Car ownership can be very expensive over the long-term. With so many additional costs such as gas, oil changes, insurance, and maintenance, owning a car can really put a dent in your wallet. How can you control these costs? Here are some tips.
Studies have found that the average North American car owner can spend between $6-8k (or more) a year in costs related to owning the car based on fuel usage, insurance premiums and maintenance. This is without considering any upgrades the owner decides to install.
Don’t Over Buy
This seems like a simple idea, but many people don’t follow it. When you are out looking for a new car, don’t tap out your budget on just the car payments. Consider the additional insurance costs and taxes that are associated with a newer vehicle. Also, consider the maintenance you will need to make. For example, a full-size diesel-powered V8 pickup might be a cool truck to buy, but maintaining it is another story. In short, consider your needs, avoid being the guy driving around an empty Cadillac Escalade.
One of the easiest ways to minimize vehicle ownership costs is to save money on fuel. This doesn’t mean that you should save gas by not driving. Rather it means take some simple steps to try to maximize your mpg. Ideas include:
- Checking the air pressure in your tires
- Avoiding accelerating like a race car driver
- Using a gasoline fuel cleaner once a year
- Be wary of upgrading the tires to a larger, more gas guzzling size
Be a smart consumer and keep an eye on the other variables of car ownership like insurance premiums, financing charges and tire wear. Insurance premiums are easy to shop around these days as well as financing terms. Just because you already have insurance or you got a loan when you bought the car doesn’t mean you are stuck with them. Shop around and see if you can find a better deal.
Also, keep an eye on your tires. Simply put older tires lose traction and efficiency over time. By keeping your tires rotated and running properly, you will save money on gas while also reducing some maintenance costs related to alignment and brake usage.
In the end, a car is an investment. While you might place a sentimental value on it, be smart and control your annual costs.