We may not all have the colossal garages and beautiful automobile collections of some of our favorite celebrities, but we love our cars all the same. The car is our modern day horse; our trusted mode of transportation with which we develop unspoken bonds out on the road. Of course, our cars can end up costing us quite a bit as well. Everything from maintenance to gas to insurance depletes our bank accounts every month. If we’re not careful, auto repair bills can start to pile up quicker than we can pay them. Luckily, there are a few great ways to save money on common car expenses.

The first things to look at are your tires. Many people don’t realize this, but car tires are designed for optimal performance at a certain pressure level. Too little air in your tires reduces the pressure and causes them to sag and flex, which increases rolling resistance. This amounts to more drag on your car and higher consumption of gas. When your tires are not properly inflated, the engine has to work overtime to push the car forward. Keep a pressure gauge in your glove compartment and check all of your tires once a week to ensure they’re at the recommended pressure level to save money on gas.

Lots of the most common mechanic jobs are actually relatively simple tasks that you can do on your own. Your car has a few filtration systems that are set in place to keep the engine clean. Most notably you have an air filter and an oil filter. Changing these periodically extends the life of your engine, keeping it clean and efficient. Changing an air filter is one of the easiest jobs you can do for your car, and often doesn’t even require any tools. Changing oil and the oil filter is slightly more involved, but can easily be done on a free afternoon. Regular attention to these things will help keep your car out of the shop.

Many motorists are intimidated by all but the most simple maintenance jobs for their cars, but in fact most of them are within your scope. Even working on brakes can be done at home with just a little know-how and a few tools. Brake pads are relatively simple to replace once you know what to look for, and understanding the way brake bleeders work to keep hydraulic fluids working optimally can help you improve your car’s braking performance dramatically. Before heading to the mechanic, look up how to do these things yourself.

Remember, your car mechanic isn’t a magician, and he’s not endowed with any superhuman powers that allow him to fix cars. He simply has more tools and knowledge about cars than you. You can save yourself a bundle on these common car expenses by learning a little about how cars work and putting your knowledge to practical use. You’ll find yourself making less trips to the mechanic and extending the life of your car at the same time.