by Susan Paige
Did you know that the average cost of car ownership in 2-car Australian homes is over $15,000 a year? That’s 15K in fuel, insurance, car payments, and repairs.
If you want to save money on car expenses, then read on for our top 10 tips to reduce vehicle costs today.
1. Shop Small
The smaller the car, the lower the cost. When shopping for a new car, try to buy the smallest model that you’ll need.
Not only is the cost typically lower, but your gas mileage will also usually be better because smaller cars weigh less. Insurance is often less expensive for sedans than SUVs and trucks.
2. Explore Fuel Options
A great way to save money on car expenses is to explore alternative fuel options. While hybrid and electric vehicles often cost more outright, drivers enjoy huge savings on gas. If you plan on keeping your car for longer than the loan period, then shopping for alternative fuel vehicles won’t just benefit the environment, but your wallet too.
3. Apply for a Loan to Pay for Car Expenses
An unavoidable risk with car ownership is unforeseen expenses. And regardless of your car insurance, some repairs can break the bank.
But did you know, that when you’re in a pinch for cash, you can actually take out a loan against your car? Many people don’t know that you can use your car as collateral for a small loan to help get cash fast.
If your car is fully paid off, you may be eligible for this type of loan. And the best part is you don’t have to have perfect credit, you don’t have to provide employment history, and you can get cash fast.
If you need cash fast, a title loan might be for you.
4. Buy Used
New cars lose a lot of value the minute they drive off the dealership lot. So one of the best ways to save money when buying a car is to buy a used vehicle. Even if it’s just one year old, you can save several thousand dollars.
Dealerships and manufacturers know that consumers will pay top dollar to take a brand new car off the lot, so they charge more. Buying a used car that’s less than 4 years old with a clean title provides a lot of the same benefits of a new car but at a much lower price.
Depending on the age and mileage, some used vehicles may still fall under manufacturer warranty. You’re also less likely to encounter major repairs due to wear and tear.
5. Stay Away From Dealership Warranties
Dealerships love to sell extended warranties by adding “a few dollars a month” to your loan. The reality is that it adds several thousand dollars to the cost of your loan, and doesn’t provide much benefit.
The extended dealership warranties often cover parts that don’t need maintenance or replacement until long after the warranty expires. It’s a way for dealerships to make easy money by playing off your fear of major car problems.
A far more effective and inexpensive option is to perform regular maintenance as directed by the owner’s manual.
6. Keep Your Car for Longer
The thought of getting a new car every few years by trading in is a tempting option, but it’s costly. Instead, keep your car for the full length of the loan and then enjoy having no car payment at all.
Car values depreciate quickly, so trading in often means you lose a lot of money on the trade-in-value offered by dealerships.
7. Perform Regular Maintenance
The best way to avoid unexpected and expensive repairs is to perform the regular, recommended maintenance that is provided by your car’s owner’s manual.
It will provide a perfect guide for when to change fluids and parts as well as the estimated life of certain systems.
By doing the regular maintenance, you’ll avoid a lot of secondary repairs and have a clearer idea of when to anticipate replacing the major systems. Repairs become less of a surprise and more expected.
8. Tire Tips
Having the proper tires on your vehicle will ensure that you’re getting the best gas mileage possible. Using extra wide or performance tires can cause drag and reduce your fuel efficiency.
Underinflated tires can also cause reduced fuel efficiency. Many tire shops provide free rotation and inflation when you purchase tires through them.
Make sure to take advantage of their services at regular 2-3 month intervals. Well, inflated and rotated tires can save you money on repairs and new tires.
9. Save on Insurance
There are some easy ways to save on car insurance that takes little more than asking. Let your insurance agent know about all the safety features on your vehicle. The more safety features, the less liable they become so, the less your premium.
Non-smokers and non-drinkers can also often score a lower premium.
Many agencies offer programs that allow you to attach a monitor to your vehicle for a short period of time. It monitors your driving habits and speed. If the monitor finds you to be a safe, cautious driver, you can also receive further discounts.
10. Use Public Transport
While it may seem obvious, using public transport as often as possible will save you a lot of money on car-related expenses. Not only are you paying for less fuel, but you’re also reducing the wear and tear on your vehicle, thus preventing repairs. An added bonus is that public transportation is environmentally responsible and can allow you to multitask during your commute.
Drive to the Beat of Your Own Drum
Saving money on car expenses isn’t rocket science. It’s a matter of shopping smart and performing regular maintenance.
For more tips on cars and savings, visit our blog today!