The 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 refer to the vehicle maintenance manual published by the manufacturer of your vehicle.
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?