Tips for Reducing the Cost of Car Ownership

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It’s no secret that owning a car can be expensive. But there are ways to reduce the cost of car ownership, from buying pei used cars to taking advantage of discounts and incentives. Here are some tips for reducing the cost of car ownership.  

1. Get an Extended Car Warranty

An extended warranty, also known as a service contract, is an additional warranty that typically kicks in after the original manufacturer’s warranty expires. It can cover all sorts of repairs and expenses, including faulty parts and labor costs. There are plenty of companies that offer this kind of service so you will not have a hard time finding one. But you must do your due diligence to ensure you get the service you need. Take the time to research the best extended car warranty companies before signing up for one.

2. Lower Your Gas Costs

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average driver spends almost $2,000 on gasoline per year. Here are some ways to lower your gas costs:

  • Use a website or mobile app that tracks your mileage and calculates how much you would save by driving a certain way or consolidating your trips.
  • Combine errands into one trip to save on mileage. Make a list of chores you need to do, then drive straight from location to location versus driving around town for all the individual errands.
  • If you use a navigation app, check to see if it calculates the most fuel-efficient route for your drive.
  • Get a more efficient car. A simple online search can help you determine what the most fuel-inefficient vehicles are on the market today.
  • Slow down! Speeding can decrease your gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and 5 percent around town.

3. Stick to the Car’s Maintenance Schedule

It’s vital to stick to your car’s maintenance schedule. This will increase the resale value of your ride, ensure you get the most out of each tank of gas, and help reduce harmful emissions. If you’re currently missing a service from your vehicle’s maintenance schedule, set up an appointment as soon as possible. Here are some other tips that you can use to keep your vehicle in tip-top shape:

  • Use a car cover, which can protect your vehicle from dust, mildew, and other external elements.
  • Clean the inside of your windows every couple of weeks to ensure optimal visibility.
  • Keep it clean! Wash and wax your vehicle to maintain a shiny exterior. One spot you need to focus on is the tires. Ensure they’re clean on the outside and inside to protect your car from unnecessary dangers that a dirty tire can bring about.
  • Get rid of any unnecessary items in your trunk. Your car will run more smoothly without the extra weight, so cleaning out the clutter is good for you and your gas mileage!

4. Reassess Your Insurance Needs

If you currently have comprehensive and collision coverage, you might be able to save money by dropping it. Some car insurance providers may offer guaranteed auto protection (GAP) coverage that can help cover any difference between your comprehensive and collision deductible and the vehicle’s actual cash value. Look into this option to see if it’s for you.

5. Skip Buying the Accessories at the Manufacturer’s

Most manufacturers will entice you to buy accessories to spruce up your vehicle. However, most of these products are usually overpriced. Instead, shop around for accessories that can give you the same or better results at a more affordable price. For example, many manufacturers charge way too much for their floor mats. Instead of buying them from your dealer, invest in high-quality all-weather floor mats from another retailer and save yourself some money.

6. Reduce Your Car Payment

If you make your car payments on time and have never been late, consider asking for a loan extension. This will give you more leeway when your next payment is due and can reduce some of the fees that come with making a payment late or missing it altogether.

7. Buy What Your Budget Allows

When you buy a car, it’s important to remember that your budget is the most crucial consideration in the entire process. Ask yourself how much money you must spend each month on a vehicle payment and maintenance costs, then consider what kind of gas mileage you can expect from any potential purchase. Stick with this budget and only get behind the wheel of a car that is affordable for you.

8. Do Some of the Maintenance Tasks Yourself

Some of the maintenance tasks related to your vehicle are simple enough to do yourself. For example, you can change your air filter or spark plugs at home. On average, an oil change at your local shop can cost anywhere between $30 to $100. Learning how to do this task and other similar maintenance jobs will save you plenty of money in the long run.

9. Learn About Your Car a Little More

Equipping yourself with information about the ins and outs of your car will benefit you when you visit a mechanic to have your vehicle inspected. This way, you can better communicate with your mechanic and get answers to any questions you may have. Also, unscrupulous mechanics will not be able to take advantage of you when they try to give you a price that is too high or recommend services you don’t need. Take note: An experienced mechanic will get down to the nitty-gritty of your car’s problem and discuss the best way to fix it. But an enterprising mechanic will most likely suggest you change many parts without giving a firm explanation why.

10. Ask the Dealer for Better Pricing

Many dealerships will be happy to offer their customers better pricing than the vehicle’s sticker price. Of course, some terms and conditions apply to these offers, but if you’re willing to meet them head-on, you may get a lower price than what is already displayed. This will help you avoid any surprises and give you peace of mind.

11. Find Cheaper Parking Spaces

Parking may be one of the most significant expenses you face each year. If you live in a busy city, parking spaces are usually expensive and often hard to find. However, there are ways for you to save money on these costs. Try carpooling with your family members or significant other so you can share the cost of parking with more than one person. Also, look at your daily routine and see if there are any garages near me, your home, or your workplace that you can take advantage of.

Be Smart When Owning a Car

Cars are a huge investment, but there are ways to reduce the cost of car ownership. Follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to cheaper car payments, insurance, and fuel costs. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.