How to Save Money on Your Car
Getting from Point A to Point B is a vital part of everyday life, and having a car is the easiest way to do so. Unfortunately, the price of a car is only the beginning.
Whether you lease or own your vehicle, the expenses of a car add up very quickly. Between gas, insurance, and unexpected incidents, this can be an incredible strain for an already-tight budget.
Luckily, there are actually quite a few steps you can take to save money on your car every month!
Keep up with regular maintenance
It can be tempting to save $40 and skip your oil change, or to say no to that $20 tire rotation. But sometimes you have to spend money to save money.
Neglecting regular maintenance will cause more wear and tear on your vehicle, and cost you even more on repairs in the future. For example, not having your oil changed will cause your engine parts to warp and wear out, eventually requiring a replacement. Installing a new engine costs anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000! Putting off a tire alignment will weaken your tires and lessen the control you have over the steering wheel. You could be forced to buy a new tire ($50 – $200), or worse wind up in a car accident. Skipping a vehicle inspection could elevate a minor issue to a massive and costly repair.
Standard practice is to have an oil change every 3,000 miles, and a tire rotation and balance every 6,000 miles. The easiest way to remember this is to get a tire rotation and balance every other time you go in for an oil change.
As much as it hurts to part with the cash now, the most budget-friendly thing you can do for your vehicle is to keep it in the best shape possible.
Wash your own car
Not only can this save you between $20 and $60 dollars at a car washing service (plus tip), but it’s fun! You can gather all your friends (and your cars) on a hot day and make an afternoon out of it.
Besides, you’ll probably do a much more thorough job of cleaning your own vehicle than a conveyor belt- style team that has 100 other cars to wash.
All you need is a hose, a sponge, some soap, and buckets!
Claim discounts on car insurance
You should always shop around for the most affordable car insurance rates before committing, but even once you are locked in there are a couple ways you can lessen your monthly bill.
For instance, if you are driving a much older vehicle you may consider dropping your collision and/or comprehensive coverage. It sounds risky, but oftentimes you wind up paying more in this coverage than your car is actually worth. Be sure to get detailed information on your car’s current value before pursuing this option.
Most insurance carriers also offer discounts if you rack up a particularly low mileage for the year, or if your car has heightened safety features such as motorized seat belts or anti-theft devices. The most common discounts, however, are usually reserved for students who maintain a high GPA and senior citizens.
If fall into either one of those categories, be sure to ask your insurance carrier about ways you can save!
Research fuel rewards programs
You already spend your hard earned money on gas, so why not stretch those dollars to their maximum potential?
Research fuel rewards programs at participating gas stations near you. Many programs will allow you to earn cash back or rewards every time you purchase gas.
Be a safe driver
This one seems obvious, but there is more than one way you’ll save by keeping your eyes on the road.
A ticket for speeding or reckless driving can have unexpected financial consequences. Not only will you need to pay for the actual ticket, but oftentimes if your car insurance finds out about it, they will raise your monthly rates.
A speeding ticket, for example, can result in an increase of 10 percent to your insurance premium, which can result in up to $80 more per month. This can double if you are involved in a car accident for which you are the cause.
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Never text and drive, never drink and drive, and always be alert behind the wheel. It pays to drive safe!