Car ownership is expensive. When you add up gas, repairs, parking, and auto insurance, it definitely gets pricey. And as the car ages, it only gets more expensive to own.
In fact, depending on where you live, it may be cheaper to take public transportation than to own a car. But that’s never the more convenient option.
So how do you keep costs low while still enjoying the freedom of having a car?
Well, you can try any or all of these five hacks to save money on taking care of your car.
Every little bit helps, right?
This one might seem counterintuitive because time is money, but if you keep your speeds reasonable, you can save on gas money. This is true for the life of the car, but it’s especially relevant within the first thousand miles when your car is calculating how gas is used. If you keep your speed in check now, it’ll be more efficient in how it uses gas and calculates mpg going forward. And if you keep your speed at or around 55mph whenever possible, you’ll enjoy the most fuel-efficient speed.
Also, if you’re trying to make the most out of your gas mileage, avoid idling, and accelerate slowly.
Perform regular maintenance
When you perform regular maintenance on your car, you can actually prevent expensive repairs in the future. For example, if you neglect to do something simple like getting a regular oil change, the oil will get more viscous, and it will fail to lubricate the engine. This can cause the engine to seize when it gets to an extreme.
Read your owner’s manual
Your car may have specific instructions to keep it running in the best possible shape. Look for instructions on when to get an oil change, how much air to put in your tires, and more. These tips will keep your car running smoothly. They’ll help you save on gas and in keeping a consistent maintenance schedule, so you can prevent problems that will lead to expensive repairs.
Find a good mechanic
Auto repair shops are one of the few types of businesses that are still often run by local entrepreneurs. And with these types of businesses, relationships are everything. If you need a repair on-the-fly, you’re much more likely to get it from a mechanic who has been working with your family for years than a large franchise business.
And when you build a relationship with a local auto repair shop, you can often negotiate better pricing, especially if you’re paying by cash. It’s important to build rapport with these local business owners, so you can establish trust and build a mutually beneficial relationship that will help you keep car costs down.
Consider safety upgrades
Safety upgrades will deliver peace of mind, but they can also save you some money on your insurance premium. You can have things like rearview cameras, auto theft deterrents, and lane departure warnings installed aftermarket. And in addition to the safety benefits, you can enjoy reduced insurance premiums after your insurance company confirms the install.
It’s true that car ownership is an expensive venture, but it can be worthwhile. With cars come freedom, and that’s difficult to put a price on.
Your bills, on the other hand, are easy to put prices on. But if you follow the five money-saving tips outlined here, you’ll learn to keep your car safe while saving money and gaining some peace of mind.