you a flat fee or % to install “outside” parts, but you’ll still come out ahead by bringing them in yourself. And who knows, having all the parts in your hands might just inspire you to tackle that repair yourself…

Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty

If you don’t know the difference between a differential and a torque wrench, you might be shocked to learn just how easy maintenance like an oil change is! Trust me, if an acned teenager at a quick lube place can do it, you can too my friend. Between YouTube, forums, manuals, and handy-friends, there are few common jobs you can’t complete for the cost of parts (and maybe a six pack) alone. Beyond oil changes, new brakes and “tune ups” are some of the most common tax refund projects. You’d likely be shocked to learn just how easy it is to replace brake pads, and rotors are pretty basic too! As far as a “tune up,” let me let you in on a little secret: that phrase doesn’t really have a definition… It generally just means lumping all the basic service items together – air filter, oil, spark plugs, brake fluid, transmission fluid, steering fluid, and maybe maybe valve adjustment. And other than adjusting valves, all of those items are incredibly easy and inexpensive to do yourself.

If you’re still afraid to take advantage of free services, buy your own parts, or get your hands dirty, Autozone has been kind enough to give us a $100 gift card to give away to one of our readers to get them started. Keep your eyes peeled on all our social channels (FB, Insta, Twitter) for that giveaway!

This post is brought to you by AutoZone; the opinions are all mine.

 

Adam Kaslikowski
About the Author

Co-founder and CEO of FactoryTwoFour. I enjoy writing about all factors of this lifestyle of ours. If I'm not writing or running F24, you can generally find me in the garage tinkering on a vintage car or motorcycle. If you need anything from me, try bribing with Randy's Donuts first.

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