Tuesday 12 November 2013

The Best 7 Ways to Save Money on Your Car

“Where did all my money go?” It’s a question I have asked myself more than I’d like to admit. I often find myself wondering where all those extra expenses came from, and it seems that no matter how much I make, there are always additional costs that creep up on me.

I imagine I am not the only one in the world who feels this way. Money is hard to come by, and it can be frustrating when it seems to want to be anywhere but in your wallet.

The last thing most of us want to do is see our money go to the sudden, unexpected purchase of a new car. After all, those things just are not cheap. I would much rather see those funds go to something just a bit more important (food comes to mind right about now.)

To keep a little more green in all of our pockets, here are some tips to maintain the vehicle you currently own. Regular maintenance can have long-lasting effects that will keep it running for years to come.

1.  Give It a Little TLC

The Best 7 Ways to Save Money on Your Car
Like with any human being, vehicles need a little tender, loving care. They need to know they aren’t forgotten in the crazy hustle and bustle that is your everyday life. As a vehicle owner, you need to set a schedule that will ensure proper maintenance on your vehicle. This includes regular air filter changes and tire changes.

This involves checking the air pressure in your tires and the tread as well. It means being aware of your vehicle and the wear and tear it is experiencing before anything becomes a bit issue.

In addition, TLC involves simple interior cleaning. Shine up that dashboard and vacuum regularly. Nothing ruins an interior more quickly than mashed-up crumbs deep in the carpet or fruit punch spilled on the back seat. Keeping food and drink out of your car can go a long way to preserve it.

2.  Change Fluids Regularly

I am embarrassed to admit that I completely failed at this one with my first car. As a new college student, I was just so thrilled to have a car that I neglected to upkeep it in any way.

This is particularly true with the fluids. I can honestly say I don’t remember changing them once while I had it. And it lasted about two years before overheating and dying. Moral of the story? If you want your car to last, change the fluids in your car regularly. You can either do it yourself (if you are up to the challenge) or simply take it into a shop. But get it done.

3.  Check Out Those Noises

Have you ever been in a car with friends and heard a nice clunking noise or “squeeeeel!”? Did your friend do something about it that involved more than simply turning up the radio a bit louder? Get those noises checked out immediately. It may be a pain at the moment, and it may cost you a little money, but it’s such a better idea than letting the small problem grow into a large problem later down the road.

4.  Find a Reliable Mechanic

Some of us are so lucky as to have friends or family members who are car mechanics. If this is you, I hope you realize just how lucky you are. If you don’t have this option, do your homework before taking your car to the shop.

Mechanics sometimes have the reputation of taking a car owner “for a ride.” So shop around. Ask for recommendations from family and friends. Ask who will give a fair price for reliable service. A little homework before you ever enter the shop can save you a lot of green.

5.  Educate Yourself on the Workings of Your Car

Become familiar with the inner workings of your vehicle. In this way, you can also save yourself when at the shop. Those who are knowledgeable about their vehicles will not be taken advantage of (or will be less likely to be) by mechanics.

In addition, you may learn so much that you can begin to do the repairs and maintenance yourself. My spouse and I recently changed the brakes on my vehicle, which opened our eyes to just how much mechanics sometimes charge. We saved a good two hundred dollars.

6.  Reduce Gas Costs

Reduce your gas costs. Now we all know that gas doesn’t come cheap, but there are a couple of things you can do to make the burden a bit lighter. First, shop around.  Mentally take note of gas prices as you drive through town, as they are constantly changing. Find a reliable gas station with inexpensive gas.

Second, drive nicely. When you accelerate quickly, it can actually reduce your gas mileage, forcing you to fill up on more of a regular basis. So before you put that “pedal to the metal,” think about those hard-earned dollars and accelerate at a more gradual pace.

7.  Shop Around for Insurance

And finally, shop around for insurance. Compare green slips to find the best deal and what will work best for you. Make informed decisions about other insurances such as vehicle insurance. And be a good driver. Some insurances actually reduce costs for those who drive well, so there is no reason not to become a better driver, which will keep the roads safer and you just a bit richer.

In conclusion, maintaining a vehicle doesn't just preserve its longevity; it also safeguards your financial well-being by preventing unexpected expenses. Regular TLC, fluid changes, addressing unusual noises promptly, and finding a reliable mechanic are crucial steps in this regard. Moreover, educating yourself about your car's workings empowers you to make informed decisions and potentially save on costly repairs.

Efforts to reduce gas costs through mindful driving and shopping around for insurance further contribute to long-term savings. By implementing these tips, you not only extend the lifespan of your vehicle but also mitigate the risk of financial strain associated with unexpected repairs or replacements.

Ultimately, the conscientious care of your vehicle is an investment in both its longevity and your financial stability. With diligence and awareness, you can enjoy the benefits of a well-maintained vehicle while keeping more money in your pocket for other essential expenses.

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