10 Money-Saving Tips for Your Car Expenses in the New Year
Is saving more or spending less on your list of New Year’s resolutions this 2016? Our vehicles can be some of the most expensive items we lease or own, and they can also require an expensive amount of upkeep. But there are also easy ways to stick to your resolutions and cut costs for your car or truck. Check out this list of ten quick ways to save money on your car expenses in the new year.
Save on Car Repairs with Proper Car Maintenance
1. Get regular maintenance done.
- Don’t skimp on oil changes, belt replacements, and other mileage-based maintenance needs. While this may sound like more money out of your pocket, it’s much less expensive to keep your car “healthy” than to risk a costly breakdown that could have been easily prevented.
2. Be kind to your tires.
- Check your tire pressure regularly, especially in the cold winter months when, for every ten degree temperature decrease, tire pressure can drop one to two pounds. Get your tires regularly rotated and balanced, and replace them when needed. Taking care of your tires can improve fuel efficiency, extend the life of your tires, and keep you safer on the road.
3. Check your fluid levels.
- This is one of the easiest ways to keep your car in tip-top shape, even if you’re not a car aficionado. Regularly check your car’s five primary fluids—oil, brake fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, and windshield washer fluid—as a precaution. Top them off as necessary and, if you notice any issues, be sure to take your car to the mechanic ASAP.
Save on Fuel at the Gas Station
4. Go for the cheap gas.
- Unless your manual or mechanic specifically recommends it, don’t buy premium gas. Gasoline with the highest octane rating can cost 15 to 20 cents more per gallon, and,
- , in most cases buying premium gas has no benefit for your car. Go for the regular grade—your car won’t mind, and your wallet will thank you.
5. There’s an app for that.
- Motorists can benefit from the multitude of
- on the market that exist solely to find the cheapest gas prices near your location. Download one and use it to help you save money on gasoline.
6. Find a gas card or program.
- Many specialized credit cards offer a percentage of cash back for money spent at the pump. Many superstores and grocery stores also have loyalty and reward programs that offer gas discounts. For example, Walmart gives you a per-gallon discount for buying gas with a gift card, while Kroger’s loyalty program offers reduced gas prices based on points earned in-store.
Cut Costs with Better Driving Behavior
7. Be on your best (driving) behavior
- Avoid hard braking and making excessive fast stops, abrupt maneuvers, and sudden accelerations. These bad driving habits cause your car to guzzle gas, and can lead to a shorter lifespan on important parts as well.
8. Don’t drive too fast, or too slow.
- Cruising at 50 miles-per-hour has been shown to be the best speed for getting the highest mileage per gallon. On the opposite end of the spectrum, idling can be an expensive waste of gas too, so turn the car off if you’ll be sitting there for a while.
Save Money on Car Insurance
9. Re-assess your car insurance.
- As they age, cars may not need as much coverage as they used to. As a vehicle’s value diminishes, it may be more cost-effective for you to purchase a new (or new-to-you) car instead of repairing your old one, in case of an accident. Similarly, if you are adding or removing drivers from your plan, it’s a good idea to take a look at the specifics of your insurance plan and cost-compare with other options.
10. Research car insurance discount programs.
- Many car insurance companies offer discounts for various life circumstances, such as driving a certain number of years without an accident, or for a student with good grades. Also, in recent years, carriers have started introducing vehicle tracking devices, which can track driving behavior and reward customers with discounts for practicing safe driving.
We all know how expensive owning and operating a vehicle can be, and sometimes there’s no avoiding the surprise costs that come up. But, by planning carefully and following these money saving tips, you can take proactive steps towards reducing your car expenses overall.