7 Ways to Reduce Your Car Expenses

Car ownership can be expensive. Between gas, insurance, car payments, and maintenance, it’s not uncommon for people to spend hundreds of dollars on their cars every month.

If you’re looking for ways to reduce your car expenses, you’re in luck. From your insurance costs to your extended warranty resources, we’ve got you covered. Here are seven tips to help you save money on your car. Stick around to the end for a bonus idea for saving funds in your budget.

Shop Around for Insurance

Insurance companies offer a variety of discounts, so it pays to shop around and compare rates. You may be able to get a discount for things like having a good driving record, being a certain age, or owning a certain type of car.

Additionally, reevaluating your insurance regularly can help save you tons of money over time. As you grow and change your situation, your insurance needs will change too. Different companies will use the same information and get vastly different premiums.

Shop around and see where you can get the best rates. Make sure you’re comparing the same coverages from one company to the next to get the most accurate numbers.

Choose the Right Car for Your Needs

If you’re in the market for a new car, choose one that is fuel-efficient. You’ll save money on gas in the long run. In addition, choose a car that doesn’t require premium gasoline. That can add up over time as well.

Ensure you’ll have the cargo space, the passenger space, and the long-term reliability that you’ll need for the entire time you’re planning to drive it. Research several cars before committing to a test drive, or even walking onto the lot.

Once you’re in front of a salesperson, ensure you stick to your budget and use your research to ensure you’re getting exactly what you need. Don’t be afraid to negotiate, and hold strong to your pre-determined needs, wants, and budget.

Invest in an Extended Warranty

Once you’ve decided on a car to take home, and you’ve test-driven it, got the recall list and the damage and maintenance reports, it’s time to protect your investment.

If your car is still under warranty, you may be able to save money by investing in an extended warranty to carry over after the manufacturer’s warranty expires.

If you haven’t got a warranty on the car when you drive it off the lot, you can still add an extended warranty to the purchase on your own. This will cover repairs after your manufacturer’s warranty expires. CARCHEX reviews can help you compare extended warranty options and choose the best one for your needs.

Extended warranties need careful consideration, as some are better than others, and have vastly different coverages. Make sure you read the fine print and know what’s covered. Some of the more spendy warranties may even cover the cost of routine maintenance.

Regular Preventative Maintenance

Photo: Mechanic under a car

This may seem like an obvious one, but it’s important nonetheless. Keeping your car in good running condition will prevent costly repairs down the road. In addition, regular oil changes and tire rotations will help extend the life of your vehicle.

Often, routine maintenance is covered under the car’s manufacturer’s warranty or the 3rd party extended warranty. Taking the time to do your oil changes, filter swaps, fluid swaps or top-ups, and scheduled tune-ups can seem inconvenient, but it’s nothing compared to your car in the shop for weeks at a tie due to a major breakdown that could have been prevented.

Drive Less When Possible

One of the best ways to save money on your car is to simply drive less. If you can walk or bike to work or school, do it! You’ll save money on gas and wear and tear on your car. In addition, you’ll get some exercise in the process! If you have to drive, try carpooling with friends or co-workers when possible. Not only will you save money on gas, but you’ll also get to know people better!

If you work in an industry that allows for a work-from-home situation, and you can negotiate to work at least a day or two from home, you’ll save on the wear and tear of your car as well as the environmental impact of the community around you.

Drive Safely and Defensively

Speeding is not only dangerous, but it’s also expensive! Gas mileage decreases significantly when you drive over 55 mph, so stick to the speed limit and you’ll see savings at the pump.

The only time you’ll see better mileage with higher speeds is when you’re coasting down a hill or sitting in the slipstream of a large truck. However, humans typically don’t have the reaction time to compensate for quick changes or emergencies at higher speeds. Keep your focus on the road and avoid driving in treacherous weather conditions.

Plan Your Trips to Avoid Unplanned Travel

Before you get in the car, plan your route and make sure you have everything you need for your destination. This will help you avoid making unnecessary trips and wasting gas—and time!

In addition to putting extra miles on your car, driving around and spending extra time on the road increases the chances of your car getting damaged by other drivers. No matter how safe of a driver you are, those you share the road with are a wildcard in your commute.

Bonus: Refinance Your Car Loan

Talk to your lender or bank to discuss what you could save monthly by refinancing your auto loan. If you can afford a little extra during the month with the other savings you’ve made, you can always refinance for a lower interest rate and a shorter term.

By following these tips, you can save money on your car expenses each month and put more money back into your pocket! Do you have any other tips for saving money on your car? Share them with us in the comments below!