While owning a car is definitely a convenience that helps me get around, this is also one of the most significant expenses that is in my monthly budget. Not only do I have to worry about regular servicing, but there are other expenses as well – such as car insurance and, of course, fuel! All of these expenses quickly add up.
The good news is that there are some things that you can do to help save some money. While this has not brought my monthly bill down to zero, it definitely helps reduce the expenses that I have to spend on my car, putting more money into my pocket at the end of the month. In this post, we will focus on particular strategies that I have used to keep the costs of my car maintenance down, while also ensuring I save some money on my car insurance too.
1. Change your oil filter and oil frequently
The owner’s manual of each car will provide an overview of when the oil filter and the oil of a car should be changed. While the owner manual should be closely followed to ensure the proper maintenance of a car, it is generally recommended to change these products every 5,000 kms – waiting longer, even when the owner’s manual advises you to do so, can result in problems. With frequent changes of oil, along with the oil filter of your car, you will greatly extend your engine’s lifespan. In the long run, you’ll also run into fewer problems with your engine, leading to a lower number of repairs needed – this can help to keep maintenance costs down, especially those unforeseen emergencies. This is taken care of when I take my car in for a service every 6 months.
2. Regularly check the air filter
The air filter of a car has an important role to play in its overall functionality, but many people forget how important it is to keep this particular filter clean. When the air filter is dirty, it can actually reduce the mileage that you get on your fuel, making your car less fuel-efficient. Furthermore, it should also be noted that leaving your air filter dirty can reduce the lifespan of your engine and cause bigger problems down the road. You can clean the air filter yourself or simply buy a new one. If you don’t want to do this yourself, be sure to check that it’s done in any major service.
3. Make sure your car is tuned
While a frequent tune-up for your car can be seen as an additional expense, it can actually help to bring down the cost of maintaining your car in the long run. When your car is not properly tuned, it means you may be using a lot more fuel than you could be in the case where your car is tuned inappropriately. Calculate the cost of the additional fuel that you will be using and compare that to taking your car only once a year for a tune-up.
4. Use the right tyres
The tyres you use on your car can actually have an impact on how much fuel you use while driving – this is, unfortunately, a particular factor that not everyone truly understands. There are many different options out there when it comes to fitting your car with tyres. For those who want to maximise their use of fuel, the recommended option would be steel-belted radial tyres. This can greatly help to reduce the use of fuel in your car. I recently got new tyres for rego that were suggested by my mechanic and I have seen an improvement in not only the overall handling of the car but also fuel economy.
5. Avoid Premium Unleaded option if you can
When you fill up on fuel, you usually have the option to choose between standard and premium unleaded. Premium unleaded options are significantly more expensive than the standard option. While these options tend to make many promises, they are usually not as necessary as the brands that produce them would make you believe. If your car’s owner manual does not specifically state that your car requires the use of premium fuel options, then opt for the standard fuel that you can find at any petrol station in your area – this can help to reduce the cost of fuel, especially in the long run.
6. Ensure your tyres are properly inflated
Just as the type of tyres fitted on your car can have an impact on your fuel usage, it should be noted that the inflation of your tyres can also have an effect. When your tyres are not properly inflated, your car may be using more fuel than it needs to. Thus, try to check the inflation rate of your tyres frequently – and if you find that any of your tyres seem to be under-inflated, get them inflated. You can head into a service station and inflate them yourself, be sure to read the tyre wall to find the recommended type pressure to put in.
7. Shop around for the best insurance deal
Insurance is an essential part of owning a car and also a necessity with most car financing contracts, but companies charge different rates for this type of insurance. To make sure you get the best deal and are not paying too much for your car insurance, you should definitely shop around. Most insurance providers will be happy to provide you with an obligation free quotation and the process often only takes a few minutes. Call a couple of companies or find an insurance quote comparison engine on the internet. Get quotes from multiple companies and then see who can offer you the best insurance policy at the best rate.
I ended up going with QBE who were nearly $100 cheaper than competitors.
8. Try to bundle your car insurance with other policies
It’s also a good idea to consider bundling your different insurances into one single policy – this can also save you a significant amount of money. Instead of choosing one company for your car insurance, another for your home insurance, and yet another for insurance your personal belongings, find one company that can cover all of these items under one single policy. Again, when it comes to bundling your insurances, do not settle for the first quote you get. Shop around and ask for multiple quotations to ensure you are truly getting the best deal possible for your situation. If you have a preferred company you would like to stick with, it’s also worth seeing if they will price match.
9. Buy a smaller car that is cheaper on fuel
Finally, while this might not be the most actionable step to take, it is important to consider the fact that smaller cars that weigh less tend to be much lighter on fuel. I know that when the time comes to replace my car, I will be going with a smaller car that is more fuel efficient. My current 2007 Holden Commodore is bit of a guzzler. If you find yourself driving a heavier or larger car that tend to be very heavy on fuel usage, then you might want to consider trading in for something lighter. As I mentioned, this may not be the most practical option for everyone – such as for families with multiple kids. If you do, however, find yourself in a situation where you can easily feel comfortable with a car that is slightly smaller than yours, then you should consider looking at what is available and seeing what the trade-in value for your current car would be. The reduced fuel usage can really save you a lot of money at the end of the day.
Try it and see how much you save
There are many things you can do to help reduce the cost of insurance, car servicing and maintenance, as well as help to lower the amount of fuel that you use. The tips I shared in this post can all help save you money on the usual expenses you have with your car, helping you stretch your pay a little further. Take them into consideration and see how much you can save.
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Thanks for stopping by! Drop me a comment below with any questions, I’m always happy to help where I can.