How to Save on Auto Expenses
At my repair shop, customers regularly ask me for advice on reducing the amount they spend on their vehicle since owning is essential for many to get to-and-from places.
Having breakdown protection in addition to auto insurance is one way to save on repair-related costs, but there are other ways to save money.
10 Ways to Save Money on Auto Expenses
Tip 1: Get the Right Tires
Potential savings per year: $140-400
Having the right tires fitted on your vehicle can improve overall fuel economy, giving you up to 10% more mileage per year. Consider your vehicle’s options and look for a low-resistance, high-traction model with an excellent durability rating. Once they’re on, regularly check your tire pressure to ensure they’re not under or over-inflated.
For every pound of under-inflation, you can lose up to 6% of gasoline mileage, which can result in you paying more if gas prices are high. Having them aligned and rotated can also keep your tires healthier longer since this helps them wear evenly, then you’re less likely to experience a sudden blowout.
Tip 2: Use the Recommended Gasoline
Potential savings per year: $200-400
You may think treating your pride and joy to that extra-expensive premium fuel improve performance, but the truth is most vehicles see only a small marginal benefit.
If your car has a high-performance engine, and your manufacturer recommends a high-octane gas in your owner’s manual, then that’s a situation where premium gasoline makes sense. But if not, the extra spend of 15% more is something you could probably go without.
Tip 3: Drive Responsibly
Potential savings per year: $100+
By abiding by the laws of the road, you avoid all kinds of unwanted costs. If you get into an accident, then not only do you have to pay your deductible, but your car insurance premium goes up for the foreseeable future.
Tip 4: Avoid Hard Braking and Speeding
Potential savings per year: $300+
When you accelerate aggressively, it puts unnecessary strain on your vehicle that can double your gas consumption. You use up to 30% more gas driving at 70mph than you do at 50mph, so don’t go faster than you need to.
Slowing down and speeding up is another gas-guzzling habit that should be avoided wherever possible. A quick tip would be anticipating stoplights and coasting towards them, rather than hitting them at full speed and slamming on the breaks. You can also look into signing up for a defensive driving course to improve your driving habits.
Tip 5: Keep Your Insurance Premium Low
Potential savings per year: $300-500
Auto insurance can be a huge annual expense, but there are ways to make it more manageable. For starters, don’t go for the first insurance policy you find. Every insurer looks at different factors—your age, your vehicle, where you live, your credit score—with each focusing on some more than others.
Compare several insurance rates and shop around for the best price. For drivers with a good track record, increasing your deductible can reduce your premium by up to 30%. It’s also worth looking into any discounts your provider offers, like discounts for car safety features or the Good Student Discount.
Tip 6: Carpool When Possible
Potential savings per year: $400-700
Using a Commuter Cost Calculator, you can see a 20-mile round-trip commute could set you back somewhere in the region of $540 a year. Bring one other person along for the ride, and you save $270.
Add another person into the mix, and you save $360. Even better, if you aren’t the one to do the driving every day, you’ll reduce the wear and tear on your vehicle and ultimately save on maintenance costs. Sharing is a money-saving form of caring!
Tip 7: Do Some of the Maintenance Yourself
Potential savings per year: $50-300
The best way to prevent repair costs is to prevent repairs, and regular maintenance is the only solution. Some things are easy enough to do by yourself if you know what you’re doing, but if not, try to find 3-4 options for when you need your vehicle serviced.
Check coolant, brake, and clutch fluid levels regularly, get an oil change, and regularly check your air filter. Even changing fuses, headlights, and spark plugs are easier than you’d think. Doing so will protect your engine and avoid unwanted bills further down the line. Just be careful to triple check the terms of your contract to make sure you don’t void your warranty.
Tip 8: Get Professional Tune-ups
Potential savings per year: $500-3,000
As vehicle-savvy as you may be, you can’t do everything yourself. It’s essential that professional looks under the hood now and then to keep things in check. With a comprehensive coverage plan like EnduranceAdvantage™, you can be sure your new or used car is always in top condition—and much less likely to break down.
A poorly tuned vehicle also guzzles more fuel economy, adding to that already hefty list of expenses. The price of an extended warranty is much less than the repairs it protects you (and your wallet) from, especially if it includes maintenance.
Tip 9: Do Your Research Before You Buy an Extended Warranty
Potential savings per year: $500-1,000
If you’re looking to buy a new car from a local dealership, chances are the overall cost may include a factory warranty to help cover any manufacturing error. Although they also provide breakdown protection, they can sometimes cost more than an extended warranty from a third-party provider.
In cases like these, take some time to research various options to see which fits your needs and budget. You’ll often find that third-party protection plans offer the best value for money since they include reliable breakdown protection and everyday driving benefits like Endurance Elite.
Save Thousands on Car Costs with Endurance
While these money-saving tips are designed to keep your car expenses to a minimum, you can’t avoid them altogether. Car expenses such as repairs can be expensive and significantly increase car ownership cost, so you must have an extended warranty in place for when something eventually goes wrong.
Every Endurance plan includes 24/7 roadside assistance, trip-interruption costs, and a substitute rental car. If that wasn’t enough, you also get a year’s Endurance Elite membership completely free, opening up a world of amazing everyday driver benefits. Get your online quote now to learn more about their low monthly payments and warranty benefits.
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As both an Army Veteran & ASE Certified repair shop owner, Andrew has made educating the modern driver an ongoing mission since the opening of his repair shop, Midwest City Autospa, in 2012. Read more about Andrew.