I’ve been blogging about saving money for years at this point – you guys know me by now. There are a number of subjects I can speak about with unflinching confidence. Recommendations on chocolate brands, coffee types, body shapewear capable of altering the laws of physics – I’m your gal. Car maintenance recommendations? Not so much. When I was sixteen, my Dad had the herculean task of teaching me how to change a tire and check the oil. The man deserves a medal. Decades later, I haven’t picked up many additional car-related skills, short of managing a Chick Fil-A drive thru without whacking my bumpers. Yet I know that regular maintenance is an excellent money-saving move that will save me big time down the road and extend the life of my beloved, aging car.

So when I decided to do a Column stuffed with tips on keeping cars in great shape and saving you from costly repairs or replacements down the road, I connected with Tim Firlein, Manager at the Tolsdorf Oil Lube Express in Exton (next to Target). This place is great, and Tim is a goldmine of money-saving car info. This family-owned business has been serving Chester County for over 25 years, with four locations in Exton, Kennett Square, Phoenixville and West Chester. You never need an appointment, and in the dozens of times I’ve visited them I’m usually out of there within 15 minutes or so, and that includes the time they take to vacuum out my car. That’s a lot of Cheerios under the seats, my friends – these guys are good. I’m not even going to mention the free coffee, or I shall stray off topic. Suffice it to say it’s divine.
Tim’s top tip for keeping cars in great shape? Keep your eyes on the numbers. Check that oil after every 2nd gas fill up (no excuses, ladies – if I can do it, you can do it!). Have your oil changed at 3000 miles; trying to make your car work thru 5000+ miles between changes (I know many who do) is causing huge stress on an expensive piece of machinery – your car engine. An oil change (and unlimited coffee while you wait) is $36.99. An average car engine runs around $5500. You do the math. Want to talk about another pricey car part? Let’s talk about transmissions. There’s nothing quite like the despair of hearing you have to shell out thousands of dollars to get yours replaced. Been there, done that. Reduce the odds by getting your transmission serviced every 30,000 miles. When it comes to keeping automobiles in good shape on these cold winter mornings, do your car a favor and start it up at least 10 minutes prior to leaving – you’ll be glad you did.

Best of all, Tolsdorf does all of these services and much more, checking filters, fluids, and even tires. Find out more at http://www.OilLubeExpress.com. Bottom line, for busy people like us, they’re a godsend. One of the things I like best is that they’re an ideal blend of a Mom & Pop auto shop combined with the best technology on the market. Everything’s computerized, they’ve saved all of the information on past work so it’s easy to keep track of what needs to be checked and what can wait, and they’ve even gone green with emailed receipts sent right to your computer. The next time you need to get your car serviced, swing by one of their locations for outstanding service that you, your car, and your bank account will love. See you at the coffee machine!

Kristen Hagopian is a Syndicated Radio Talk Show Host & Columnist, Consumer Reporter and Author of “Brilliant Frugal Living”. She lives in Chester County with her husband and two kids. “The Kristen Hagopian Show” airs on Philly’s News/Talk 1180 WFYL on Saturdays and Sundays. You can find her online at http://www.BrilliantFrugalLiving.com