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If you’re the proud owner of a vehicle, whether it be new or used, you know that there are many expenses associated with purchasing, maintaining and accessorizing your car over the course of your car ownership.
These expenses can be minuscule and cost you meager dollars to add or fix something in reference to your car, but other expenses can reach into the hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Knowing that the potential for large bills to come due over your car at any point in the near future, planning ahead and finding ways to save substantially on your car-related purchases can be at the top of your priorities list.
A smart car owner will know ways to cut corners and find deals every time they have to make a major purchase for their vehicle, and if you do the same you’ll be able to cut down on your annual maintenance costs as well as your upgrades or the vehicle purchase itself.
Finding ways to cut down on the total cost of your vehicle and everything related to maintaining your car over the course of your ownership can seem impossible, but with a few quick tips you can be on your way to a healthy spending habits surrounding your vehicle expenses.
10 Major Ways to Save Annually on Your Car
As a car owner, you may find yourself in the position where you are obligated to make a large purchase having to do with your vehicle unexpectedly, potentially leaving you with financial whiplash.
If you find yourself down and out on choices related to staving off a purchase, and you want to consider options that will help you cut down on the price of your purchase, take a look at this list of tips to save on your car-related expenses.
1. Purchase a Used Car from a Private Seller
Taking the leap to make a car purchase can be an equally exciting and stressful time depending on what prompts you to purchase the car and what resources you have available to you to successfully do so.
Finding ways to cut down on the cost of your vehicle can be imperative to your financial health considering that a car purchase is one of the single most expensive things you can purchase on your own during your lifetime.
Although buying a car can drop an axe on your savings, the purchase of a car has plenty of benefits for your ability to thrive in your daily life.
Finding a car, whether it’s new or used, can be a lengthy process if your resources are limited or your credit isn’t spectacular but the great news is that you can achieve your goal dependent on whatever your available assets are.
Reaching a point of acceptance that you may need assistance to purchase your vehicle or coming to terms with the fact that a new car will make your life far more financially burdensome can make you question how to find a great deal on a vehicle.
There are plenty of things to consider before making a car purchase, and the biggest one is avoiding purchasing a brand new car because the depreciation begins as soon as you drive off the car lot.
A car’s value can decrease up to at least 20% as soon as it leaves the dealership, which means you’re losing money the moment you buy the car.
Instead of purchasing a brand new vehicle, consider buying a car that is used.
Buying a used car can be as trying as purchasing a new one, if not more, but if you take the time to do plenty of research and are careful in who you deal with, you can usually find a great deal buying from a private seller.
The best part about buying a used car from a private seller is that you can negotiate the price of your car.
Before you commit to the purchase, you should get the car looked at by a mechanic to see what state the car is in.
If the private seller has gotten the car appraised, you’ll be able to know before you buy if the purchase is worth the asking price.
There are many ways to go about purchasing a used car, but purchasing sight unseen should never be one of them.
There are reputable places to purchase used cars online, but try to stick to areas close to you so you can check the vehicle out yourself before buying it.
2. Buy Certified Pre-Owned
Buying a new car seems like a great way to spend your hard earned cash, but outside of a new car being a status symbol, it does nothing good for your financial health once you drive it off the lot.
Instead of purchasing a brand new vehicle and signing yourself up for years of expensive car payments, consider purchasing a certified pre-owned vehicle before assessing other more expensive options.
When you’re purchasing a car, a new vehicle is a luxurious option, but it’ll cost you far more than if you got a car with similar styling and features as the most current option.
Usually, when it comes to car models, the most current version of that car is likely to embody a lot of the features and builds from previous versions.
For example, if you’re looking at a 2019 Honda Accord, consider buying one from 2016 or 2017 instead.
You’ll find that a lot of the features and “upgrades” from the previous year’s models versus the most current one are minimal and outside of the newness of the most current version, they’re almost the same.
Buying certified pre-owned also means that you’re likely to get a great warranty and other features that you’d get with a brand new car, such as a free trial of satellite radio or roadside assistance.
Buying a certified pre-owned vehicle will guarantee that your new ride is in excellent condition and it will cost you thousands of dollars less than buying a brand new vehicle.
3. Sell Your Previous Vehicle Yourself
When buying a car, you’ve got options about what to do with your previous vehicle outside of selling it to the dealership that you’re purchasing your next car from.
Selling your car to a dealership may seem like the easiest and most profitable option at first until you realize that your dealership’s goal is to buy it for as little as possible and resell it for a much larger profit.
This means that the money you get from the dealership for your vehicle is going to factor into the price of your new car purchase, but you’re likely to end up with a much smaller contribution to your purchase than if you sold the vehicle yourself.
Selling your car privately to an individual has many advantages, including being able to name your price.
The best way to go about reselling your vehicle and making back the amount that it’s worth in a sale is to take your car to be appraised.
Once you have a confirmed appraisal and perhaps even a second opinion, then you can list your vehicle on the market and sell your car on your terms.
This will definitely take more time to achieve, but the process will be well worth it, and you’ll be able to take the money from your car’s sale and apply it to the purchase of your next vehicle, potentially lowering your car purchase by thousands of dollars.
4. Start Thinking Mid-Level Quality for Your Car Purchase
When you start looking for a car, the souped up high-end models are going to be an enticing buy, but the fact is that there’s probably no need for all the luxury features added to high-end models.
Sure, having self heating seats and extra buttons to push for extravagant features might sound like fun, but the hit that your wallet is going to take will come back to haunt you.
Instead of going for the most expensive models on the market, look at the base level cars and compare the price difference between the luxury option and the basic model.
You’ll notice that the price is upwards of 50% more, which means your car is going to substantially longer to pay off and the extra features will start to wear on your financial health.
Mid-level options will have some of the more important extra features while maintaining a price point closer to the low-end models.
A car with all the bells and whistles will easily cost you anywhere from five to ten thousand more dollars easily, and the interest rates related to your monthly payments over time will only add to the overall cost of your vehicle.
Remembering that your car’s depreciation begins as soon as you drive it off of the dealership lot, you should factor in the drop in value of your vehicle once you’ve purchased it before you drop the money on your car purchase
Think ahead and lower the cost of your future vehicle by being pragmatic about what you need versus what you need.
5. Ways to Save on Fuel
The single car expense that you can’t look over after purchasing the car itself is gas.
Knowing full well that your vehicle will not run without gas, you’ll probably want to look into ways to save on fuel throughout the life of your car ownership.
This can easily be done if you’re conscious of a few aspects of your own driving and how to maintain your car to maximize its use of fuel.
The best way to guarantee that you won’t be spending every dime and dollar on your car’s gas is to purchase a vehicle with a great fuel efficiency.
Buying a vehicle with great fuel economy means that you’ll be spending much less per year on gas than if you purchased a car that guzzles fuel.
Although most electric cars are still notably more expensive, hybrid cars have become much more popular in recent years and can save you quite a bit on fuel every year.
Hybrid cars are flexible with fuel because they also run on a battery instead of just gasoline, but their battery is intended for use in short distance travel.
If you plan to commute long distances on a weekly basis, buying an electric car is ideal, but if you’re using your car for simple trips to the store or to work, a hybrid car is efficient for fuel costs.
It’ll end up saving you substantially in fuel costs if you purchase a vehicle that is intended to use gasoline sparingly instead of burning through fuel every mile that it travels.
A great benefit to purchasing a hybrid or fuel efficient car is that you’ll also keep your carbon footprint down which will help in maintaining the environment.
Another way to keep your gas prices down is to only purchase regular fuel for your vehicle.
Your driver’s manual may say that you need to purchase premium fuel for your vehicle, but the truth is that most recently made cars have standard stock knock sensors that can adjust to regular fuel use.
Using regular fuel will cut down on your annual fuel costs substantially.
One last thing to keep in mind in terms of lowering your fuel cost throughout the year is to be mindful of how you drive your car.
Accelerating quickly burns tons of fuel in just a few short seconds.
Instead of pressing down on your gas pedal aggressively at the start of your acceleration, speed up gradually and conserve fuel.
Purchase a discount card to help you lower the cost of your fuel every time you stop at the gas station or use your rewards credit card to buy gas and get credit card points to use towards other purchases.
Keeping your car tuned can also help you save money on your gas because your car won’t struggle to run thanks to its engine running smoothly and your sensors being clean and able to properly gauge how much gas is being used.
Plan ahead and you will be able to save money every year on your fuel purchases.
6. Save on Car Insurance
The best and easiest way to save on car insurance is to shop around for the best plan before you commit to a company.
Car insurance is a serious purchase, especially when it comes down to dealing with potential accidents and major repairs that you will have to drum up funds for as they occur.
Compare and contrast at least five companies before you commit to one.
Get quotes for different levels of coverage and closely compare ones that are close to identical for pricing options.
You’ll be able to find car insurance that can save you hundreds of dollars a year if you manage to get through the comparison process.
It will be tedious and perhaps annoying to do all the research, but the amount of money you’ll save every year will be worth the effort.
Car insurance varies greatly between companies, so look for what you need the most and ditch whatever isn’t necessary to keep your insurance premiums low.
Ask the respective companies that you’re considering for your car insurance about mileage discounts if you don’t use your car every day or don’t plan to travel far with it in the future.
If you’ve yet to purchase a car, consider buying a vehicle that simply costs less to insure and save yourself the headache of high monthly insurance premiums.
Luxury and sports cars will cost more in insurance premiums simply because of what the car is made of or what the risks of driving a car for leisure can be.
Cut down on your insurance costs by simply purchasing an “old faithful” that won’t break down easily or cost thousands of dollars to replace small or simple parts.
7. Learn How to Do Simple Repairs and Maintenance
One of the best ways to save money on your car expenses is to learn how to do simple car maintenance and repairs yourself.
Learning to do simple maintenance and repairs is incredibly easy today with our prevalent access to the internet and media platforms such as YouTube.
You can easily learn how to do simple repairs like change or rotate your tires and swap out your brake pads on your own from watching a YouTube video or doing some online research.
This means that you’ll be able to save tons of money every year doing routine maintenance of your vehicle at home.
Instead of spending money on washing your car at a carwash or using a pay-per-use car vacuum at a gas station, buy the supplies to clean your vehicle at your local car parts store and make sure to clean it yourself every month or bi-monthly.
8. Save Money on Your Daily Commutes
A great way to conserve your car itself and the gas that you pump into it is to make a point to carpool as much as possible.
Carpooling to work is an excellent way to lower your gasoline costs by hundreds of dollars a year.
If you’re aware of people who you work with who live near you, then all you need to do is speak with them about an alternating carpool schedule.
It might mean that you have to wake up earlier to meet up with your carpool buddies, but the earlier wake up time will be worth it when you see how much you save a year on gas.
Alternating carpooling days makes it so the burden of the planning and pick-up doesn’t lie on one person’s shoulders, and it’ll help everyone achieve similar savings across the board.
Sharing your car through carpooling with others also decreases the mileage you accrue by using your vehicle every year, which in turn can directly affect your insurance premiums.
If you drive your car less, you are less likely to get into a car accident thanks to the fact that you won’t be on the road as often.
If you keep track of how often you drive versus how often you carpool, you’ll notice a substantial decrease in your yearly mileage and you’ll be able to report this to your insurance company to help maintain a reasonable insurance rate.
9. Save on Car Accessories
Making a point to avoid buying the souped up car with all the extra features can save you money on your car long term.
Instead of opting in for the extra rack or fancy headlights when you first make your vehicle purchase, try to wait until you’ve got a few months under your belt in your car ownership and slowly upgrade things you’d like to one at a time.
You can easily shop around for car accessories that aren’t manufactured by the makers of your car online.
Purchasing third-party or generic accessories can be done online with Amazon or other retailers that carry car part upgrades.
You’ll be able to pick and choose what you’d like to add to your car without having to worry about spending excess money on a high-end car, and you’ll be able to do it as you wish and at prices that don’t max out your budget.
Another good thing to practice when you purchase new car accessories is to install them yourself if you can.
Some features may require intricate knowledge, such as adding lights or parts to your car that demand car wiring and electrical connections knowledge.
For more difficult projects, purchase the part or accessory yourself and take it to a professional who will charge you for installation and not much else.
If you can install the part or accessory yourself, do some research about what tools and techniques you need to employ to successfully install the new addition, and be mindful of carefully installing so as not to damage anything related to the function of your vehicle,
10. Save on Your Car Repairs
Purchasing your own parts for your major car repairs can save you a ton of money in the long run, and having a trusted mechanic can save you even more.
Going through your mechanic for your car parts most assuredly means that you’re going to end up paying more for the parts thanks to the mediation between the place where the car part comes from, your mechanic, and your vehicle.
Instead of relying on your mechanic to know what’s best for your vehicle and relying on where they routinely purchase car parts, familiarize yourself with the different aspects of your vehicles parts and look for parts dealers that carry what your car needs.
It’ll save you money because you’ll be able to shop around for the parts instead of going with the first option presented, and you’ll be able to guarantee that there is no convenience tax and that you’re getting the best possible price for what you need.
When it comes to doing the major repairs, you should take the time to look for a local mechanic that is certified, reliable, decently priced, efficient, and consistently available who is willing to negotiate on price if it’s possible.
Taking recommendations from friends and family can help you save considerably because the mechanic will be respected and knowingly able in their ability to repair your vehicle.
Once you’ve selected a trusted mechanic, begin to build a relationship with them by consistently bringing them your business.
Once your mechanic sees that you’re going to continue to use their services, they will most likely begin to cut the corners off some of your repair costs because of your loyal business.
They’ll be appreciative of your trust in them, and you’ll reap the benefits by knowing you can trust your mechanic and that you won’t get jerked around on pricing and efficiency in how quickly your repairs get done.
Another way to save on repairs and maintenance if you’re not changing your oil yourself is to stretch out how long you wait before you go back to get your oil changed.
Cars these days are far more efficient than they were even a decade ago, so the 3,000 mile oil change rule doesn’t necessarily apply to newer vehicles as it once did.
Take a good look into your car manual and see what the manufacturer suggests, or take a look around online in car forums and places where people trade information on how they maintain their vehicles for how long you can or should wait before you change your oil.
Keeping an eye on how your car runs can help you identify issues on your own, which means that you can use websites like CarMD to help you figure out what needs to be repaired in your vehicle and how much it should cost.
This will help you stay on top of maintenance prices at your mechanic and ensure that you’re paying a fair price to fix whatever problems have arisen with your vehicle.