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Cutting Car Costs 101: 5 Ways Drivers Can Stretch Their Dollar

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By Linda Williams

It’s no secret that owning a car can be quite pricey. With the car’s initial cost, consistent maintenance, insurance premiums, financing payments, and more, the fiscal burden of vehicle ownership can seem daunting. Additionally, unexpected, hidden costs seem to pop up around every corner, from broken windshields from loose gravel to popped tires from littered streets. Because of the ever-mounting costs of car ownership, you should warmly welcome saving opportunities.

If you’re looking for ways to stretch your budget and evade steep car maintenance costs, take heed of these five tips-and-tricks.

Opt for recycled car parts

When the incessant blinking indicator in your car that signals an oil change or engine complications finally becomes too much to bear, used car parts are a great way to fix your vehicle without breaking the bank. By tapping into the vast market of pre-owned car parts like these, you’re not only protecting your precious automobile but also your wallet.

Brand new additions are often overpriced, whereas used parts are inexpensive while maintaining quality. Used tires, power locks, mirrors, and more can save you hundreds while keeping your car pristine.

Cut depreciation costs

When you drive your new car off the lot, it loses about 25% of its value on the spot. Luckily, there are ways to mitigate this shock to the system by purchasing a less expensive car to begin with, ultimately lowering depreciation. It’s essential to buy the car you need, rather than always getting the vehicle you want.

Purchasing based on immediate needs rather than jumping the gun and acquiring your dream car might mean buying a one or two-year-old vehicle or a sensible sedan instead of a gas-guzzling propped-up truck. However you decide to limit your initial car costs, depreciation costs will follow suit, saving you big bucks in the long run.

Monitor fuel consumption

Fuel costs can be challenging to predict, as they change frequently depending on global oil prices. Though it can be hard to predict future fuel prices, it’s easy to research how much your car will be drinking once you buy it. By purchasing a vehicle that uses run-of-the-mill gas types and has excellent fuel economy, you’ll pad your wallet for the future.

However, if you already own a gas guzzler, try to limit the most common gas-wasting behaviors. Aggressive driving, idling, and lack of maintenance can all result in unnecessary usage. No matter what your fuel economy looks like, shopping around for low prices can be a fantastic way to keep your money in your pocket instead of the gas tank.

Drive safe

While everyone hops in their car intending to drive safely, some struggle with road rage and reckless driving behaviors that could land them with hefty ticket fines and increased insurance premiums. If you’re involved in a car accident, your insurance rates can go up drastically. By mindfully slowing down and driving safe, you not only avoid the cost of a speeding ticket, but you avoid a bump in your insurance costs.

Additionally, many insurance companies offer safe driving discounts and lower rates when you participate in defensive driving training courses. With a stellar driving record, you can land an insurance agency with inexpensive fees and lowered premiums, saving you money in the long run.

Refinance your auto loan

The auto loan you signed before purchasing your car doesn’t have to be the loan you’re bound to today. Just because you bite the bullet on a bad loan to get immediate assistance doesn’t mean you need to stick with that provider forever.

Many individual’s credit scores and histories improve over time, so it’s wise to check your credit score and loop back with your loan provider, as you could be eligible for better rates at no cost. However, be sure not to extend your payoff date when making this change unless necessary, as it can result in extra fees and interest.

Parting thoughts

Although hidden costs and fees are nearly impossible to avoid during car ownership, there are ways you can save in a pinch and stretch your dollar, getting the most out of your beloved vehicle. By buying parts used, driving safe, and carefully considering refinancing loans, you can drive your well-oiled machine without breaking the bank.

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