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Cut Your Car Expenses with These Money-Saving Tips

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After a home, a vehicle is most often the second largest purchase that people make. And while the costs don’t stop once you drive your car off the lot, using these tips on how to cut your expenses will help you keep the costs of car ownership down. 

tip on to save money on car costs

How to Save Money on Fuel

According to a 2018 US Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditures report, the average American spends around $1,500 a year on fuel, although that number varies significantly by vehicle type. That’s a lot of money to get you from point A to point B. Luckily there are a number of things you can do to keep your fuel costs down.

  1. Buy a car with good fuel economy.
  2. Get a car that uses regular fuel instead of premium.
  3. Stick with the recommended octane for your vehicle. Buying higher-grade gasoline than recommended for your vehicle won’t hurt your car, but it won’t help it either.
  4. Slow down. In addition to saving you money on possible speeding tickets, driving at or right under the speed limit helps you save on gas. In addition, while the optimal speed varies between vehicles, fuel efficiency generally starts to decrease once you go above 50 mph.
  5. Avoid aggressive driving. Flooring the gas pedal and slamming on your brakes eat up fuel. In fact, according to a study from the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, it could cost you as much as an extra $1 per gallon!
  6. Travel light. The more weight you have in your car, the lower your fuel efficiency will be. Even just an extra 100 pounds can hurt your fuel efficiency by 1%.
  7. Streamline Your Car – make your car more aerodynamic by avoiding open windows and cargo carriers on the roof of your car. If you must use one,  don’t leave it on longer than necessary. Rear-mounted storage options are much more efficient.
  8. Shop around for the cheapest gas. Use a gas app to help find the lowest prices around you.
  9. Avoid idling. Not only does it burn up fuel, but it’s also hard on the engine.
  10. Use cruise control on highways. Maintaining a constant speed saves gas.
  11. Use the proper oil. While a higher viscosity oil may not harm your car, it can decrease efficiency by as much as 2%.
  12. Take it easy on the air conditioning. Constantly running the AC can hurt fuel efficiency by as much as 25%. Try driving with the windows open for a few to remove hot air, then turn the AC on low.
  13. Keep your tires properly inflated, balanced, and aligned. In addition to fuel savings, this is also an important safety precaution.
  14. Join a fuel rewards program.
  15. Use credit cards that give cashback

How to Save Money on Car Maintenance

Maintenance and repairs are some of the most expensive parts of car ownership. And while the absolute best way to save money on maintenance and repairs is to keep up with the recommended preventative maintenance schedule from the maker of your vehicle, a few other ways to cut costs include:

  • heed your car’s indicators. When the oil change indicator comes on, do it. When the check engine light comes on, schedule an appointment ASAP.
  • avoid putting off minor repairs until later. In almost all cases this will wind up costing you more in the long run.
  • avoid unnecessary repairs.
  • do simple car maintenance tasks and easy repairs yourself, such as rotating tires, replacing air filters, and replacing a blown headlight bulb.
  • avoid “over-maintaining” your car. Modern cars are much more advanced than older models, so just because your dad changed his oil every 3,000 miles doesn’t mean you need to. Simply follow the schedule in your car’s owner manual.

How to Save on Car Insurance

Another big car expense is auto insurance. Here are some simple ways to cut your car expenses on the insurance payment.

  1. Shop around yearly to find big savings. When it’s time to renew your policy, get quotes from at least four highly-rated. Look at different companies and different plans offered. There are often cheaper options that could save you hundreds of dollars a year.
  2. Consider switching to a higher deductible. While you will get a cheaper rate, keep in mind that a  higher deductible means you have to pay more out of pocket if you have to file a claim.
  3. Check for driver discounts. Insurance companies often offer discounts to drivers with safe driving history, drivers with specific organization affiliations, and even for drivers of vehicles that have certain safety features such as anti-lock brakes, and anti-theft devices.
  4. Check for student discounts. Many car insurance companies offer discounts for teen drivers that maintain a certain GPA and/or for teens who take a Driver’s Education course.
  5. Make your teen wait to drive. While adding any age teenager to your policy will cause a rate increase, the older your teen is, the lower your rate increase will be. For example, 16-year-olds cause an average increase of 92%, while 19-year-olds increase policies by an average of 60%.
  6. Cut coverage on older vehicles. Once your car is 10 years old or worth less than 10 times the premium, the cost of repairing it is often more than the car is worth anyway. If your state requires insurance, opt for the minimum required amount.
  7. Bundle insurance policies. Insuring your home and car with a single company could also help bring your rates down.
  8. Install a monitoring device. Many insurance companies now offer drivers a discount if you install a device that lets them monitor your driving habits. The better/less risky you drive, the more of a discount you can get.
  9. Ask for a mileage discount. Some companies offer a discount if you drive less than the average number of miles per year.
  10. Know when not to claim. Filing a claim after an accident can raise your premium if you are at fault, according to So if you’re involved in a minor collision, carefully consider whether the money you’ll get back will exceed the premium hike. For small accidents that do not involve someone else or cause bodily harm to yourself, you’re better off paying out of pocket for the repairs if you can afford it.

Final Thoughts on Ways to Cut Your Car Expenses

Whether you are buying a new car or simply looking to save money on the one you have, these tips on how to cut car expenses will help you reduce the money you put out on gas, maintenance, and car insurance.

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