There are a number of ways to save money, such as not eating out as often and planning “staycations” instead of pricey vacations. But we often overlook a big one: what’s sitting in our driveway or garage. Not only is there the monthly payment for that car, truck, van or motorcycle, there’s also depreciation, fuel, insurance, financing, maintenance and repair.
- Shop around for a vehicle. Prices and deals can vary at different dealers, so do your research.
- Negotiate the price of the vehicle you want. Not comfortable negotiating? Remember that the dealer or seller is there to make money. Your job is to save money. Every amount you save now will affect your payments for the next several years.
- Shop around for financing. A bank or credit union might be able to offer better terms than the dealer.
- Get what you need at the dealer and buy extras, such as sound systems and roof racks, on your own. Dealers often add large markups to these types of items.
- Be realistic about what you can afford and the type of vehicle you really need.
- Buy a preowned vehicle. Auto Lab is available to inspect it before you sign on the dotted line to make sure the vehicle is in good shape.
- Opt for a higher deductible, which results in a lower monthly payment.
- Ask your agent about discounts for good grades and having certain safety features. Insurers also offer discounts if you have multiple policies with them, such as homeowners’ or renters.’
- Evaluation your driving habits. If you retire and drive less, for example, that might mean lower rates.
- Plan your route and combine your errands to save fuel and time.
- Car pool.
- Don’t use a higher grade of gas unless your car specifically requires it. Your owner’s manual may “recommend” a higher grade. This isn’t the same. Only shell out for premium if the manual says the car must have it.
- Shop around for cheap gas. There are a number of apps and websites that can help.
- Keep a close eye on your tire pressure. When properly inflated, tires last longer and you’ll get better gas mileage.
- Follow the maintenance schedule outlined in your owner’s manual.
- Check your fluids and make sure to get your oil changed when it’s needed.
- Check your battery, or have us test it for you. If it dies while you’re out and about, you’re going to have to pay for tow truck in addition to the cost of the new battery.
- Replace the air filter. A clean air filter can improve gas mileage, acceleration and engine life while lowering emissions.