5 Ways to Save on Car Expenses


car expensesThe average car owner spends roughly $4,300 a year in car expenses including repairs, maintenance, insurance, and gas. After housing, car expenses can take a large portion of anyone’s budget. By following these tips you can reduce your car expenses with little to no effort.

1. Save on Insurance. If you are looking for a new vehicle you may want to check out a minivan, SUV or pickup truck as they are cheaper to insure. According to Insure.com, the 20 least expensive vehicles to insure are from those vehicle classes. Once you have your vehicle picked out you will need to shop for insurance. A little research for discounts offered to drivers in your state can save you big on car expenses. A little research for discounts offered to drivers in your state can save you big on car expenses. You can find great car insurance coverage at a reduced cost online. Anti-lock brakes can save you 5% off your premium and students with a B average in school are eligible for a discount on their insurance. One of the easiest ways to save money on car insurance is to be a safe driver and obey the rules of the road. If you fail to come to a complete stop at a stop sign you can end up with 2 points on your license and pay up to 35% more for the next 3 years.

2. Change Oil Less Frequently. Todays cars and trucks are engineered to need oil changes less frequently and those that use synthetic oils can go up to 20,000 miles before needing a change. Most oil change facilities recommend your oil be changed every 3000 miles for a very good reason, they make more money. To check the recommended oil change interval for your vehicle go to checkyournumber.org for model years 2000 or newer.

3. Avoid Being Ripped Off on Roadside Assistance.  Having a locksmith open your car door can cost $75 and having your vehicle towed can cost upwards of $250. If your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere you are at the mercy of the local towing company. One of the best values is a roadside assistance package from AAA. Packages cost from $38 to $80 annually and include at least 4 service calls and include towing, lockouts, battery jump starts, and tire changes. Have a teen driver? A roadside assistance card makes a great 16th Birthday gift and it will give you peace of mind.

4. Research Repair Costs. If you own a vehicle you have probably experienced being overcharged for a repair. It can be frustrating and until recently there was little that the consumer could do about it. With the wide availability of access to the internet, consumers now have resources to comparison shop automobile repair estimates before signing a repair authorization.  Websites such as automd.com allow you to enter your vehicle information and zip code to get repair estimates without leaving your car. To save even more money use the repair estimate information to negotiate a lower repair bill.

5. Delay Trading in Your Car. Have you seen the price of new vehicles recently? I don’t have to tell you that it pays to maintain your vehicle so that you can keep it on the road longer. Cars are now engineered better with synthetic lubricants and anticorrosion protection are allowing drivers to keep their vehicles for 250,000 or more.

Readers: What strategies do you use to save on car expenses?

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6 Responses to 5 Ways to Save on Car Expenses

  1. Parvinder@Readtoawake 10/02/2012 at 8:36 am #

    A car is a major expense of any middle class family ( after their home )…. and this article can be of great help for saving money.

  2. John@MoneyPrinciple 10/02/2012 at 11:20 pm #

    Another big cost of motoring can be the depreciation in value over time. We drive very little – only 12,000 miles in 3 years is on the clock of our car which we got new.

    The value will have dropped by some £9000 over that time which is a cost of 75p a mile. So perhaps the ultimate saving on motoring expense is not to have a car at all and call a taxi when you need one.

  3. Tie the Money Knot 10/03/2012 at 2:16 am #

    Keep the car well maintained, and drive it as long as it holds up! By delaying the purchase of a new car, quite a bit of money can be saved. Just have to avoid giving in to the temptation to get a newer vehicle. This hasn’t been a problem for me :)

  4. AverageJoe 10/08/2012 at 11:31 pm #

    I’ve always paid attention to those stickers and only recently have started changing my oil less frequently. Great advice! I agree with TtMK….I try to keep my car in top shape so that I don’t have to buy a new one as often. That’s been the best key for me. I also watch my tire wear. I used to run them too low and then I started running into other suspension/alignment issues.

  5. JM @ NJFCU 10/09/2012 at 5:40 pm #

    Agreed. Regular checkup and maintenance will let you have a better handle on your finances. Especially if travel a lot, be sure you have everything checked out by before and after you have 2-3 hours drive to avoid unnecessary cost for repair or replacement. Thanks for sharing!

    • Paul 10/10/2012 at 2:38 pm #

      Just like taking care of your health, preventative maintenance on your car will save you from having problems down the road…

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