The average Canadian spends thousands of dollars on their vehicle every year (including insurance, maintenance, gasoline, etc.). Check out this Driving Costs analysis done by CAA in 2011. Are you spending as much on your vehicle as the average Canadian?
What some people don’t realize when they purchase a new vehicle is that it depreciates the minute you drive away from the dealership. A car can lose up to 20% of it’s value in the first year of ownership!
Following are 6 ways you can save on your car expenses.
Drive a reliable vehicle.
Stay away from flashy sports cars and SUVs, as those will cost you an arm and a leg to operate. Purchase a vehicle that is safe, has great fuel efficiency, and is easy to maintain.
Shop around, do your research and find the car that’s right for you.
Consider becoming a one car household.
Many families have more than one vehicle and this can cause havoc on your bank account every month. Two insurance payments, two car payments (in some instances), twice the maintenance and repairs, and of course, twice the gasoline – this could add up to a large amount of money each month. Is it really worth it?
When we decided to become a one car household over a year ago, I knew that I was going to be giving up a bit of freedom by not having a vehicle during the day. However, making that choice to get rid of one of our cars was the right move for us. We save over $2,000 every year by only having to maintain one vehicle – and you know what? Most of the time, I really don’t even miss having that 2nd vehicle.
Keep up with routine maintenance.
If you want to keep your car for as long as you possibly can, it’s important to keep it in tip-top shape. Don’t neglect getting your vehicle serviced whenever you need to. Take a look through your owner’s manual to determine when you need to change the air filter, replace transmission fluid and rotate the tires.
Get an oil change every 4 months (or 12,000 kilometres).
Despite what others may tell you, it’s not usually necessary to change your oil every 3 months (or 4,827 kilometres). The only reason you would need to do so that often would be if your vehicle gets a lot of use (for example, if you drove a taxi).
According to Perry Stern, editor at MSN Autos, the average person only needs to change the oil in their car every 12,000 kilometres (or every 4 months). This is what we have been doing for years and we’ve never had an issue with any of the vehicles we’ve owned.
Shop around for insurance.
This is something that you should try to do every year. Right before your insurance policy is about to be renewed, look around at other companies to see if you can get the same coverage for a lower price. Many times, you can! If you mention to competing companies that you are looking for a lower rate than your current insurance provider, they will usually ask how much you are currently paying and will then offer you a lower rate. This has worked for me in the past, so I encourage you to give it a try. You just never know what kind of savings you may come across!
Of course, one of the easiest ways to save money on your car costs is to simply drive less often. Walk to as many places as possible. Take the bus. Car-pool with friends/family.
Combine your errands so that you don’t have to go out as often, saving you time and money! You should only drive if absolutely necessary.
Though it may seem impossible to some, you can save money on car expenses. The key is to do your research, be committed and stay focused. It is possible to own a vehicle, enjoy the freedom that comes along with it, and still save a decent amount of money on the expenses you will be incurring from operating it.
Owning a vehicle can be an expensive endeavour. Employ some of these money saving tips and you will be well on your way to enjoying your vehicle for less!