If there’s one thing Americans love, it’s their cars. Around 90% of us have one, and many households have more than one. They’re often a huge part of our budget, too. That often doesn’t even include the potentially pricey repairs that we don’t see coming. We’ve pulled together some tips to save money on your car.
You might be stuck with whatever car you chose for several more years, but don’t let that stop you from planning ahead. Which car you choose is going to impact everything from your insurance to your repairs to your depreciation.
Refinance Your Car Loan
Depending on your situation when you first pulled out your loan compared to now, you may be able to get a better rate. There are plenty of factors involved that can affect this, though, so be careful. Extending the period of the loan might lower your monthly payment, but it can also increase the amount of interest you pay over the lifetime of the loan.
Want to know what’s expensive? An accident, often particularly if you’re at fault. More than that, driving at speed limits can be more fuel-efficient. It’ll hopefully cut down on speeding tickets, too.
Empty Out Your Car
This is probably not a major factor for most of us, but if you’re carrying around something heavy in the trunk of your sedan, you’re paying money to haul it around town.
Shop for Car Insurance
Some car insurance companies will offer sweetheart deals to new customers. You don’t have to stay attached to your car insurance company just out of habit.
Keep Up On Maintenance
Keeping your tires inflated and your oil changed regularly can really help a vehicle run smoothly. Plus, those are two things you can take care of on your own if you know what you’re doing. Regular maintenance with professionals can prevent other issues from creeping up.
Find a Good Mechanic
Get a mechanic you trust through word of mouth or a recommendation from a friend. If nothing else, it’ll give you peace of mind when you need repairs.
There’s this weird myth that turning your car off instead of idling burns more gas. It’s not even true! Stopped at a bridge or train tracks for a while? Turn your car off.
Reconsider a Second Car
If you’d only really need a second car a few times a year (like a truck for certain activities) it can make more sense to rent a vehicle rather than be responsible for owning one.
Driving less puts less wear and tear on your car, extends the lifetime of the vehicle, keeps resale value up and reduces what you spend on gas.