PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Looking for ways to cut corners in a tough economy? Well you may not want to start with your car. As 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan finds, saving a few dollars now, could cost you big bucks down the road.

A new survey from AAA finds the tough economy is driving some Americans to skimp on their vehicle maintenance. one in four car owners surveyed said they’ve neglected auto repairs or maintenance in the last 12 months. But skipping routine checks could end up being just as costly or worse. Cynthia Brough of AAA says, “If you choose to save pennies today it could cost you major dollars tomorrow. It also impacts the safety of your vehicle, so you are putting yourself and the passengers at risk.”

A small repair that balloons into a larger issue could be an even greater problem. One in four drivers also said if hit with an auto repair bill of $2,000 dollars or more, they simply couldn’t pay it. More than half said they’re holding on to an older vehicle until they can really afford a new one, which makes maintenance and driving habits even more crucial. According to Brough, “Drivers behavior is the most predominant impact, has the most predominant impact on the fuel efficiency in your vehicle.”

AAA recommends driving the speed limit and avoiding unnecessary acceleration to avoid burning fuel, saving you money at the pump, and reducing the risk of pricey traffic tickets and costly accidents.

Reported by Jim Donovan, CBS 3

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