This article provides many useful tips on reducing your automobile expenses. One easy way to have more money is to reduce your living expenses. Thus by using a little time and effort, you can save money that otherwise might be spent needlessly.
Reduce auto gasoline costs
Condition of the auto — Keep your car as light as possible. Don’t carry around excess baggage in your car. Don’t leave items in racks on top of your car. They will increase your gas consumption.
By keeping your car properly tuned, you can save money on gasoline and on future maintenance.
Keeping your tires inflated at the recommended pressure will save on gasoline. If you have a new auto, the recommended tire pressure should be in the owner’s manual. If you have an older car, you should use the pressure recommended by the tire manufacturer. You probably can get this information from a local tire store.
Driving habits — Sudden stops and Jackrabbit starts use more gas. This driving style is also apt to wear out your car faster. This would require more frequent maintenance and possibly even major repairs.
Don’t speed. This uses a lot more gasoline than traveling at moderate speeds.
Using your cruise control on long highway trips can save on gasoline.
Reduce gasoline expense/usage — Don’t warm up your car engine by letting your car sit while the engine is running. This uses up a lot of gasoline. It’s better to drive at a moderate speed until the engine warms up.
Get a locking gasoline cap if you don’t already have one. This can prevent the theft of your gasoline.
Use the cheapest octane rating of gasoline that doesn’t make your engine knock. At least, don’t pay for an octane rating higher than recommended in your owner’s manual.
Reduce the use of your auto — Instead of using your car for short trips, consider walking or putting off the trip until you can run several errands at one time.
Use car-pooling or take a bus when possible and practical.
When you want to treat yourself to an entertainment or a good meal, you can arrange to do those activities at home.
You might want to consider whether going on a long trip is really worth the expense.
Instead of going on a vacation in some other state or country, maybe you can enjoy yourself just as well in a nearby city.
Reduce auto insurance costs
Save money on insurance premiums — Increasing the amount of your deductibles will lower the insurance premiums. Ask for all the discounts you are entitled to receive. Insurance companies also may give lower rates to people with good credit ratings.
Consider dropping the comprehensive and collision coverage on your car if you own it free and clear and it isn’t worth very much. Also, consider dropping add-ons that you rarely use, such as towing coverage.
You can usually save money on insurance by not going through the dealer where you bought the car. The dealer usually gets a commission on this insurance, which increases its cost.
Relax when you drive. Don’t become a victim of road rage, it might lead to an accident and hurt your insurance cost.
You might also save on auto insurance by having your home insurance and your auto insurance with the same company.
When buying insurance for your teenage children, it usually will be less expensive to add them to the parent’s insurance policy. Many insurance companies will give lower rates to teenagers who have taken student driver training in high school. It is also important for both parents and teenagers to have a good driving record.
When not to have high deductibles — You may want low deductibles, which increase your insurance premiums, if you don’t have the resources to cover a high deductibles amount in case of an accident.
Another reason you may want low deductibles is if any inexperienced drivers are covered by the policy. They increase the odds of having an accident with your vehicle.
However, if you have a lease or loan secured by your vehicle then the lease company or loan company may not allow high deductibles on the collision and comprehensive insurance they require.
Reduce auto repairs and maintenance
Always follow the recommended maintenance schedule for your auto. Keep a schedule of the maintenance you have had performed. Then you will know when the next service is required. In this way, you won’t forget an item. Moreover, you won’t pay for a particular service before it’s needed.
For routine maintenance, you can probably save money by going to a specialized service chain like Oil Can Henry’s. When getting an oil change, don’t pay for expensive oil unless your car engine needs it.
However, if you have a serious problem with your vehicle, it’s probably better to bring it to a dealer’s repair shop. Also, if your auto is under warranty, you need to have certain work done by a certified mechanic. Check out the requirements of your warranty.
When you purchase tires or have any repairs that come with a warranty, keep the receipt and warranty in an envelope in your glove box. Add the date and terms of the warranty to your log of maintenance work done. If you have a Costco membership, this is probably a good place to buy your car tires.
Some experts recommend getting an oil change every 3,000 miles, regardless of what the owner’s manual recommends. This might make sense for a new auto, but it probably doesn’t help much for an older car.
Fix problems while they are just starting. Don’t wait until you have a big repair bill. Winterize your car before the rush starts. You don’t want to be caught in an unexpected freeze or snow.
Maintenance jobs you can probably do yourself:
- Check the fluid levels for coolant, oil, power steering fluid, and windshield washer fluid
- Maintain the proper tire pressure
- Purchase and change the windshield wiper blades
- Purchase and replace one of the new high-intensity headlight bulbs
- Wash and wax your car
Reduce other auto expenses
Purchase a car breakdown or survival kit and keep it in your car trunk. It should contain things like flashlights with fully charged batteries, emergency tire inflator, towrope, battery jumper cables, common tools for working on autos, emergency flares, pads for driving over snow or ice, and first aid kit. Also, you may want to have a pre-paid cell phone. These items may let you save money by avoiding towing charges, or will let you call a towing company when you really need help.
Avoid using toll roads when possible and practical.