Cars are great! But they can also be expensive. So, learning a few useful tips to save money on car expenses should come in handy!
As car ownership statistics continue to rise, so do car maintenance costs!
Many are able to cut a big chunk of car expenses by using public transportation or riding the bike to work.
Still, driving will always remain the most comfy way to get around, not to mention a car offers you the flexibility the bus never will. It will also protect you when it rains!
So, here are some useful tips to help you save money on some of the major car expenses.
Useful tips to save money on these 9 car expenses
1. Buy used
Even though owning a new car is pretty ‘cool’, I still believe buying used is a better financial deal.
New cars depreciate a lot in time, not to mention their value drops real fast as soon as you begin driving your first miles.
Buying used is the biggest money saving tip when it comes to cars.
Unless owning a new vehicle is your ultimate dream, there really is no reason as to why you should pay a few extra thousands for a car that will decrease in value in a matter of weeks.
Buying a used car doesn’t mean you have to settle for the cheapest model you find. It simply means finding the best deal possible, by comparing mileage, usage, specs and features. And price!
2. Shop around for insurance
Even though it’s required by law, you shouldn’t rush into signing the first insurance policy you find!
Shop around for a few days, compare deals.
With our first car, we’ve made the mistake of signing the first contract we were offered, just because we were already familiar with the bank. We paid a lot for a policy that only covered the most basic requirements.
By shopping around, we’ve found more than 1 better deal. It only took a few minutes to use a price comparison website and find a pretty awesome insurance deal: for a much lower price, we got a lot more benefits!
Needless to say we switched insurance companies immediately and never looked back. Well, sometimes I still comparison shop, just to see if there’s even more money to be saved.
3. Learn how to drive efficiently
I know how someone telling you how to drive is like getting kicked in the nuts.
However, aggressive driving only leads to more fuel consumption, which leads to spending more money on you car.
Accelerating slower, driving at constant speed, anticipating slow-downs in order to avoid hitting the breaks hard will help reduce fuel costs.
Knowing when to shift gears helps too. For a diesel car, shifting gears when above 2,000 revs is ideal, and at 2,500 for cars running on petrol. Not only will this increase your car’s efficiency, but your filters ‘will thank you’ as well.
Some vehicles allow you to monitor your fuel consumption in real time. I’ve been doing it ever since I’ve found out our car has this option and it really has helped a lot!
4. Avoid turning on the AC
… when possible.
If the weather is hot, hot, hot, you probably want to crank up your car’s AC. Same goes for very cold weather.
However, if you can avoid using it, know you’re saving about 10% more fuel by opening the windows or wearing a sweater while driving.
5. Avoid idling
Did you know a car uses up fuel even when you don’t press the acceleration?
“Many drivers idle their vehicles unnecessarily, despite the knowledge that idling wastes fuel and results in increased fuel costs“, states a recent Argonne National Laboratory research.
So, next time you’re waiting for someone in your car, turn the engine off.
6. Comparison shop for fuel
It’s always better to keep a full tank, rather than an empty one.
Do some comparison shopping and see where you could get the best deal to fill up your tank!
We’ve discovered this gas station in our town that sells good quality fuel and their prices drop during the weekend. Guess which days of the week we’re usually filling up the tank.
7. Keep your tires in good condition
Proper tire pressure also has a positive impact on fuel consumption.
Check them regularly to make sure the pressure is just right and that they’re in overall good condition. If they’re too used up or you notice flaws or anything suspicious, make sure you change them in order to stay safe on the road.
8. Wash the car yourself
While letting someone else wash and detail your car sounds nice, taking care of this yourself could save you some money. Especially, if you wash your car ever few weeks.
If you have your own driveway or backyard where you could do this, fill a bucket with water and hose your car down yourself, for free.
If this isn’t a possibility for you, find an affordable car wash.
We’ve found one a few miles away where we wash the car ourselves, for only $3. It’s cheap, they offer access to the tools & shampoo needed to get things done and, besides, washing your own car should be fun!
9. Check your air filter often
A dirty air filter leads to a reduced engine life and more fuel consumption.
Checking it on a regular basis doesn’t cost you a thing, and you can even attempt to clean it by yourself if it’s not too filthy.
If it needs to be replaced though, buy a new one. You’ll make a small investment now that will save you money in the future.
Now, all you need to do in order to save even more is maintain your car properly (annual check-ups, regular inspections, etc) and avoid getting fined!
What are your own favorite tips to save money on car expenses?