For those of us who are lucky to live in a big city where public transportation is convenient, owning a car may not be a necessity. However, for the rest of us, getting to work would be nearly impossible without one. Not to mention, running errands, like picking up groceries and taking the kids to their after-school activities would take way longer than they should.
For most of us, the cost of owning a car is just something that has to be added to our monthly budget. That doesn’t mean your car has to take over your budget!
There are ways to save on the cost of car ownership if you know where to look.
1. Reduce Insurance Costs
One of the biggest impacts you can have on the cost of owning your vehicle is your car insurance. Costs can vary widely for many different reasons, providing you with multiple opportunities to save.
First, if you’re in the market for a new vehicle, choose what you buy wisely. Car Insurance 101 recommends a Mini Cooper because, “A Mini Cooper costs, on average, about $1,250 per year to insure. This makes it quite affordable, especially when compared to other imported sub-compact cars. The vehicle’s safety and economy helps keep premiums low, and the car attracts a fairly low-risk driver demographic when compared to high-performance muscle cars.”
It isn’t just the kind of car you drive that impacts your insurance. There are other ways to save that include adding additional safety features to your vehicle, and demonstrating that you’re a safe driver over time.
2. Change Your Driving Habits
Most of us think very little about how we drive a car. We follow the rules of the road and that’s enough! It’s enough to keep you safe on the road, but you could be causing costly damage to your car.
For example, if you regularly slam on your brakes, you will wear down your brakes and pads more quickly. That means you’ll have to dish out hundreds of dollars sooner rather than later on replacements. Push your brakes gently, giving yourself plenty of time to stop instead.
Other tips include making sure you’re completely stopped before shifting into reverse and slowing down for potholes and speed bumps.
3. Follow Your Car’s Maintenance Schedule
Oil changes and filling your tires up with air are easy things to avoid doing. Only, you could end up avoiding them until you have more serious, and more costly, car repairs in your near future.
It is important to follow your car’s maintenance schedule. That doesn’t necessarily mean you follow your mechanic’s maintenance schedule. It’s standard to remind car owners to come back in for maintenance every 3,000 miles, but your particular model may not need an oil change until 7,500 miles. It’s best to look at your owner’s manual and stick to the schedule that is recommended by the manufacturer.
4. Don’t Ignore a Repair
Owning a car will always come with repairs. Some repairs cost more than others, but it’s never a good idea to put them off. The longer you put off car repairs, the more they will cost.
A few examples of car repairs you shouldn’t ignore include replacing:
• Faulty windshield wipers, as a dirty windshield can inadvertently cause an accident.
• A broken windshield, as it can become dislodged during an accident.
• Your tires, as worn or underinflated tires can be hard on your suspension.
• The timing belt, so a broken belt doesn’t damage the engine.
5. Find Ways to Save on Gas
When most people think of saving money on owning a vehicle, figuring out how to save gas comes to mind first, and with good reason! It’s one area of car ownership that you have a lot of control over.
A few tips for saving on gas include:
• Drive steady, and avoid braking or accelerating when you can.
• Make your car more aerodynamic by keeping the windows up and removing exterior racks.
• Know where to get the best deal on gas by using a gas finder app.
• Choose the best route to your destination.
• Choose the highway or interstate over in-town driving.
• Warm up your car on a cold morning for no longer than one minute.
Just because you have to own a car to get around doesn’t mean you have to spend an arm and a leg! You can keep the costs of owning a vehicle well within your budget by following the tips on this list.