With COVID-19 causing widespread unemployment, a lot of us are left in a precarious financial position. It may be time to make a few adjustments to our lifestyle to help us save as much as we can during the pandemic. For drivers, this can be a problem because owning a car in itself can be quite costly.
Car expenses can really hurt a person’s finances if they’re not being careful. One trip to the shop can set you back for months. If you want to reduce your daily and monthly car expenses, follow these tips to help you save!
Check for the cheapest gas
Not all gas stations charge the same for gas. Some stations have to increase the price because of the land or location. Being closer to high traffic areas can also increase the price of gas. Accessibility to highways and interstates can also influence the prices. There are a lot of factors, so it’s hard to pinpoint one single reason why one station is cheaper than the other.
What you want to do is look around town and compare gas prices. Maybe the difference is as low as just 50 cents, but that can add up fast if you are always driving. If you’re filling a 15-gallon tank, that already adds up to $7.50 per tank. Imagine if you have to fill-up weekly. Nowadays, there are communities and mobile applications that show all the nearby gas stations and compares their prices.
One way you can prevent car break downs is by keeping up with your maintenance. Not only does it prevent your car from breaking down; it can also help improve its overall efficiency and increase mileage.
Tune-ups involve replacing filters and spark plugs, changing the motor oil, changing the wires and PCV valves. It really depends on the car. There is no fixed amount of times to get them checked, but the general rule is every 30,000 miles. This would vary for the parts though. To be on the safe side, you can have a tune-up every year or two.
However, if you notice that your car is taking longer than usual to start or there are strange knocking sounds when you drive, then have a tune-up right away.
Carry around tools
If you’re trying to save, you want to avoid going to the mechanic as much as possible. Having auto repair tools and equipment around prevents you from having to go to the shop every time you need simple repairs. It would make servicing and maintaining your car a lot cheaper because you’ll be able to do them all at home.
While there are certain tools made specifically for cars, some of them can actually be found in your standard tool kit. Wrenches and screwdrivers are examples of this. You’ll be needing them for almost any basic repair, including changing your batteries. Ratchet and socket sets can be bought online and are important for tightening bolts.
If you’re familiar with how to jumpstart a car, jumper cables are always useful in an emergency. Make sure to pack some gloves for when you use them though. Pliers are also necessary in some cases. Though there are a variety of pliers, normal and cutter ones are always handy to have around.
Make sure that your tool kit is in your car at all times in case you need them on the road.
For those who don’t use their cars very often, you still need to start your engine and drive every once in a while. If your car is just sitting around for weeks, then it can also deteriorate faster. What most people do is idle their car. But, it will use up a lot more fuel when idle than actually driving.
You only need to idle your car for a few minutes to get it warmed up. Idling for too long can burn more oil and waste more gas.
Adjust your driving habits
Carefully assess your situation. One problem some people have is that they are driving even short distances. Sure, you may have bought that car to make travel more convenient, but driving a distance that you can easily walk can be costly. This is especially true for people who are aggressive drivers.
Constantly tailgating and speeding can wear out the parts of your car faster than you realize. It can also cost a lot in gas. Make sure to assess your driving habits before hitting the road.
Right now, times are hard for everyone. Every little thing we can do to save can be a big help in overcoming the pandemic. Being conscious of your spending and taking care of your belongings is a great habit to have. You can save money not just on car expenses but on other aspects of your life as well.