Cars are expensive. Everyone knows that, but not everyone considers this: high costs continue beyond the initial purchase. Maintenance, gas, insurance, and many other auto-related costs can add up to dry out your bank account.
Luckily, there’s plenty you can do. You’re at the wheel, here. Smart car ownership can save you big money. The little things adds up. The big things add up fast. Follow these simple tips to slam the brakes on runaway expenses.
Read Your Owner’s Manual
Get to know the guide your car comes with. You’ll learn an enormous amount of basic advice you might not have learned in your high school automotive class. Not all cars are alike, of course, and the manufacturer’s tips will be geared specifically at your make, model, and year. You’ll feel more connected with your vehicle once you add booksmarts to your street smarts.
Change Your Oil
Changing your car’s oil regularly will save you money. Big time. Good, clean oil will make your engine run smoothly and add life to your vehicle. Running out of oil, on the other hand, will destroy your engine and may permanently ruin your car. If your car is older than 10 years, be even more careful about changing your oil. Oil leaks and other problems can lead older cars to run out of oil sooner than the normal 3000 mile mark; you’ll probably want to get into the habit of checking on your own every time you gas up. Even if your car is brand new, it’s worth checking the oil often; according to Consumer Reports, many new cars have engines which burn oil and force drivers to refill their engines often.
Tires connect your car to the pavement. Driving would be unthinkable without tires. Clearly, you need to care for them. Experts advise you to get them rotated with each oil change. Avoid hazards such as broken glass, bumpy roads, and sharp objects. Make sure your tires are weather appropriate, and that you’re getting them changed on occasion. Give them the penny test to check for extreme wear. Keep them inflated. Watch for surface abnormalities (such as bulges and gouges).
Prepare For Weather
Watching the weather can save you a fortune. There are 270,000 car accidents a year just in Michigan, to Goodman Acker. These accidents can be extremely costly, and very deadly. Pay attention to road conditions, visibility, and even the heat. A snow storm can make any driver lose control of a vehicle. A heat wave can turn drivers angry and get them reckless. Get your smart phone a decent weather app (don’t settle for defaults!), keep an eye on what’s happening, check your local Department of Transportation’s website for local tips; all of these could save you money on car care, hospital fees, and insurance premiums.
As mentioned, car accidents will sap your wallet. This may sound obvious, but it bears repeating: one of the best ways to save on maintenance is to avoid needing maintenance in the first place. Stick to posted speed limits, watch for other drivers, don’t drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and stay calm.