How to Save Money on Car Expenses

Fran
Fran Majidi
May 3, 2019

Everyone’s got to deal with car maintenance issues and costs when they have a car. If you’re lucky, you know how to do your own oil changes, how to rotate your tires and change the vehicle’s fluids. Being a pretty good mechanic helps too. If you’re not so good with your hands, you’re looking at spending several hundred dollars if not thousands of dollars a year on car expenses. Gasoline prices these days are also not for the faint hearted either. We can’t do much about rising gas prices. However, we have a few suggestions on how you can save a bundle each month.

Why Is Car Insurance So Expensive?

The most expensive states for car insurance include Michigan and New York, mainly because there’s so much insurance fraud.And the most baffling question of all: Why is Florida car insurance so expensive? In Florida, car insurance is really expensive because of the high cost of Personal Injury Protection (PIP). If you’re a young, inexperienced driver buying a car in those states, your auto insurance won’t come cheap. Your best bet is to avoid getting tickets and grab as many discounts as possible if you’re eligible for them. Taking a driver safety or defensive driving class may earn you a little discount as well.

Getting Discounts on Car Insurance

If you want car insurance discounts your best bet is to bundle your car insurance with your renters or homeowners insurance. Most people think their homeowners insurance is somehow tied to their mortgage but the two are extricable. Chances are that you are paying too much for insurance so shop around and see what rates are available to you. Calling around for quotes may take several days, especially if you want more than a handful of quotes. Using a comparison shopping site like SmartFinancial is the best option for getting multiple quotes and getting connected with the agent offering that rate.

Look into the following to see if you are eligible:

  • Affiliation discounts. Does your job or memberships to any organizations make you eligible for a discount? Are you military?
  • Student discounts. Do you qualify for a good student discount (usually a B+ grade point average or better)? You may also be eligible for a discount if you won’t be using your car very often or only when you’re visiting home.
  • Alumni discounts. See if your college makes you eligible for a discount
  • Good driver discounts. If you haven’t filed (m)any claims in the past 5 years, you may be eligible for this discount.
  • Low-mileage discounts. If you drive about 5,000 miles a year (or less) you’re probably eligible for a discount.
  • Lump sum payment discount. If you pay for the year up front you get a discount.
  • Renewal discount. Your insurer may give you a discount to ensure that you renew, but you need to check for a competitively priced alternative first to see what rates you’re eligible for. Visit SmartFinancial for multiple free car insurance quotes.

Are Red Cars More Expensive to Insure?

If you’ve put off buying a red car or thought your expenses on a red car (namely insurance) were higher because of the red color, you are wrong. This is a myth only. The color of a car won’t affect your insurance rate. However, sports cars (in any color) are often an indicator of risk. They are also usually pricier than the average car and car insurance is structured around your car’s value.

What’s most expensive to insure is a brand new car because its value is at its highest. You’re better off financing a car that just came off a lease. It’ll only be a year or two old, so it’s almost new but the biggest depreciation has already taken place when you buy it.

Different cars have different depreciation values. If you plan to drive your car into the ground it doesn’t matter much but if you plan to sell it, this information matters.

Tips for Saving on Car Expenses:

  • Drive better and save gas by avoiding speeding as well as sudden and fast acceleration and braking.You can save up to $500 a year. Generally speaking driving above 50 miles an hour drains your car of gas.
  • Stop idling when you wait for people or when you try to warm up the car. First of all, the car warms up faster when it’s running. Also, you save on wasted gas. Think $200 a year in savings!
  • The most expensive cars to insure are new cars. Buy a quality car and keep it for years. You will save thousands of dollars.
  • Buy a small car with good gas mileage. You’ll also be paying less in insurance. You could save up to $500 to $1,000 a year in gas alone.
  • Avoid using the air conditioner in your car, which uses several miles per gallon. Unless it’s a heat wave, just roll down the windows. People who use their car’s AC spend about 25% more in gas fare.
  • Use the right oil when you get your oil and filter change or if you do it yourself. If you use something other than the manufacturer’s recommended motor oil, you will use 1% to 2%
  • Don’t buy a service contract through the dealership. You will be paying more for service through the dealer than you would an independent mechanic. You may save up to $1,000 using a good but alternative service.
  • Don’t buy credit disability or credit life through the car dealer. Buy regular life and disability insurance at your job. You’ll save up to $500.
  • Don’t buy an extended warranty. These policies have limited coverage and cost a lot more than superior ones from one of the following providers: Warranty Direct, Carchex, Endurance, Warranty Direct, AA Auto Protection and Delta Auto Protect.
  • Never carry extra weight in your car because you’re paying for the weight in gas fare.
  • Maintaining a speed conserves gas, so hit cruise control!
  • Don’t buy a car that requires premium gas.
  • If all fails, raise your deductible to make your monthly premiums more manageable.

Save on Maintenance Costs:

  • Make sure to get your car tuned annually. Otherwise, you’re spending up to 30% more on gas, which ends up costing you more than a scheduled tune up. You could save up to $300 a year.
  • Get your oil changed every 4,000 to 5,000 miles. Frequent oil and filter changes will keep your engine in good shape. You could save thousands in repairs with this preventative step.
  • Make sure your car’s tires are inflated properly. You may be spending as much as $400 too much on gas every year if your tires are under-inflated. Check your owner’s manual for recommendations.
  • Check your battery’s fluid levels to avoid needing to change the battery prematurely.
  • Carpool to the office. You could save money and extend the life of your car. Think upwards of $500-$1000 a year.
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