Lowering Automobile Costs by Being Proactive
Owning a vehicle is costly. Yet, in most North American cities it is almost a necessity, because of the sprawl that is common. Keeping the expenses of having and using a vehicle can be kept lower by following some simple rules
Proper Vehicle Maintenance Lowers Overall Cost
Keeping a vehicle in good running condition is necessary for efficient and cost-effective use. Gas mileage lowers with poor maintenance, increasing costs almost instantly. Something as simple as doing the oil change on time can make a significant difference in this area. There are always coupons coming in the mail or fliers. Use these to lower the costs of the oil change. Some places offer discount cards or even free memberships. If these are available in your area, be sure to check and compare which one is best.
If a vehicle isn’t in proper repair, then it is more likely to have mechanical problems, even minor ones. These are, of course, even more, costly than the original maintenance would be. So make sure to keep all vehicles in good repair!
Only Using a Vehicle When Necessary Keeps Costs Down
Some people will use a vehicle to drive two or three blocks to go to the corner store or drive half a block to check their mail. These trips cost in gas, wear, and are completely unnecessary. Even longer trips are often frivolous and can be avoided by walking or riding a bicycle. Combining errands into one trip can also greatly reduce the amount of vehicle use. And not only will that save on fuel and vehicle wear, but it can also save on personal time. Isn’t it great to have more free time to do things that are enjoyable, instead of running errands? Combine trips into one to make life easier and less expensive. Use lists if remembering is a problem, as this puts everything down and helps to jog the memory.
Do Some Self Vehicle Maintenance for Reduced Costs
Some minor maintenance isn’t that hard to do. Simple things like wiper blade replacements, filter replacement, checking the tires, and even oil changes and spark plugs can all be done quite easily. Changing the spark plugs can cost as little as $25.00, including buying the tools! Yet, if a mechanic does this, it can cost $100 because labor rates are high. To know if these need changing, simply pull the plugs and see if they are really corroded. There are many websites available that give tips on car maintenance – check these out for more help! Oil changes can also be done at home – just make sure to package the oil and take it to the recycling depot rather than pouring it out on the ground or down the sewer. Any old plastic container will do for this. Wikihow has a great page on changing the oil in a car. It even includes a video. One of the simplest maintenance items that can be done at home is washing the car. Why pay someone else to do what will take the same time at home and cost a lot less? Other simple maintenance items include changing the lights or fuses – these are much less expensive to buy and replace than have done!
There are also many things that can be done to decrease the costs of fuel by increasing fuel efficiency. Most of these are maintenance related, such as keeping the tires properly inflated, filters clean and not storing excess in the vehicle. There are more tips on fuel saving available at Personal Budget Help.