You wouldn’t want to be without your car, but when you work out exactly much it is costing you each year, it can be a scary number and goes some way to explaining why your bank balance is so slim.
There are loads of expenses attached to car ownership. They can range from the cost of gas to repairs and maintenance, plus insurance and other payments you have to find in order to keep your car on the road.
Strategies to Keep Your Car From Making You Poor
Here are some tips on how to keep a lid on car ownership costs, including why staying loyal to your car pays off, a look at the price you pay for a poorly tuned car, plus some maintenance tips that help to save more of your cash.
Get your money’s worth
It is always tempting to consider the idea of changing your car after a few years for a newer model but the cost of upgrading and the amount you get for your trade-in are likely to be costing you heavily.
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The cost of new cars tends to go up each year, so when you factor in that your car will inevitably depreciate in value over time, you are going to end up paying more for a new model and will get less for your old car.
This double-whammy can be a real blow to your finances.
The way to beat this money trap is to buy a decent car in the first place and then commit to keeping it for at least five years or more. This strategy will ensure you get the best value from your investment (as depreciation is not so steep after the first few years) and the potential savings can add up to thousands of dollars.
Keeping your car for longer will save you money in the long run.
Getting a good tune out of your car
The facts and figures are there for all to see, a poorly tuned car is going to cost at least 25% more in extra gasoline charges each year and your repair bills can also be higher when it breaks down.
Skimping on regular maintenance is a false economy, so how do you keep your car nicely tuned without spending fortunes?
A good solution would be to carry out some of the basic maintenance and repair tasks yourself. You can download Toyota service repair manuals (or whatever make and model you have) and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to change the oil and filter, check fluid levels, and a host of other essential maintenance tasks that are well within your capabilities.
If you do some of your own maintenance to save costs and make sure you follow the manufacturer’s recommended service intervals, you can end up saving a lot of money in running and repair costs.
Don’t forget your tires
It’s a good idea to get into the habit of checking your tire pressures at least once a month when you stop to fill up with gas.
Incorrect tire pressures are a real drain on your bank account, as they reduce your gas mileage performance by a few percent, and if your tire pressures are way out, you will be paying more frequent visits to the gas station.
It is also much safer to have properly inflated tires, so checking your tire pressures regularly is a real no-brainer.
Check your fluids too
While you are doing your tires it would also be a good idea to pop the hood and check everything is ok with the fluid levels.
Radiator fluids, power steering, brake, and clutch fluids should be checked regularly and topped up when needed. It doesn’t cost much to add some more fluids but it is estimated that keeping your fluid levels in the right range could save a couple of hundred dollars each, which is a worthwhile saving.
Trim your insurance costs
Insurance can be a big drain on your bank account and there are a few strategies you can try to lower the annual cost of your motor insurance.
A quick way of lowering your insurance cost would be to agree to raise your deductible on your auto collision insurance.
Upping the level to between $500 and $1,000 will trigger some decent savings on your car insurance costs, and if you have a good driving record you are a potentially lower risk anyway.
The downside to this idea is that if you do have an accident, you will have this larger amount deducted from your claim total, but if you raise the deductible and avoid a collision for a couple of years, you will have managed to make some noticeable savings on your insurance costs.
The cost of motoring is not going to get any cheaper each year, but at least there are some smart ways to keep a lid on those costs.