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6 Ways to Avoid Paying Stupid Tax

6 Ways to Avoid Paying Stupid Tax

Stupid Tax: a fine for a dumb mistake or failure to act.  We all make mistakes, but these are some of the most common avoidable mistakes that people make with their cars. Hopefully, it will help you avoid them in the future.

oil change1.     Not Getting an Oil Change

Oil is one of the most important things your car needs to keep your engine cool and lubricated. Lack of lubrication on your engine from low or deteriorated oil generally causes two main issues in extreme cases:

  • The timing chain may break and cause additional damage to related parts of the vehicle.
  • It could also cause damage the main bearings, which is the kiss of death for your engine!

What you could have paid – $30, for an oil change.

Stupid Tax: $3,000 -$5,000, to repair any damage to your engine.

2.     Ignoring the Overheating Warning Light on Your Car:

If your car is overheating you should pull over right away and allow it to cool down. You might even want to pay for a tow truck to take it to a shop.

If you don’t:

  • You could ruin your engine.  If your engine gets too hot then your oil can no longer lubricate the metal components properly.
  • Depending on the type of engine, you can melt parts or damage a main bearing, break a timing chain, or damage the seal to the piston rings. These are all really costly repairs!

What you should have paid: $0 – $150, if you would have just taken the time to let your engine cool down or paid for a tow truck, you could have saved thousands.

Stupid Tax: $3,000 -$5,000, to repair any damage to your engine.

drunk driving3.     Drinking and Driving:

You’re going to pay in all kinds of ways if you get caught drinking and driving!  Not only will you have to pay a lot of fines, you could kill someone, lose your job, spend time in jail, or all of the above. You will also have to pay more in car insurance. According to,  “Call it DWI or DUI, a drunken driving violation will hike your insurance costs more than any other, likely as much as 25 percent, says Hunter, a former Texas insurance commissioner.” It’s worth the cash and slight inconvenience of paying for a cab or a parking ticket.

What you could have paid: $5 – $100, the cost of a taxi or a parking ticket.

Stupid Tax: $1,000 – $14,000, a DUI will probably cost you thousands of dollars when it’s all said and done. It could also cost you your job, driver’s license, and raise your insurance costs. These expenses will all seem minor if you hurt or kill yourself or someone else.

4.     Not Keeping the Proper Paperwork in Your Car:

Getting pulled over is never fun or cheap, but you are definitely going to pay extra if you do not have your proper paperwork on hand. Sometimes, even if your paperwork is in the car, you need to make sure you can find it quickly or you may run into problems (and if your glove box is a mess of papers like ours, you know what we are talking about). Spending a little time and a few dollars on organizing your paperwork in your car can save you time and stress if you need to get to it in a pinch. Not having proof of insurance, a driver license, or an up-to-date registration with you in your car will cost you even more!

What you should have paid: $0

Stupid Tax: $75 – $1000, plus community service or jail time (depending on your state).

5.     Not Getting a Proper Diagnosis:

Trying to save money up front by taking your car to an under-qualified technician doesn’t always pay off.  You may end up paying more if they cannot complete your repair, complete the wrong repair, or cause more repairs. You are better off going to someone you can trust to give you a proper diagnosis and fix your car. A quality technician may cost more upfront, but if you have a complex repair, you are probably going to end up there anyway!

What you could have paid: $100, for a proper diagnosis or nothing if you read our article about how to get a free diagnostic at a dealership!

Stupid Tax: $100 – $3,000, the cost of any unnecessary repairs or damage by not getting the diagnostic correct in the first place.

coupons6.     Not Taking Advantage of Coupons:

A little research before you head to the shop or dealership can save you a lot of money over time. Most places have coupons on their websites. If you know the brand of parts that your dealership or shop uses, you can also search the web for coupons offered by the part manufacturer. Check it out and you can save some cash.

What you should have paid: $10 – $100, less than you did!

Stupid Tax – $10-$100                    


About The Author

Pedals and Pumps

PedalsandPumps provides direct, honest information about car maintenance and repair. We provide money and time saving tips for readers who want to maximize their dollar and simplify their auto owning experience.


If you have lost a cap on your tire inflation valve, mention it at your next oil change and the technician will probably replace it for your for free. More ways to tell if you have a tire pressure issue.