THE BLOG
10/01/2016 01:00 pm ET Updated Oct 02, 2017

Quick Fix: 10 Car Ownership And Maintenance Tips

Cars are one of our greatest conveniences. They take us to work, allow us to run errands, and provide the perfect means to hit the road and see the country. One problem though: When we're not careful, they can get needlessly expensive and dangerous. I've scoured the net for 10 quick tips to drive safely and economically.

Check The Air Filter
A clogged air filter can wreak havoc not just on your vehicle, but your lungs as well. Fortunately, the inspection process is simple: Remove the air filter element and hold it up to a strong light. If you don't see light, be sure to replace it.

Skip the At-Home Car Wash
Washing a car at home uses five to 20 times more water than a professional car wash. If you're not looking to spend $15 to $30 on the pros, consider the self-serve option, which can run you as little as $4 (and is often quicker!).

Recycle The Cold
A good way to save money during those hot summer months is to run your car's air conditioner in recirculation mode. This recycles the already-cooled air from inside the car. requiring less energy in the process.

Clean The Radiator
Overheating can be an engine killer. One way to lower the odds of it happening: Clean the radiator. Simply remove debris with a soft brush and wash the outside of the radiator with a detergent solution.

Buy Out The Lease
If your lease is down to its last six months, you can occasionally buy the car outright at a significant discount--even below wholesale in certain cases.

Beware Of New Car Pricing
In 2016, the average price of a new car is approximately $34,000. The reason: New vehicles are often loaded with expensive features, both for safety (collision-avoidance systems) and leisure (high-end sound systems).

Avoid The Frills
You can save money buy adding new car parts and features instead of purchasing them pre-installed. But always check before you do: Certain additions can void your warranty.

Minimize Your Blind Spots
Although blind spots may soon be a thing of the past, they're still here and they're still very dangerous. Consider purchasing inexpensive blind spot mirrors that can be attached to your rearview and side mirrors.

Weatherproofing
Another thing to consider purchasing: rain-repellant coating for your car's windows. It can significantly improve visibility during a storm.

Shoo Away The Bird Poop
We all think of bird droppings as harmless inconveniences. Turns out they're highly acidic, and can lead to permanent discoloration. Be sure to keep a package of moist wipes in your glove box.