Ways to Save - Car Expenses

Next to your home, the family automobile may be the biggest expense in your budget.

  • Carpool. Why drive to work alone? It’s costly, stressful and (some will argue) selfish.
  • List your errands on a "To Do List" and make one run to do it all.
  • Fill your gas tank at the lowest-priced pumps in town. Most vehicles do well on 87-octane, regular unleaded.
  • Service your car on a regular basis.You’ll save money in the long run. Check your oil, fluids and tire pressure every month. Learn to change your oil and filter (do it every 3,000-4,000 miles), inspect and replace spark plugs and top off fluids. The extra time and intermittent expenses will save you from major costs and breakdowns later. Most mechanics if asked, will tell you an oil filter will last longer than oil. You can change oil three times with one filter. Also be sure to rotate your tires!
  • Don’t delay:Have electrical and mechanical problems serviced immediately. Take special problems to a specialist (transmission, muffler, brakes, etc.) after you shop around. Word-of mouth works best; consult a friend.
  • Don’t get taken to the cleaners: Get written estimates, answers to all your questions and explanations of procedures. Request that all replaced parts be returned to you (you’ll want to see if that brake shoe was really damaged or that hose was torn). Take this extra time to become savvy. Besides saving you money, learning this will make you more independent, which is good for your self-esteem. Don’t be embarrassed or too proud to ask your trusted mechanic if they do side repair work at home for discounted prices. This works if you have a friend that is a mechanic or you know the mechanic is trustworthy. Everyone likes to make extra money.
  • Be sure about car insurance: Shop around for liability coverage, raise your deductible and save 5-15% on your insurance rates. Consider dropping collision coverage if your car is old.

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