Owning a car isn’t cheap. There’s the initial purchase price (or monthly payments if you’ve chosen to lease or finance the car), as well as gas, auto insurance, repairs, maintenance, parking to pay for, and licence and registration fees, just to name a few of the costs associated with having a vehicle. In total, we’re talking thousands of dollars a year, but there are ways to make car ownership less of a strain on your wallet.
1. Keep on top of maintenance
Sometimes you have to spend money, to save money. The key to keeping your car running at its best is to take care of it and stick to the maintenance schedule outlined in your owner’s manual. Regular visits to your mechanic can help you avoid bigger, more expensive repairs later on.
Also, a well-maintained vehicle requires less fuel, so you won’t have to make as many trips to the pump. According to Natural Resources Canada (NRC), a poorly maintained vehicle can cost the equivalent of up to 15¢ more per litre on fuel.
2. Check your tire pressure at least once a month
Safety aside, properly inflated tires last longer and will save you money on gasoline. Transport Canada estimates that operating a vehicle with just one tire that is under-inflated by nine psi (pounds per square inch) can reduce the lifespan of the tire by 15,000 km and can increase fuel consumption by four percent.
3. Minimize how often you use the A/C
Most vehicle’s air conditioners (A/C) require engine power to operate, and NRC estimates that by using the A/C, you’re increasing your fuel consumption by up to 20 percent. To minimize the financial hit that comes with using the A/C, they recommend you turn it on only when necessary, hit the "re-circulate" button so you’re only cooling air already in the vehicle, park in shaded areas, and aim to make the temperature in the car comfortable, not cold. In other words, if you feel like you have to put on a sweater when the A/C is on, it’s likely time to turn it off.
4. Drive with fuel efficiency in mind
Aggressive driving (like speeding and frequent hard acceleration and braking) will have a direct impact on how much you’ll spend on fuel each week. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, driving aggressively lowers your gas mileage by roughly 15 to 30 percent at highway speeds and 10 to 40 percent in stop-and-go traffic.
5. Lower your car insurance costs by shopping around
Car insurance premiums can make up for a significant portion of your regular monthly expenses and too often, after choosing a car insurance provider, drivers often "set it and forget it". However, car insurance isn’t a rotisserie that can be left unattended; it needs to be checked on regularly to make sure you’re not overpaying for your coverage.
There are many times over the course of a year when you should consider comparing auto insurance quotes to ensure you’re still getting the best deal, like when:
- Your policy comes up for renewal. Rates often change and even though your current provider gave you a great rate last year, doesn’t mean they’ll give you the best rate this year.
- You get married. Your rate may change once you’re married and the company that gave you the best car insurance rate as a single person may not be the same company that provides you the best rate as a couple.
- You move. Where you live is factored into how your premium is calculated, and chances are your rate will change when you move.
- You buy a new car. New or used, what you park in your driveway is one of the key factors in determining your car insurance rate.
- You get a ticket or are involved in an at-fault accident. Accidents and tickets happen to even the best drivers and some insurance companies are more forgiving than others.
- You change jobs or retire. When your daily commute changes, your insurance could change as well.
With InsuranceHotline.com it takes just a few short minutes to compare quotes from our network of over 30 insurance providers. On average, our customers save $427 after shopping their car insurance rates. Make sure you’re not missing out on ways to slash your car expenses and shop around for your coverage today.