With the gas prices going through a roller coaster ride, it is good to be judicious when it comes to spending money on your car. You don’t want to take car financial advice from the show Pimp My Ride that is for sure!
You can save a considerable amount by reducing costs on maintenance, insurance, and several other areas. These 11 tips will help you cut down your car costs.
Maintain Your Car
This is probably the best way to get the most out of your vehicle without spending too much. Be diligent about timely car service and repairs to keep your vehicle running longer with minimal breakdowns and higher fuel efficiency.
As per statistics, 59% Americans prefer to get the most out of their current car before shopping for a new one. Though if your car looks like Saul Goodman’s in Better Call Saul you may want to consider purchasing an upgrade and make sure the door matches the color of the rest of the car!
Reduce Your Fuel Consumption
There are multiple ways you can lower your car’s fuel consumption. Minimize the load whenever possible. Drive consistently at an average speed as far you can. Make sure you ease your way into acceleration and always hit the brakes gradually way before time. The correct tire pressure is also critical to saving fuel costs.
It is amazing how many people want to hurry up to stop at a red light. Dam people are dumb! If the light is red or if there is a train why not just coast up to that point? Why race forward and then slam on the breaks?
Downgrade Your Insurance
Insurance is not about wasting money on unnecessary coverage. It is about making sure you have the coverage you need when you need it most. Reassess your insurance to stop wasting money on extras and overhead. Say no GEICO! GEICO has some cool commercials but they will raise costs on you for no reason.
State Farm is awesome – they do the opposite. They actually lower your costs since your car is depreciating.
Car insurance is critical to owning a car. For instance, you may consider dropping comprehensive and collision coverage if your car is old and past its prime.
Do not Fall for Repair Traps
According to CarRecycle, most repair and service stations encourage changing car oil every 3,000 miles. However, this rule of thumb does not apply anymore. In fact, most cars on the streets today can go up to 15,000 miles without requiring an oil change.
There are many other areas related to maintenance where service people try to milk money off of you. Check manufacturer recommendations and do not believe everything your local, trusted car dealership tells you. You should also consider obtaining a second opinion whenever there is any major repair or service expense.
Though if you have a car mechanic you can trust you can avoid some headache and save time.
Complete Defensive Driving Courses
Many states have pre-requisites to car insurance. You can cut your insurance coverage payment by 10% upon successful completion of these courses. Accident-prevention courses make you a safe driver in the long run.
It is recommended to take part in the online course to avoid unnecessary trips to a local driving school. As per reports, drivers reduced their risk of accidents by 15% after taking a defensive driving course.
You can avoid a potential accident and save massive repair costs. You can also attain some discounts by your insurance provider the next time you renew your car insurance policy.
Think After-Sales Expense
You might find the car of your dreams to be within budget. However, have you checked the after-sale expenses such as maintenance and mileage?
Buying a car that is not within budget, is probably one of the biggest ways that drivers lose money. You might have your sights on the power-packed 4 wheel drive. However, a hatchback might make more sense in terms of fuel consumption.
Weigh the individual pros and cons while basing a purchase decision. Never jump into making a purchase based on instinct alone. Do not forget to factor in service costs, spare parts, and regular maintenance.
Shop for Best Rates
Do your homework before visiting a dealer. There are a number of online websites where you can get the latest car rates. If you are financing your car, then apply for online loans or pre-approved loans. Dealers are notorious for taking consumers out for a ride.
Do not hesitate to shop for options even if you have a bad credit score. There are a number of avenues where you can obtain cheap loans even with a poor credit score.
Make sure to negotiate with a salesman to get the best deal. Go through all terms before finalizing a purchase to avoid being burdened with any unnecessary add-ons.
Maintain Your Car Yourself
Go through the owner’s manual and understand what your car needs and when. Dealers have a habit of up-charging customers by recommending a number of things. There are many easy DIY repairs and maintenance that can keep you out of dealerships.
For instance, you can change the air filter and save a minimum of $20 to $60 on the labor charge. You can handle other easy repairs as well such as replacing wiper blades or fuse lights. These small repairs can help you save upwards of $50 each time.
Bundle Insurance Policies
You can bring down the auto insurance rates by approximately 10% if you bundle your home mortgage and auto loan together. As per a study conducted by Consumer Reports involving 2 billion price quotes from over 700 insurance providers, the average customer gets to save $97 per year by bundling.
This is strictly for the average borrower. Your situation could warrant better savings. For instance, Michigan residents as per the same study saved $240 annually by combining the two which is almost as amazing as those stellar 2017 tax cuts for everyone who works.
Few insurance providers such as Progressive give great discounts if you are a good driver. All you need to do is let them install a device tracking your driving habits. Bad drivers are not penalized while the well-behaved ones are rewarded by up to $330.
Look for the Lowest Gas Prices
All fuel prices might appear the same psychologically. However, do not pass up ‘off-brand’ gas stations. Many indie gas stations are the first ones to slash the prices when crude oil rates drop. Just because a logo does not appear familiar, does not mean the savings are not legit.
You could also be overpaying for gas. Check the owner’s manual to see whether premium fuel is wasted on your car’s engine. It might run perfectly well on regular-grade fuel. You can save around 40 cents a gallon by not using the premium octane.
Ease Up on the Claim
If you are at fault, then you are at a risk of raising your premiums by 41% once you file a claim. Carefully consider whether the money you get by an insurance claim is worth the premium hike.
Generally, a minor collision only requires a few hundred dollars’ worth of repairs. You can check for some DIY fixes as well. For instance, you can have a scratch taken care of by using a quick drying spray/matching spray paint.