Have you ever wondered how much your car is actually costing you? The initial expense is enormous, of course, and likely to be your biggest investment after buying a home. But the costs of running a car are also extraordinary – almost $9,000 a year, on average – and over its lifetime can often add up to more than the original value. So, if you want to free up some cash for the household, try using some of these cost-cutting tips and start using your car more sensibly.
Start Driving Sensibly
Want to know what eats up most of the fuel you put in your car? It’s speeding, revving the engine, and braking hard – all bad habits which will end up burning fuel and costing you a small fortune. If you start to drive sensibly and stop those nasty habits, you could save anything between $500 and $1,000 over the course of a year.
Turn Your Engine Off
The next time you stop at lights or are waiting for someone, turn off your engine. An idle engine can use up to a quarter tank of gas every hour, so that adds up to a significant sum of money when you consider how long your engine is idle during a whole week.
Read The Signs
Be honest – how much attention do you pay to road signs? Whether it’s a speed limit or a stop sign, if you fail to comply, one of two expensive things is going to happen. Either you will be involved in a crash and face an expensive repair job, or you will be pulled over by the police and end up with a fine. Driving is pretty simple, really, and there are no excuses for ignoring road signs – anyone that gets caught or is involved in an accident only has themselves to blame.
Avoid Alcohol and Drugs
I would love to think that no one out there is silly enough to drink drive. But sadly, the statistics don’t bear that out. There is still far too many incidents of drunk driving going on within the country, and there will be significant costs to your finances if you try and get away with it. Leaving aside the psychological impact of – potentially – injuring someone, if you drive under the influence of alcohol and drugs, you could lose your license – and possibly your livelihood. A good DWI attorney might be able to help you keep your car, but you will have to pay for those services, too. The solution? Don’t mix alcohol and cars, and be careful about driving the morning after a heavy session.
Pump Your Tires
Your car is built to be driven in a particular way, and following the manufacturer’s guidelines will help you keep your costs down. One of the most important aspects of this is your tires – they need to be inflated to the optimum pressure. Ensuring your tires are in tip-top condition will help you shave off a significant sum of money from your fuel costs – gas mileage can increase by up to 4%.
Improve Your Credit Score
Finally, get on top of your credit rating and improve it – doing so will make a significant difference to your insurance costs. People with excellent ratings tend to pay up to 50% less for their auto insurance than those with a poor score or no credit history.