Everybody wants to save money, but nobody wants to give up the fun stuff. And who can blame them? The good news is that there are a lot of common sense ways to save money without really giving anything up, and many of these can be found in your car.
The first way to save money on your car is perhaps the most obvious, but surprisingly often overlooked: shop around before buying. Shop other dealerships and see if you can come up with a better quote. Shop other brands with similar vehicles and see if you can save a few thousand dollars (which is not small change).
As a general rule, smaller cars cost less to buy and often to maintain and to run. Ask yourself how often you really need that bigger car. If you can make do without a van most of the time, but need it for the very occasional out-of-town trip, you might want to consider buying a smaller vehicle and renting a van on those occasions. Everybody’s situation is different, so take the time to do the calculations to see if you would save a worthwhile amount of money this way.
Check insurance rates before you buy. Two similar-looking vehicles might have significantly different insurance rates. If one costs you $200 more each year, you might prefer to buy the other vehicle.
Of course, shop around for insurance. But you already thought of that, right?
Pay cash, rather than a take out a car loan. And if you take out a loan because you just cannot scrape up the cash, make sure you can fast-track the payments. The difference between cash and credit can often add up to a couple thousand dollars. That’s right – they see you coming.
Keep your car well-maintained. Remember that there are some parts that need to be services. Delaying maintenance to save $100 is counterproductive if it means that a $1000 part breaks down as a result. Make sure to change the oil and air filters regularly and replace all belts at the first sign of wear. And if your garage presents you with a sky-high list of repairs needed, go through each one and ask two questions: Is this a safety issue? If I delay this, will I risk a more costly repair later?
You can also save quite a bit on gasoline by just driving smarter. For instance, drive slowly to save on gas. Not too slowly, mind you. For most vehicles, the optimal speed is around 80 – 90 km/hour. Slower than that reduces engine efficiency, higher than that increases wind resistance.
Keep the trunk empty when you don’t have a specific reason to transport things. You burn more fuel carrying around an extra load.
Keep your tires properly inflated. Under-inflated tires are not only a safety hazard but also increase rolling resistance – so you burn more fuel to move the car against the added resistance.
Don’t idle. When you run your engine without going anywhere, you are just flushing money down the toilet and polluting for no reason. In some cities, they are even passing anti-idling bylaws to deal with ground-level pollution.
Of course, one of the best ways to reduce the cost of gasoline and also of wear-and-tear on the vehicle is to combine trips. You can combine several errands instead of going out separately for each one (saving time, as well). You can also combine people by car-pooling, which gives each person a little less driving stress and a little more nap time.
No matter how you slice it, cars cost money. But they don’t have to cost as much as most people spend on them. These are just a few of the common sense tactics you can use to save money and reduce or avoid debt.
This is a very useful post and I wish I had your advise before we purchased our truck. Our truck is really nice and I love it and the price was right, but the gas consumption is unbelievably bad. It costs about $140 per week to fill the tank because my husbands job is about an hour travel time each way. It’s brutal and I want to sell the truck and get a smaller vehicle. Thanks for this helpful post!
love to see how much i can save by seeing your blog
Great tips. Especially checking out insurance rates Before you buy the car.
Great post! My trunk is always empty and tires are always full!
very useful information!
I just purchased a 2012 Ford Eclipse with Eco boost! I get 33 MPG and I love it!
I can learn a lot from this! My trunk is loaded with junk right now!
I never knew that what is in your trunk can cause low gas mileage until I read this. Thanks for the heads up.
Great tips, I had never thought of checking insurance rates on different cars.
I like the hint about keeping the trunk empty, we haul too much junk around
All really practical tips! We pretty much follow all of them right now!
Wow, nice tips. I need to follow more of them!!!
I always tell my husband to check the insurance rates when he is looking at a new car.
awesome tips, never thought about checking the insurance rates before buying. I do believe in maintaining and preventative maintenance
Wish I could afford to pay cash for a car!
We just bought a Mazda 2 automatic traded in the standard yippee! Lol now I don’t have to be the only one driving my kids can now with an automatic. But we got zero perc interest payments payments are low.
There are some great tips on this post. We have implemented most of them over the years, except perhaps looking at the insurance. Funny I never thought of checking out the insurance on different vehicles. Good idea!
I liked the picture used for the article
Good tip. Seems slowing down could mean savings on both fuel costs and speeding tickets. 🙂
Thank-you for the tips. Saving money is so important.
amazing tips!!! we have a smaller care & have never looked back.
All great points and I’m glad I’m doing a few of them already!
Thank you for these cost saving tips, Tenille. I think my car has lasted this long simply because I take it in for an oil change every 3 month plus the mechanic that I take my care to checks everything out including the tires.
Thank you for the tips to saving money on my vehicle! Anywhere i can save money these days helps!
Awesome tips. We find that driving slower and not being so harsh with the brakes makes a difference. Love your tips.
Great tips! Keeping the trunk empty for me would be a big one.
very good advice and lots to consider when vehicle buying; thanks for info
I like the tip about not carrying anything in your trunk unless you have to. It’s a small difference but it adds up.
good tips thanks
Good tips. Thanks
Given how often coins fall on the floor and between the seats, you can sometimes literally find savings in your car.
Good info and most of it is common sense too.
Great tips. We put out car in for grease and oil and maintencance check every 6 month.
Good tips- For most vehicles, the optimal cruising speed is listed in the owner’s manual.
Great tips thank you I have heard about keeping air in the tires helps on fuel costs.
I never thought about the tip on keeping the trunk empty. Good post!
This is very helpful and amazingly true tips. I recently did all kinds of front end work on my vehicle (tires, tie rod ends, shocks etc) The amount of gas that I was going through prior to all this was unreal. I also learned a lesson about buying new. I purchased a vehilce for $19K after all taxes fees and what not. 35 months into my 36 month term, someone hit me and totalled my car. In return for it I received $8k. The value of the vehicle depreciates EXTREMELY when you drive it off the lot. If you can find a good reliable car that may be a few years older then you will probably have a better financial out come in the long run anyways. For me, loosing 11 THOUSAND dollars in 36 months on a vehicle that I maintained, took care of and respected… just isnt worth it. I could have bought a lower priced not so new vehicle and been just as content. Think wisely, drive safely!
Great points all around Laurie!
wow such great tips! Thanks so much!
keeping your car maintained on a regular basis is very important to save money in the long run
Lots of awesome advice here…I never thought about the junk in the trunk
Thanks so much. Very helpful.
I always keep so much crap in my trunk. Once it warms up it’s getting emptied.
Thanks for the great tips.. I will have to tell my husband that optimal speed is around 80 – 90 km/hour . Maybe it will make him slow down.. 🙂
We drive a gas guzzling SUV but we do save money by combining errands and my hubby keeps it maintained so it runs its best.
Great post! I always try to drive the speed limit.. I know it saves me on gas =)
Idling is something that my husband does in the vehicle. He always leaves the vehicle running, especially in the winter when the vehicle will cool off inside as it sits and he doesn’t want to get cold.
I’m the worst, I should really shop around more – i usually settle pretty quickly
Japanese Cherry Blossom
Great tips! I really should remember to empty my trunk more often though, it seems to fill right up in no time!
will definitely keep these tips in mind. thanks
good tips thanks
Thanks for the great tips! I try to stay on top of car maintenance as much as possible!
I also find that typically the cost for repairs and maintenance of a North American car is cheaper than an import 🙂
Awesome tips :)…thank you
Great tips! We are in the market for buying a new car in May and we totally forgot about checking out insurance rates before deciding.
Usually it is better to pay cash, but if the dealership has a really low financing rate, it could actually save you money to finance than to empty out your savings and lose the interest you would have earned. That’s what we did.
What I don’t understand is why they keep allowing drive thrus in this day and age of obesity, idling bylaws, green house gas concerns…..
Cars can be such a strain on your wallet. Thank you.
We just (this week)bought a new vehicle and did many of these!
If you keep your vehicle in good running order and properly maintained you will be fine. Always look at the fuel efficiency when buying a vehicle. You may end up buying a gas guzzler without knowing.
I really need to get in the habit of listening to these great tips. I’ve heard them before, and I make an effort for a while and then start slipping… thanks for compiling all the tips in one place!
I’ve got to remember to shop around for insurance prices when it comes up for renewal — thanks for the reminder!
Have to remember to unlosd the doublecstroller more often…..
thanks for the advice
darn, we can only drive 50 here
I’ll be keeping these tips in mind!
very helpful tips… Thanks so much
Pays to clean your car LOL
great tips! i did not know about some of them and will be sure to work on these issues asap!
Always shop around and let the salesperson know that you have been checking out other places. We do try to make the least amount of trips when we’re out shopping, nothing worse than wasting gas backtracking to another store because you forgot something. Great tips in your post!
I keep our car in great shape by getting a full tune-up every six months. The money we save by keeping the car in good shape compared to my brother who just waits until his car breaks down even though he can hear something is wrong..The best tip my Dad gave us was to get a bank loan with much lower interest than financing a car through a dealership.