One of the bigger expense items in your life is probably you car. Chances are it wasn’t as expensive as the one above but nonetheless. There is the actual purchase of the car which is most likely the highest of all costs but then there is the upkeep and feeding it. Fuel, insurance, oil, small maintenance and then the always unexpected not so small maintenance/repair. Following is a list of 10 ways to save money on your car, be it your current or next car.
Inflate the tires on your car to the proper pressure, McCain ridiculed Obama for making this his sole energy policy but I’m not getting into that argument. I don’t think inflating tires will save the world’s energy problem but it is researched and properly inflated tire can get a 3.3% better gas mileage.3.3% doesn’t sound like that much but if you spend $2,500 on gas every year that comes to a saving of $82 a year. Car pool, It’s ridiculous there are so many cars on the road with a single driver. Why not carpool? You get to socialize, maybe do some work but more importantly you’ll be saving on fuel. Also check out if you’re state/county or city offers incentives for carpooling. Here is an example of what Georgia will offer in incentives for carpooling: https://georgia.gov/blog/2015-05-14/carpooling-incentives-georgians
Don’t drive like a speed demon. Don’t you love it when someone passes you driving 20mph faster only to sit next to them again 5 minutes later at a traffic light? Speeding generally doesn’t get you that much. Rapid accelerating and breaking on the highway can lower your gas mileage by 33% . Each 5mph over 50 mph will cost you an additional $0.20 per gallon. Follow the speed limits and drive sensibly, it can save you some serious dough.
Buy a Hybrid. “Buying a Hybrid isn’t economical” is a lie. We’ve had hybrids for the last 10 years and I’ve worked out the numbers. You can save money, some serious money, by getting one (that is until the EV becomes affordable). I’ve worked out the number in details in my post Should I still buy a Hybrid.
Buy a used car. Buying used instead of new can save you huge amounts of money. A new car driven off the lot immediately loses thousands in value, buy one of those (almost new ones). If you want to save even more then buy an older one. Cars are no longer built to break. They last much longer than they used too. Car dealers will even offer certified used vehicles that are backed by warranties.
Stop buying premium. In almost every case the question is asked do I need to buy premium the answer is NO. Even for those manuals that tell you to get premium it seems you still can get just the regular kind. Here is a link to the CarTalk guys. I personally trust them as an authority on the subject: http://www.cartalk.com/content/premium-vs-regular-1#15. Premium can cost over 20-30 cents/Gallon more. There is huge savings to be made here.
Don’t get an oil change every 3000 miles or every 3 months. There are still a few stalwarts insisting on doing so. Most of those are the ones making a living by providing you those oil changes. They’ll make sure you won’t forget either by putting that sticker right in front of your face. Oil has gotten better and cars have gotten better. Most car manufactures will recommend every 5000-7500 miles.
Use synthetic oil. Do you have that second vehicle that rarely comes out of the garage? In that case you certainly don’t need to change oil every 3 months . For cars that get very little use, use synthetic oil. It will go a lot longer before you need that next oil change.
Take that extra weight out of the trunk. What are you carrying around? For a while we were driving around with two 40 lbs bags of cat-litter in our car. That is a whole extra big kid in the back. It is estimated you can save 1% in fuel per 100 lbs.
Get a driver feedback device. Not only will these gadgets let you do some diagnosing of yourself, they will actually tell you how to change your driving habits to save money. The one depicted here is not cheap at $169 (as of this writing) but if it can save you 33% (savings 3) on your gas mileage, you’ll make it back before you know it.
So there you have it, 10 mostly simple ways of saving on current or next car. Drive safe.
If you want to find out other ways to save money, check the other useful saving posts on the savings page
Good luck reaching your financial goals.