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Consumer Alert: Avoid costly car repairs

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A regular check of the engine cane prevent some expensive repairs. (Source: 3TV) A regular check of the engine cane prevent some expensive repairs. (Source: 3TV)
Replacing the cabin air filter regularly can prevent particles from damaging the engine.Replacing the cabin air filter regularly can prevent particles from damaging the engine. (Source: 3TV) Replacing the cabin air filter regularly can prevent particles from damaging the engine.Replacing the cabin air filter regularly can prevent particles from damaging the engine. (Source: 3TV)
Checking and replacing the timing belt cars are steps to avoid paying big time down the road. (Source: 3TV) Checking and replacing the timing belt cars are steps to avoid paying big time down the road. (Source: 3TV)
Rotating the drivers can make them last longer and prevent them from getting flats. (Source: 3TV) Rotating the drivers can make them last longer and prevent them from getting flats. (Source: 3TV)
(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

The average monthly payment for a new car is right around $480.

And for some, there isn't a lot of wiggle room when it comes when that car needs to be repaired.

But AAA’s Travis Mock says you can avoid pricey repairs if you just stay on top of regular maintenance. 

"Cars are an investment. They just cost money," Mock said.

Every day, thousands of motorists hit the road, and it doesn’t take long for the miles to rack up. With that in mind, auto repairs can sometimes creep up, but the experts say those repairs don't have to be painful.

"A little bit of maintenance goes a long way," Mock said. 

He claims many repairs can be avoided or at least put off if we just pay more attention to our vehicles. But sometimes that can be difficult because newer vehicles don't get eyeballed quite as often.

“Now you have cars that can go 5,000, to 10,000 miles between oil changes," Mock said. 

AAA recently put out their list of Top 10 maintenance items most frequently skipped by motorists and fluids are the top 3 on the list. In fact, 88 percent of motorists don't check their brake fluid, 81 percent never check their transmission fluid and 77 percent fail to check their coolant.

But Mock says that's not all.

"This is the cabin air filter," Mock said.  

Mock says not replacing a $30 cabin air filter can ultimately cost you a $300 repair job down the road.

"The cabin air filter, for instance, it gets enough debris on there that debris will actually escape that filter, get inside of the blower motor assembly and potentially damage that component," Mock said.

Failing to replace your timing belt is also a big no, no. Motorists who do so take a big risk.

"If this breaks, the pistons and valves collide inside the engine and often times you're looking at a new engine or a new cylinder head. So this, which is a few hundred dollar repair, turns into several through dollars," Mock said.  

Mock says failing to rotate your tires and not checking your battery also made the list of most overlooked items.

"Unfortunately, if you don't do that ultimately it leads to an expensive failure. Often times when I've spoken to consumers, you know they just shrug their shoulders and say, 'Yeah, I just didn't do it,'" Mock said.  

For additional information about the AAA maintenance report, visit their website.

Copyright 2016 KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

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Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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