Cars are notoriously expensive in nearly every way; they’re expensive to buy, to insure, to maintain, and to fuel, and they depreciate in value quickly. But there are ways to make owning and maintaining your car affordable!
Before you buy…
The first decision related to automotive costs comes before you even choose which car you’re going to purchase: a new car or a used car? Weigh your options, because this is a very individual choice. Newer cars require less maintenance, but they do cost more to purchase up front. Depending on your payment plan, insurance can vary. Fuel costs are usually lower with new cars because they tend to be more fuel efficient…
If you do choose to buy a new car, make sure you’re aware of any warranties and use them!
When it comes to maintenance, prevention is always less expensive.
Car maintenance has a cost, but it’s also called maintenance because it helps you to maintain your vehicle. When it’s not properly maintained, that’s when things start to go wrong and you’ll have to make repairs, which are almost always more expensive than maintenance.
● Change your oil on a regular basis and according to your manual,
● Check your fluids regularly, including coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid, washer fluid, etc.
● Maintain the proper tire pressure and rotate your tires regularly,
● Replace your brakes when necessary,
● Keep an eye on your filters and change them regularly,
● Avoid emptying your gas tank – start looking for a fuel station when it gets around ¼ of a tank, and
● Check your car’s manual for maintenance!
Accelerate and stop slowly.
Accelerating quickly is a great way to waste fuel, but it also gets you in the habit of driving aggressively. Stopping slowly rather than constantly slamming on the brakes is an incredibly cost-saving habit to create! Your brake pads might last two or three times as long if you brake carefully and thoughtfully than if you drive aggressively.
Check errors and make repairs quickly.
Not only is it important to perform scheduled maintenance on time, but when you do notice something wrong with your car, have it looked at sooner rather than later. This means when your check engine light turns on, don’t wait three weeks to see what triggered it – take it in as soon as possible. The longer the light is on, the more likely that the problem will grow and create other issues.