Owning, and operating, a vehicle is the second-largest household expense. Once buying a car and driving it off the lot, continuing car expenses can cost up to $8,700 a year! That is about 58 cents a mile in upkeep! Once your new car is home, however, there are some simple strategies that can help you save thousands of dollars over the life of your car.
Just think, saving just $1,800 a year, for the next 40 years, keeps $72,000 in your pocket. That’s not just pocket change, that’s retirement savings! Here are some simple tips to help you save money on your car expenses.
Speeding, rapid acceleration, and hard braking are the best ways to waste gas, and that means your car expenses go up! So, always accelerate gently; watch traffic ahead so you can anticipate slow-downs and avoid hard stops; and coast up to traffic jams by lifting your foot off the gas, instead of approaching at full speed and slamming on the brakes, to drive safely and save you money. Aggressive driving can lower your gas mileage by 33% at speeds over 50 and by 5% driving around town. So, take a deep breath, relax and enjoy your ride, don’t let that a-hole driving 30 in a 50 cost you your money, or your sanity.
Driving Safe saves up to $470 a year (between 13 cents and 89 cents a gallon) depending on how you drive and how much of that is highway miles.
Plan Your Drive.
Combine your errands if you’re driving to cut down on your car expenses. If you plan your drive, including your route, and hit all of your errands in one outing, so you can avoid making extra trips or back tracking, to save you money on gas.
Planning Your Drive saves you up to $75 a year. Just cutting 10 miles a week from your drive cuts over 500 miles each year from your gas bill.
Cruise on 50.
Forget what people will think, they can pass you, because for every 5 mph you drive above 50 mph you are paying an additional 20 cents per gallon of gas! When you have the chance, set the cruise control and save yourself some money. Also, avoid getting stuck behind slow cars where you have to slow down to their pace and then speed up to pass, this is a sure way to burn up your gas!
Cruising on 50 saves up to $200 a year, that’s if you normally drive 60 mph on the highway.
Buy The Right Gas.
For most cars premium gasoline offers no benefit, so don’t waste your money on it. Unless your car has a high-performance engine and/or your manufacturer recommends a high-octane gas, use the regular stuff. Premium gas can cost 10% to 15% higher than regular.
The Right Gas, saves up to $400 a year, if you are buying premium gas you don’t need.
Pump Your Own Gas.
Pumping your own gas at a self-service pump is usually 5% to 10% cheaper than having someone do it for you. If you usually frequent the full service pump stop! Pumping yourself is one small change to help you save on your car expenses.
Pumping Your Own Gas saves up to $100 a year for pump service.
Take Care of Your Tires
Have your tires balanced and rotated once a year to decrease wear and increase the lifespan of your tire. In addition to destroying your tire’s tread, improperly balanced tires can wear out your shock absorbers and damage the suspension system, leading to other repairs.
Balanced and Rotated Tires save up to $200 a year in tire replacement, and car upkeep and repair.
Check the Air in Your Tires.
By making sure your car has proper tire pressure, you can improve your gas mileage by 3.3%. You can find the ideal tire pressure level for your car printed on a sticker in the driver’s side doorjamb, in your glove box or it will be in your owner’s manual. The best way to do this is to buy an inexpensive tire gauge and check your pressure about once a month, as tires lose an average of about two pounds of pressure per month.
Proper Tire Pressure saves about $100 a year, but savings can top $800 for cars with severely underinflated tires.
Save even more! Use the proper tires for your vehicle because having extra wide, extra-large, or performance tires may decrease your gas mileage. Possible Savings: $100 a year or more.
Turn Off The A/C!
Set the air conditioning for a higher temperature; drive with the windows open for a short time, to let hot air out, before using the A/C; put the windows down at low speeds and use the A/C only at high speeds; or, if you’re really frugal, don’t use you’re A/C. The air conditioning in your car can reduce your fuel economy by more than 25%!
Reducing A/C Use saves up to $120 a year in extra fuel costs (if you currently use the air conditioning four months out of the year).
If you’re parked and waiting, turn your engine off! Keeping your car idling can waste up to a half-gallon of fuel per hour, whereas restarting your vehicle only takes about 10 seconds worth of fuel! After starting it, drive your car slowly for 30 seconds, the engine will warm up faster, and better, by being driven. In the winter, you’ll get warm quicker by doing this because a warm engine allows the heater to turn on sooner.
Not Idling saves up to $140 a year if you usually idle for an average of two hours a week.
Keep Your Car Tuned.
A poorly tuned car can waste 25% to 33% more gasoline each year than a properly tuned car. It’s also cheaper to pay the cost of a tune-up than it is to repair a major problem.
A Properly Tuned Car saves you up to $100 a year in gasoline and maintenance charges.
Keep Filters Clean.
A dirty air filter decreases engine efficiency and can reduce your gasoline mileage by 10% for the average car. You can clean your filter once a month by removing it and blowing it out with an air hose, or you can replace it completely.
Clean Filters save you up to $130 a year, more if you replace them yourself!
Use these simple tips to keep your car expenses low and money in your pocket. By saving $20 here and $50 there, with some easy choices and vehicle upkeep, you can save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, over the life of your car!
Your turn! If you have found ways to reduce your car expenses and save money, let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear what you’ve got!