A car is one of the biggest purchases that most of us will make in our lifetime. In addition to this, maintaining a car is our third largest household expense, according to the ABS Household Expenditure Survey. This means that owning a car can add up to a big expense for many Aussies. However, there are many ways to cut back on car maintenance costs. Here are three things you can do to reduce your car costs.
1. Take your car in for regular servicing
While taking your car in for its scheduled service will cost you money in the short term, it can save you money in the long term. For vehicles, prevention is cheaper than cure, so having your car serviced will maintain your vehicle’s health and reduce the chance of (costly) things going wrong. This will prolong the lifespan of your car and ensures crucial parts, such as your brakes and steering, are working well. Doing your research before buying to ensure you’re buying the cheapest new car is only part of the equation — you need to factor in ongoing maintenance cost for the car too.
A frequently serviced car will also retain its value, scoring you a higher sale price when you decide to sell.
If your mechanic needs a new car part to repair your vehicle, consider sourcing the part yourself from an online auto parts provider such as Sparesbox. This eliminates the cost of the middle man (your mechanic) meaning you only pay service fees and the cost of repair.
2. Review your car insurance
The roads are risky places, so car insurance is essential for all drivers. While insurance will cost you, it will be more affordable than forking out to cover the costs of unforeseen events such as theft or damage to your vehicle.
You can lower the cost of your car insurance by having a clean driving record, parking your car in a safe place and driving a car with safety and security features.
Research shows that the average Aussie will stay with their comprehensive car insurer for 4.7 years , despite cheaper deals being offered all the time. Compare the different offerings of car insurance providers and don’t be afraid to switch to save money!
3. Be fuel efficient
Filling up at the petrol pump is one of the biggest ongoing costs of owning a car. This, combined with the ever-increasing price of fuel, means that drivers’ wallets are hit hard. However, remember that there are many petrol stations all competing for your business. Download an app such as Motormouth, GasBuddy or FuelCheck to help you find the cheapest petrol in your area.
While it’s important to choose a vehicle with good fuel efficiency, the way you drive can also affect your car’s consumption. Try to drive smoothly (less revving) and slower.
Take out anything unnecessary in your vehicle that is adding to the weight of your car, as a heavy load will increase the amount of petrol used. Make sure your tyres are pumped up to the right pressure and are in good condition, as this can also increase fuel efficiency.
Many of us rely on our vehicles in our daily lives. This makes it important to ensure your vehicle is safe and isn’t going to burn a big hole in your budget. With some smart decisions and driving habits, you can reduce the cost of maintaining your car.
Contributed by Richard Laycock — insurance expert at finder.com.au