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5 Ways to Cut Back on Car Expenses

Posted by MoneyKey on July 10, 2019
cut back on car expenses

Owning and maintaining a car is a pricey endeavor, but for people who need to drive to work, have a family to drive around, or need it to for their day-to-day tasks, it may be a necessary one. But if you’re living on a tight budget, car expenses might be tough for you to handle.

There are a number of different car expenses that can eat away at your finances, but fortunately, there are things you can do that may help reduce some of these costs. Keep in mind that some of these things will be geared towards slowing down the depreciation of your car and extending its lifespan. You might not see the effects of this on your monthly budget immediately, but when you can do things to cut down on car repair cost or having to replace parts, you may be able to see big savings in the long run. And the more you can cut back on car expenses in general, the better.

So, let’s take a look at five things you can do to help lower your car expenses.

1. Keep your car clean

A lot of people may think that washing your car and keeping it clean is done only for aesthetic purposes. The truth is, maintaining the exterior of your car can go a long way in helping you extend its lifetime and lower car expenses. Things like dirt, salt, and grime can start to harm your car’s paint, and if you let it eat away at your car for too long, it can start to damage the metal in addition to the paint. Not only will this shorten the lifespan of your car, it can also lead to necessary part replacements and expensive repairs.  

clean your car to lower car expenses

To stop this from happening – particularly if you drive on dirt roads or through salted streets in the winter frequently – make sure to wash your car on a regular basis. You can do this on your own at home or get it done professionally. Either way, cleaning your car on a regular basis may help to extend the lifetime of your car and help you avoid repairs down the line.

2. Do some basic car maintenance on your own

When you own a car, maintenance is something you can’t avoid. But that doesn’t mean you have to run to the mechanic every time some basic car maintenance needs to be done. There are a few small tasks that you may be able to do all on your own to lower your car expenses!

Start by doing simple things like putting washer fluid in your car and replacing your wiper blades. When you start to feel more comfortable, you can begin to try your hand at things like oil changes, battery changes, and tire replacements.

There are all sorts of online resources to walk you through these basic car maintenance tasks. Just do a quick search online for whatever task you’re trying to take care of, and you should be able to find a video to walk you through the process step by step. Just remember that if you’re not comfortable with doing a particular maintenance task, don’t try to take on more than you can handle.

If you do run into any emergency car expenses that you don’t have the funds for, an online loan from MoneyKey may be able to help. You may be able to get the money you need to pay for your repair and tide you over until your next payday.

3. Make sure your tires are properly inflated

It’s a small task, but every month it’s a good idea to check the pressure in all of your tires and make sure they’re inflated up to their recommended pressure level. It’s a simple thing to take care of that’ll only take a couple of minutes, and you can typically find an air pump at any gas station. You can get an inexpensive tire pressure gauge, or you can measure your tire pressure at a gas station.

keep tires inflated to lower car expenses

For every 1 PSI (pounds per square inch) drop in the average pressure of all your tires, your gas mileage will lower by around 0.2 percent. Your tires will slowly leak air as time goes on, so if you never inflate them, your fuel economy will slowly start to drop and you’ll need to fill your car up with gas more often. Considering how simple and quick this task is, it’s a good idea to do this every once in a while when you’re already stopping for gas.

4. Keep up with your car’s maintenance schedule

You’ll find a lot of helpful information in your car’s owner manual, and one of the more helpful things is its maintenance schedule. This tells you what maintenance needs to be done and how often you should be taking your car in for an inspection. There’ll be a fair bit of variance between maintenance tasks, so it’s important to follow your manual and read up on the general lifespan of certain parts of your car.

As we’ve already spoken about, you might be able to lower your car expenses by doing some of these tasks on your own. But even when you’re bringing your car in to a shop, make sure that the mechanic is aware of the schedule your car is on. Keep up with what maintenance needs to be done and make sure to make a note when each task is completed.

Making sure you’re following this schedule and keeping everything maintained may help you tack on some extra years to the lifespan of your car. You might have some more upfront costs, but you could be saving money in the end. This also gives your mechanic a chance to inspect your car more regularly and spot any smaller issues that might need to be taken care of before they become a bigger problem.

5. Avoid parking in the sun

In the hot summer months, there’s a chance that you may be using more gas than you normally would. Why? Because cranking the air conditioning to cool down your car burns through gas. It can lower your car’s fuel efficiency by an average of 3 miles per gallon. This happens because when you crank up the AC, your car has to divert energy that it would be using to power the energy to power the AC. Even rolling the windows down when you’re on the highway can force your car to use up more gas!

avoid parking in sun to lower car expenses

So how can you cut back on using your AC? One thing that might help is to park your car in the shade when you can, even if you have to walk farther to get to where you’re going. When the sun is beating down, this may make a big difference on the temperature of your car. While you’ll still probably have to use the air conditioning to some extent, less time running the AC can help you cut back on gas and save on car expenses.

Use these tips to help cut back on car expenses

While maintaining a car isn’t cheap, there are plenty of different ways to save money on car expenses. Some can have an impact right away, like ensuring your tires have the right amount of air in them, and some are long plays meant to extend the lifespan of your car and save you money down the line. By combining these smaller tasks with the larger scale things, you may be able to save a significant amount of money on your car expenses over time.

Try to keep up with the tasks you think you can manage and slowly start to incorporate more as time goes on. The longer you work at it, the more you might be able to save!

Are there any ways to cut back on car expenses that we haven’t listed? Share below!


Disclaimer: This article provides general information only and does not constitute financial, legal or other professional advice. For full details, see MoneyKey's Terms of Use.

Posted in: Lifestyle

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