5 Tips to a Healthy Car This Spring

NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- On any car owner's to-do list this spring should be a five-point checklist to keep your vehicle running on all cylinders – literally.

Ignore the list, or any other comprehensive plan to keep your vehicle operating in an effective, efficient manner, and you’re risking a big payday – to the guys down at the garage.

That’s not going to help the household financial picture, which is already fraying at the edges in a downbeat economy. According to AAA, one in four Americans could not afford to pay a car repair bill of $2,000, and one in eight would have trouble paying a car repair bill of just $1,000.

Additionally, 25% of U.S. drivers say they have “neglected” maintenance and repairs on their cars and trucks, mainly for budget reasons.

"Economic conditions have taken their toll on many Americans resulting in them neglecting their cars and leaving them at increased risk for very expensive car repair bills," explains Marshall L. Doney, AAA vice president of automotive and financial services. "Many Americans rely on their cars for their livelihood and losing access to them could be financially devastating during an already troubling economic time."

"It's important for drivers to not only continue to maintain their vehicles, but also have a financial emergency plan in place should they be faced with a sudden unexpected auto repair bill," Doney says.

Auto services chain The Pep Boys - Manny, Moe & Jack (Stock Quote: PBY) is out to help, with a five-point checklist of car maintenance tasks that owners just can’t afford to avoid this spring.

Each should be a part of a thorough vehicle inspection that’s especially important come spring, even after unseasonably warm weather like most of the U.S. experienced in early 2012.