Keeping a car doesn’t come cheap, and a lot of motorists just swallow the recurring costs they face without really thinking about whether or not they’re getting a good deal.
To avoid complacency and keep your automotive budget to a minimum, here are some tips on minimizing the price of owning a vehicle.
Adopt economical driving habits
The way you drive has a big impact on fuel costs, because if you’re always accelerating sharply, breaking suddenly, and traveling at high speeds, your car will guzzle gas like it’s going out of style.
Of course you could switch to an electric vehicle, and even set up solar panels at home to charge it. However, this will cost you more in the short term than sticking with your current car, so ditching your bad driving habits is a quicker and more affordable way to make savings.
There are lots of fuel-efficient driving techniques to implement, such as sticking to the speed limit, making sure you don’t change speeds rapidly, and turning off your engine rather than leaving it to idle while you’re waiting behind the wheel.
Make sure you’re getting the best rate on your insurance
When it comes to car insurance, you can get the cheapest insurance quote by harnessing online comparison tools and pulling together offers from a range of different vendors.
You can also call up your current insurer and see whether they will be willing to match or undercut any of their rivals, but you can only do this if you have up to date quotes to hand, so it’s still a good idea to compare your options even if you end up sticking with the policy you have at the moment.
Reducing insurance costs can also be done in other ways. For example, a poor credit score can result in higher premiums, so sorting out your finances and paying down debts can have knock-on benefits from a car insurance perspective as well.
Keep your vehicle properly maintained
Cars which are neglected might seem like they are cheaper to run, but all you’re really doing by putting off servicing is increasing the risk of some serious problem arising.
It’s far savvier to regularly carry out maintenance, following the guidelines of the manufacturer and also fixing small issues as they arise, rather than letting them spiral. Even something as inexpensive as changing the engine oil can increase the lifespan of a car, and prevent costly repair work from being needed at inopportune moments.
Use public transport instead
For a lot of people it can make sense to either dramatically reduce the amount they use their car, or ditch it entirely, so long as the public transport links in their area are sufficient.
If you live in a big city like NYC, there’s really little reason to own a car. Trains and taxis will let you complete most journeys, and if you do need to travel longer distances by roads, it’s more cost-effective to rent a car for a day or two.
Another option is to share rides with friends, family and colleagues, and get them to contribute to the costs of the journey in your car. You could even go all-in and take up a side hustle as a rideshare driver on Uber or Lyft, if that suits your lifestyle.
Car ownership costs are only going to increase, so you cannot afford to delay making the changes suggested above, especially if you are concerned about how your budget is panning out for the coming weeks and months.