There are some cars that just seem to need plenty of attention. From maintenance to car washes, owning a car does require you to spend quite a bit of time on your vehicle, assuming that you want to keep it in good working condition. That may be time you don’t have to spare, though, making it worth your while to outsource car-related tasks. If you’re willing to spend the money, there are plenty of professionals willing to take on your projects.
- Oil Changes: While changing the oil and other minor maintenance tasks are well within the skills of most car owners, they are time-consuming projects. There are many mechanics who specialize in such tasks, offering options like WiFi in their waiting rooms. Some will even come to you to take care of your car.
- Carpools: It’s good for the environment and your wallet to carpool with other people headed in the same direction. Finding those people can be difficult if you do it on your own, but there are many services, both local and national, that can find you a carpool group. Online options include sites like eRideShare and CarpoolConnect.
- Car Detailing: Maintaining your car isn’t just a case of looking under the hood. Keeping your car clean is just as important, both inside and out. While you can run your car through a car wash on your own, taking it to a car detailer can provide you with a well-cared-for car while you work on something else.
- Emergency Response: A membership with AAA can be worth its weight in gold if you break down — your wait for help will be shorter than any other option that doesn’t involve a major accident.
- Getting Directions: Getting lost is fast way to lose a lot of time. Adding a GPS unit to your car (or signing up for OnStar if your car is equipped for it) can ensure that you’ll have directions to wherever you need to go.
- Mile Tracking: Whether you need to be reimbursed for the miles you’ve traveled or you’re writing them off on your taxes, being able to easily track your miles is important. Xpenser, along with other tracking systems, allows you to track your miles by SMS. The website organizes and analyzes your texts to create mileage reports.
- Moving: If you’re making a long-distance move, it’s often not practical to drive your car. Instead, you can hop a flight while someone else takes responsibility for getting your car moved. MoveCars provides a directory of automobile transporters, most of which simply load your car on a truck headed to your destination.
- Parking: Unless your idea of a good time is driving around town, looking for a parking space, handing the problem over to someone else may be a good idea. While some restaurants and other businesses offer valet parking, other options include getting a pass for a parking garage near any locations you regularly visit.
- Storage: Storing a car requires you to take certain steps to protect the car. Turning the keys over to a mechanic who specializes in storing cars can guarantee that your car will be ready to go when you come back, whether that’s six months from now or even longer.
- Car Restoration: There are more than a few people who keep older cars around, intending to restore them but never finding the time. If you have an older car in need of a little TLC to restore it to better condition, taking it to a mechanic specializing in restoration is a good idea.
- Updated Electronics: While your car may not be so old that it has an 8-track player, sooner or later you may want to upgrade the sound system. Taking the car to a sound system professional from the start of the project can help you quickly narrow down what sort of upgrades you want to make, as well as getting it installed.
- Gas: While most gas stations are self service these days, most towns have at least one full service station somewhere. Letting someone else handle pumping the gas can let you manage a few more minutes on something else. Some errands services will also make arrangements to pick up your car and fill the tank.
- Recalls: While recalls aren’t particularly common, they are very important to know about. DriverSide will automatically notify you of recalls related to your vehicle.
- Driving: Letting someone else drive you around may create images of a limousine in your mind, but there are often situations where having someone handle picking you up or dropping you off can save a lot of time — like at the airport. Many chauffeur and driver services will hand local drives for you.
- Drop-offs and Errands: A lot of driving is to run errands or even to simply drop something off somewhere else in town. A courier or errand service can easily handle such short excursions, allowing you to entirely avoid getting into your car sometimes.
- SVO and Other Conversions: Using straight vegetable oil (SVO) or other biofuels to operate your car is becoming more popular as more people move towards going green. While the mechanics able to complete the conversion are still somewhat rare, there are several, such as Greasecar, across the country that will take on converting certain kinds of cars.
- Find Low Gas Prices: Skip driving around to find cheap gas. GasBuddy maintains listings of the lowest gas prices throughout the U.S. and Canada.
- Selling a Car: There are faster was to sell a car than listing it in the classifieds. While some used car dealerships will take your car on consignment, you can also list it yourself with sites like Yahoo! Autos.
- Valuing a Car: Kelley Blue Book has been the authority when it comes to determining the value of a used vehicle. You no longer have to track down a copy of the book, though: the Kelley Blue Book website will offer you the information you need.
- Buying a Car: The hardest part of buying a new car is comparing the many different makes and models out there. There are a number of different websites that offer up comparisons, allowing you to see the pros and cons of each vehicle at a glance. One such site is MotorMouths.
- Sourcing New Parts: Trying to find some of the more obscure parts for cars used to be a lengthy process. However, sites like CarParts.com allow you to search by make, model, and just about any information you could have when trying to find that new car. They’ll even ship the part wherever you want.
- Managing Gas Prices: Witht he ups and downs of gas prices, it’s important to be able to track both what gas you use and what you’re spending. You can manage your fuel with tools like the FuelGauge iPhone app and even control your spending with gas gift cards or credit cards.
- Insurance: In most states, there is at least a minimum insurance requirement for drivers. There are two different approaches to streamlining your insurance. Either pick an agent to handle all of your insurance needs, or get quotes online from different sites.
- Finding a Mechanic: Rather than trying to get recommendations from friends and neighbors on mechanics in your area, GarageSeek can provide you with specific reviews of mechanics and garages allowing you to quickly narrow the field to a mechanic you can trust.
- Finding Other Transportation: Depending on your location, finding another form of transportation may be as simple as searching for transportation in your city — the public transport system almost always will come up. Many public transport systems have started to become involved with Twitter and other social media, so you can get up-to-the-minute reports on delays.
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