Most people don’t really think about how to save money on vehicle expenses until they’ve already spent a fortune on them, but the best way to minimize vehicle expenses is to think ahead and always remember these tips:
1. Go to an independent mechanic
Independent mechanics often get their parts for a more affordable price than licensed mechanics, allowing them to offer their own services for a lower price. They are also usually friendlier and easier to develop a good relationship with.
2. Stick to a regular maintenance schedule
Read the owner’s manual for your vehicle and commit the recommended maintenance schedule to memory, then stick to it religiously. Regular maintenance is how you avoid a serious breakdown while you’re on the road and all the unpleasant costs that experience comes with.
3. Drive less
Driving less is obviously the most effective way to save hundreds of dollars on gas and required maintenance every year. Some insurance companies also have a plan where you install a tracker into your car that records how many miles you drive and during what times of day. Your insurance rate is then based on how much you actually drive. The company will specify how much you can drive to get the lower rate on this plan.
4. Learn how to do some basic maintenance yourself
Things like changing the oil in your car are fairly simple to do yourself and cost about half as much when you do them at home. You can find dozens of free videos online to teach you how to do different car repairs.
5. Bundle your insurances
Many companies offer both vehicle insurance and homeowners’ insurance and give people who bundle the two together a significant discount. If you have both of these types of insurance with different companies, research which one will give you the better deal if you bundle your services together.
6. Get a new insurance quote every few years
The longer you’re driving safely, the better your record becomes, but your insurance costs don’t automatically go down. You have to go out of your way to get a new quote, so while you’re at it, get new quotes from a few different companies. You might be able to save as much as $800 a year if it’s been a long time since you got your original insurance quote.
7. Find the best gas prices in your neighborhood
GasBuddy is a simple smartphone app that compares different gas prices in your area. Just remember that going even a couple blocks out of your way will negate any savings. Your goal is to find the most affordable gas station on the way to where you’re going.
8. Buy your next one used
Buying a reliable model used often costs tens of thousands of dollars less than buying a new car and if you get the right car from a good source it might even last you just as long.
9. Get a cash back credit card
A cash back credit card will give you a percentage of all the money you spend back, usually 1-5%. There are several cash back credit cards offering rewards for gas and groceries with some offering cashback for spending in other categories as well.
10. Cut the air conditioning
Your air conditioning makes your car dramatically less efficient, costing you a fortune on gas every summer. Get a sunshade to put in your windshield, park in the shade and if you must run your air conditioner keep it at a moderate temperature. Go for the warmest temperature you can possibly be comfortable with.
This article was provided by the team at Australian SUV Guide.