When you go over your monthly expenses, there are some costs that stick out like a sore thumb. Next to the big fees, such as rent and electricity, the amount of money that goes into maintaining a car is certainly one that stands out.
Yet, for many people, a car is simply a necessity. So, if you're spending too much on your car, how can you tell? If you know what alternatives are available, you can better identify when a given expensive is unnecessarily large. It also helps to remember that, when you’re actively trying to save money, opening up more of your existing income is certainly a goal worth pursuing.
The more you drive, the more you spend. While you could change how often you drive, many people have already accepted there are tasks that can’t be avoided, such as the daily commute or taking the kids to (and from) school. Try improving your efficiency for a month and see how big a difference there is in fuel consumption. If there’s a noticeable dent, isn’t it time to change your driving habits?
The ideal driving speed is 55 mph and, the further you move away from this, the more fuel you use per mile. Of course, sometimes you legally can’t drive at this speed. What you can also do, however, is bring the car to a progressive halt, rather than excessive braking. Likewise, don’t leave the motor running when waiting outside homes and other buildings. Just turn the engine off - with modern fuel injection, it saves more gas this way.
Similarly, you can optimise the car for speed. Remove any roof racks that aren’t in use, as these create drag, and ensure you have the correct tyre pressure. This may seem simple, but this greatly prevents fuel being wasted through various resistance forces.
Car insurance is seldom cheap and this is often because providers love to use statistical data, rather than actual data relating to you. The common argument is that they don’t such data for you, yet statistics show people of your age, career, location etc, warrant a higher cost because of one reason or another.
The best way to change this is to try a smartbox insurance policy. This gives accurate data on your driving habits, allowing insurance companies to reward safer drivers. Similarly, many companies insure you based on the maximum speed of your car, so using a speed limiter is a great way to cut this down.
3.Garage repairs and servicing
Knowing how much to spend for any repair or service is always a small financial nightmare, as many garages love to add extra costs. Yet this is just like any other expense. When there’s a big market, make the most of the competition and shop around.
Furthermore, there are many basic tricks that you can learn yourself. Using car maintenance guides, you can easily learn how to change air filters, light bulbs or engine oil. It doesn’t take long, but it removes the hefty service fees you might otherwise be paying.
If you’ve ever had a washing machine repaired with an engineer that insists on brand-only parts, then it should surprise you that vehicles have a very similar system. Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts or more expensive and, when your car is under warranty, may very well be a better deal.
Aftermarket parts, however, are just as good and, aside from being cheaper, often come with their own warranty or guarantee. Because of the wider competition, you can make much better financial decisions.
One area you might not want to cut corners on, however, is the car tyres. As long as you know your size - and you can use an online tyre size guide to help - there are plenty of options. While you can get a cheap product, please keep your driving needs in mind. If you have severe winter conditions, spending a little more on winter products is no big price to pay for extra safety.
Is It Cheaper To Buy A New Car?
Finally, one of the best ways to determine if you’re spending too much is to figure out whether it’s better to repair or replace your car. The simplest way to do this is to have a rough estimate of your yearly expenses, including:
● Fuel costs
● Average repair costs
● Maintenance, tests and services
● Insurance, including the excess
Then, have a rough idea of what car you would buy to replace it. This way, you can get some rough quotes on insurance and workout the fuel efficiency. It can also be assumed you will spend less money repairing and maintaining a car in a newer condition.
Put it this way: if a new car would cost $500 less each year, than this is essentially $500 would be earned back every year you own the new option. Of course, cars depreciate in value quickly, but a new car can often be better than keeping an older car, where the costs are likely to only go up over time.
Taking your car costs under scrutiny will definitely pay off in the long run, so it’s only sensible to know your actual car expenses and see where you’re spending money and where you could be saving it. When you consider how long you may be driving throughout your life, this can generate some surprisingly large savings over the years.