One of the worst practices you can adopt considering car care is putting off maintenance. For example, maybe you notice there is a little antifreeze in the driveway. If it's just a leak, you could need a new hose, which doesn't cost too much money, but put the problem off for later and you could need an entirely new engine block.

Experts say that repairing damage as soon as you notice it can be much cheaper and can avoid causing other parts in the car to fail. Car owners should be familiar with their owners manual, as it contains all the data necessary to keeping a car running.

"If it says to have your timing belt done at 60,000 miles, then you really seriously need to have your timing belt done at 60,000 miles," Consumer Reports automotive engineer Shawn Sinclair said. "There is a reason why they put that in there. They have done the research and they know that at 60,000 miles, this engine needs a timing belt."

The question remains where is the best place to go for maintenance repairs: Back to the dealership or to independent mechanic? Robert Sinclair, AAA New York's director of media relations says that if your car is still under its warranty than take it to the dealership, but if the warranty has expired, cheaper independent mechanics are the ideal choice.

Sinclair adds that there are many places you can find reviews on independent mechanics because it is important finding one you can trust. Furthermore, Sinclair said that many simple repairs can be done on your own. Not only does this save money and time, but if you get in the habit of doing repairs on your own, your car will remain up to date, saving it from major damage down the road.

The easiest repairs that require little tools or mechanical aptitude and maybe an internet reference include fixing a headlight bulb, oil, air filters, windshield wipers, brake pads, radiator flush, spark plugs, fuel gage sensor and the auto battery connection.

"There are step by step videos on there or photo montages on how to do these simple items and that can go a long way to saving you money," Sinclair said.

That extra cash can be put toward filling up at the pump for a nice vacation.