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Easy ways to save money on your car

Remember how excited you were when you got your first car? The joy and thrill of becoming the proud owner of a car! Unfortunately you will soon find out that maintaining your vehicle can be quite an expensive task - from initial purchase to insurance to maintenance. And sometimes we get that sinking feeling that every time we need a repair done, we’re going to get taken for a ride. Actually there are some ways to make sure you don’t get a raw deal when dealing with a local body shop. Your first option should be to use your regular mechanic, if he’s a good one.

After you get recommendations for honest mechanics, call around to check out the prices for certain jobs. It’s always smart to get a second opinion.

How about some preventative measures?

Prevention is better than cure…and a lot cheaper! Keep your gas tank filled or at least halfway. Driving on “fumes” allows tiny pieces of dirt at the bottom of your petrol tank to run through the fuel lines with the last drops of gas. This debris clogs up the fuel filter and can cause damage to other parts as well. Sometimes a problem with your car’s electrical system results from a simple blown fuse. Check to see if you have any blown fuses before investing in expensive repairs. Keep track of how much oil your car uses. A sudden change in oil consumption means you need to see a mechanic. Have your oil and filters changed at regular intervals. This is one of the most important preventative measures to follow. Save your brakes by having your brake fluid changed at regular intervals. About every 48 280km or 30 000 miles.

Check your tire pressure once a month. This simple maintenance check can add up savings at the gas pump! When your tire pressure is incorrect it can cause higher fuel consumption as well as tire wear. Check the owner’s manual, it will give you the proper pressures for front and back tires. You can also rotate your tires once a year i.e. swop the back tires with the front and vice versa.

Each time you drive over 96kmh/60 mph, it’s costing you more in fuel. Everyone likes to open up their engines now and again and “put your foot down” but think about the consumption! In most cases, using cruise control on the highway will save gas. Replace your spark plugs regularly to avoid misfiring and fuel wastage. Replace clogged air filters and improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent. Driving habits are a major contributor to poor fuel economy. Bad habits include exceeding speed limits, aggressive driving, excessive idling, loading heavy items in vehicle, and the list goes on. Fast driving in low gears can consume up to 45% more fuel than is needed. When traveling at highway speeds keep windows closed. Open windows reduce your mileage by 10%. You should drive steadily. Sudden changes in speed wastes fuel. A lot of fuel can be wasted by prolonged warming up of the engine. You do not need to warm up engine for more than 45 seconds even on cold mornings. Starting and stopping your engine needlessly is another no-no. Avoid revving the engine, especially just before it is switched off or before pulling away at the traffic light.

Replacing a clogged air filter can improve your car's gas mileage by as much as 10 percent. This isn’t going to cost you an arm or leg either. Also get a quality filter, don’t just go for the cheapest one on the rack. The good one will cost a bit more but will save you in the long run. Wash your own car! This sounds simple but many people spend a pretty penny on car washes, waxing and valets. Do it yourself and save some money. Also leaving your car dirty for long can damage the paintwork further especially if there are bird droppings on the body. The droppings can corrode the paint and this will cause your car’s value to drop as well.

There are other ways to save money on car expenses. Talk to your insurance agent. If your car is as old as the hills, you might want to drop collision coverage to save money. Shop around for the best insurance deals. Car insurance companies offer a variety of discounts. Ask your agent if the company offers reductions for driver training courses, anti-lock brakes, car alarms, air bags, mature drivers, good students or maintaining a good driving record.

Before you purchase from a dealer, ask about the dealer's return policy, get it in writing and read it carefully. Dealers don’t always give you all the information so read the fine print thoroughly. Do your homework when buying a used car or a car from an auction. Many vehicles that have been accident damaged are going on the market. These won’t last long – leaving you with a flood of bills. Be a little concerned if the carpet looks too new, and check carefully for signs of rust. Do a thorough inspection of the vehicle if you plan on purchasing used models or at auction

If you use your car for business, keep track of miles traveled and keep your slips so that you can use this for a tax deduction.

When I first bought my VW years ago it was my pride and joy but I became slack in maintaining it and this caused me loads of headaches and repairs. I learned that the best way is to do preventative maintenance ….change the oil regularly, check/change filters, don’t drive like the cops are after you! Watch your fuel consumption. Keep tires in order and at proper pressures. Learn to do some things yourself, this can save you tons.

When you consider all the ways you can save money on your current vehicle, you might be persuaded to put away the extra each month for a new car down the road!

Happy motoring!


Reference | How to | Cars


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