Unless you live in an area that is well-served by a public transportation network, a vehicle is an expense that most people would deem necessary. Owning a car gives you the freedom to move from one place to the next without too much thought or planning. All you need to do is pick up your keys and leave. Although this is a great convenience, it doesn’t come cheap.
Your car can be a real money pit. If you happen to be one of the two extreme types of car owners; namely those who love their cars or those who neglect their cars, the situation can be even worse. Take a look at the top 10 ways to save money on car expenses, so your car will not absorb too much of your monthly budget:
1. Keep it Tuned
It is much cheaper to pay for a tune-up than it is to repair a major engine problem. Regularly schedules visits to a mechanic can usually catch problems before they become cost prohibitive.
2. Check Your Tire Pressure Regularly
Properly inflated tires are not just safer, they last longer, which means that you will have to replace them less often. Tires that are at the right pressure also use less gas because there is les drag on the engine.
3. Rotate Your Tires
Generally speaking you should rotate your tires once a year. Rotating your tires spreads out the wear and tear on your tire and it also helps to balance the suspension and can prevent the wear down of your shocks. Suspension and shock repairs can be very expensive so the negligible cost of rotating your tires is well worth it.
4. Use the Right Type of Fuel
There is no point in using a higher grade of fuel than your car requires. If you think that you are treating your car by doing this you are really just wasting money, because your car’s engine was built to withstand a certain octane level and paying for a grade of gas with fewer octanes is not going to make it perform any better.
5. Drive at a Steady Pace
If you are a jerky driver, regularly speeding up and then slowing down you are using more gas than you need to. Driving at an even pace with reduce your fuel consumption and save you money.
6. Check Your Fluid Levels
You can save hundreds of dollars a year by regularly checking your car’s fluid levels. Clutch fluid, power steering and radiator fluid, transmission fluid and brake fluid all need to be attended to. It is best to check your owner’s manual to see how often they need to be changed and keep a record of when you changed them last.
7. Compare Gas Prices at Competing Stations
Different gas stations have different prices on fuel. It helps to be observant about the price difference and spend less on gas at the pump.
8. Find Ways to Save on Insurance
Make sure your insurance agent deducts all the discounts you are eligible for and you can also ask for more ideas on lowering your insurance cost. You may be able to increase your deductible to lower your annual cost.
9. Practice Efficient Driving
Car pooling reduces the wear on your vehicle by sharing the burden of driving with others. You can also save on gas if you plan your driving routes carefully and bundle trips so you can get more done with less trips to and fro.
10. Take Care of Windshield Knicks and Cracks Immediately
Leaving a small crack on your windshield might be a big mistake. Small cracks can be sealed for next to nothing but replacing a windshield is incredibly expensive.
Car ownership doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars every year. There are lots of way to be smart about the money you spend on car expenses, you just need to think ahead and weigh the costs and benefits of your actions.