A friend of mine used to say: “If you want trouble in your life, there’s no need to marry. Just buy a car.” While this is a somewhat extreme opinion, it’s certainly true that the cost of buying a car is just the beginning. Car ownership is an expensive business. So, how can you keep those costs down? Some of it is just common sense, some of it is less obvious. Check it out!
Keep Insurance Premiums Low
Insurance is a bit like a bet between you and the insurer. The lower the odds of you needing to claim, the lower the cost of insurance. Insurers look at a lot of things to determine what they should charge for vehicle cover. If you’re a young driver, for example, you’ll pay more. If you’ve had car accidents in the past, ditto. If you have a record of DUI, up goes the premium. Learn more on how DUI can affect your auto insurance premiums as an example. So, what can you do about this? The best you can do is to be a careful driver who is compliant with road rules and laws. Don’t claim for minor stuff, get a lift or take an Uber when out partying, and don’t collect a bunch of speeding fines.
Service Your Car on Schedule
When budgets are tight, it might be tempting to delay a vehicle service. After all, you need the money. However, a delayed service will reduce fuel efficiency and will cause unnecessary wear on the vehicle. Prevention is cheaper than cure. Get that service! Unless your car is still under warranty, you don’t need to use the agents. They’re notoriously more expensive than regular mechanics. However, do make sure that your mechanic has a good reputation and that he feels comfortable working with your kind of car. Car chock full of electronics? Oops! You might need the agent after all.
Let Your Car Get Old
Want to save on car ownership costs? Don’t follow the auto-dealers-love-you model of buying a new car every two years – unless you can pay cash! If you can pay cash, you probably don’t need to save on car ownership costs. But do bear in mind that some of the world’s richest people drive ordinary cars and let them get old before buying a replacement. A reliable, well-looked over car can last a long time – maybe not as long as the old VW Beetles one still sees on the roads, but certainly longer than two years!
As your car ages, review your insurance. The maximum your auto insurance will pay out if your car gets totalled is its book value. If that’s quite low, you may be able to get away with a less comprehensive insurance package.
Keep a Logbook to Check Fuel Consumption
Rising fuel consumption is an indication that your car isn’t working as it should and needs attention. And if your car’s turning into a gas guzzler for other reasons (reboring, for instance) it may be time to get something that’s lighter on fuel. The more you drive, the more this matters. While we’re talking fuel consumption, opt for a small, lightweight car instead of the biggest pickup or SUV that you can afford – unless you need that extra power for practical reasons.
A Few Extra Thoughts
In closing, we can conclude that neglect will increase the cost of car ownership. Simple things like getting your wheels balanced will not only save you money in the long run, but also make your car safer to drive. Is your vehicle costing less to upkeep than you expected? Able to reduce insurance premiums? Put those savings towards the next purchase! You’ll be glad you did.