3 Ways to Trim Your Monthly Auto Expenses
Owning a car can wreak havoc on your budget. Even if you have your car paid off, you still need to spend money on fuel, maintenance, and insurance each month. Over time, these costs can drain your bank account. Repair the damage to your monthly income by using these tips to trim down some of these monthly auto expenses.
Perform Regular Maintenance
While you might be tempted to cut some of your auto budget by reducing the amount of maintenance you put into it, deny this urge. Doing so puts your car at risk for developing serious problems that will cost far more than the initial preventive maintenance. For example, skipping an oil change every 3,000 to 6,000 miles could decrease the life of your engine. Sludge-like oil could clog things up, leading to costly repairs anywhere from $500 to $3,000.
Other small maintenance projects to keep in mind are having your tires balanced, keeping fluid levels maintained, switching to steel-belted radial tires, and keeping your car properly tuned.
Save on Fuel
The number one mistake people make when filling up at the pump is trying to top off their tank. Not only is this dangerous, but it can also cause your car to leak fuel when the tank warms up or when you park on a hill. This will save you about $1.67 to $4.42 a month, which adds up quickly if you make it a regular habit.
You’ll also want to keep an eye on your air filter, as dirty filters can reduce your fuel efficiency by 10 percent. Doing so could save you about $10.83 a month. Did you know that having under-inflated tires is another leading cause of low fuel efficiency? Keeping your tires at the recommended inflation levels can save you $11.67 to $33.33 a month in fuel costs.
One of the best ways to save on fuel is to reduce your driving. Start or join a carpool to work, and you can save around $20 a month depending on the length of your commute. Factor in parking fees and traffic tickets, and the savings are even more pronounced.
Reduce Insurance Costs
The hefty price of insurance is something you can’t always avoid, especially if you have a history of accidents. However, you can work with your insurance agent to find ways to lower your monthly cost. One of these ways is to raise your deductible, which could save you about 10 to 30 percent each month on your policy.
Many people also forget to tell their insurance company about all the safety features on their car. Things like automatic seat belts, a security system, and air bags all can lower your premiums. If you choose to combine your auto and homeowner’s insurance, you can even add features like smoke detectors.
While some of these methods to trim your monthly auto expenses might seem inconsequential, consider the bigger picture. Even if each change just saves you a dollar each month, that’s $12 a year. Make 10 changes a month, and you’ll pocket an extra $120 each year.
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