Half-Price Horsepower: 8 Ways to Cut Down on Your Car Ownership Costs
Whether you’re interested in buying a used car or getting a brand new one, we know that you want to save as much money as possible on the costs of ownership.
Maybe you’ve had your current car for a while, and need to figure out the top ways you can cut down on auto expenses that just keep adding up.
Ready to learn how to keep more of your hard-earned money instead of forking it over to the mechanic or your car loan provider?
If so, then read on.
You might be surprised by just how easy it is to save.
1. Shop Smart
When you want the best car for the money, there are a few things to keep in mind while you’re shopping.
First of all, take a look at the fuel economy of the car — this can save you thousands in the long run. If possible, buy a car that uses regular fuel, as the price of premium gas can quickly add up.
Focus on depreciation, too. Many people overlook this, but the harsh reality is that depreciation makes up about 40% of your car’s total cost.
Consider buying a more affordable car, and whether or not you truly need all of those fancy features. Take a look at the resale value of the car you’re considering buying to see what it might be worth down the line.
2. Proper Maintenance Matters
So many of your car expenses are related to maintenance in some way.
But the truth is that regularly performing proper car maintenance can help you save more than you’ll spend in the end.
If your car isn’t in good shape, you’ll end up burning through gas much faster than you normally would. Make sure you switch out the oil and filter at least once every 3,000 miles. Rotate your tires, check the tire pressure, and always inspect your air filter.
Above all, if you hear a strange noise or feel like something is “off” about your car, don’t ignore it. The problem will only get worse — and likely more expensive.
3. Watch Your AC
We know you likely love cranking up the AC in your car — but it can seriously cost you.
First of all, stop turning on your heating or cooling system when your car is idling. This can save you on gas and overall fuel efficiency.
This doesn’t mean you have to be uncomfortable, but save your AC or heat for when you really need it.
A final tip?
Rolling down the car’s windows isn’t always the best way to save. In some cases, running your AC may actually be more cost-effective. The wind creates a serious drag on your car when you ride with the windows down — hurting your mileage and the car itself.
4. Consider Carpooling
We know that you’re tired of spending what feels like half your paycheck on gas.
Talk to your coworkers, other parents, and even friends and family members about carpooling.
It’s not just about saving gas money.
Carpooling also extends the overall life of your car, because you’re driving it less. It also helps to keep your car’s mileage low — which lowers your overall accident risk. That might mean cheaper car insurance. And speaking of…
5. Get the Right Insurance
When you’re looking to save on car expenses, sacrificing your insurance isn’t an option.
However, taking your time and doing the research to get the best cheap car insurance can save you hundreds of dollars a year.
Also look for an insurance company that offers flexible payment plans, as well as a fast approval time.
We suggest working with a company that collects different quotes from various insurance providers, and then sends you the best options. Above all, know how much insurance you truly need.
6. Refinance Your Car Loans
Loan repayments can be the priciest part of car ownership — but they don’t have to be.
If you’re still shopping for your car, remember that the dealer might not offer the lowest rate. Consider working with a bank or another independent lender to get the best deal.
See if refinancing your loan is a good option for you. Especially if you’ve strengthened your credit, you could be paying much less than you are right now.
7. Save on Gas
Carpooling isn’t the only way to slash your gas expenses.
Always pump gas on your own, because self-service is a much cheaper option. Resist the urge to top off your tank, too. In many cases, the gas just ends up overflowing, meaning that you’re throwing your money away.
When possible, don’t drive with lots of weight in the car, as this decreases your fuel economy. Finally, make sure you stick to the speed limit. Driving too fast for long periods of time drains your car of gas.
Plus, we’re pretty sure you don’t want to pay for a speeding ticket.
8. Use Common Sense
Managing the cost of car ownership is all about common sense.
Combine as many errands as you can into one trip. Read through a few owner’s manuals and DIY car repair blogs to see if you can handle basic fixes on your owns.
Study up on your car’s dashboard, so you can spot the warning signs of a potential problem. Learn how to check tire pressure, fluid levels, and more yourself to save on the cost of a mechanic.
Need Additional Help with Car Ownership?
Now that you know how to lower the cost of your car ownership, what’s next?
Maybe you need assistance troubleshooting your vehicle. Perhaps you’re considering buying a new car, and want to get a bit more information about some of your favorite makes and models.
In some cases, you may even want to try your hand at DIY auto repair.
We can help you with all that and more.
Check out our collection of auto repair manuals, maintenance tips, and more to ensure that your car stays in tip-top shape.