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We all know driving can be expensive. Fuel, parking, and unscheduled repairs might mean that you don’t have much money left over after payday.
Plus, driving means the potential for car accidents, and you might worry about all the costs that come with that and the processes to follow.
This is especially concerning if you are seriously injured in the accident and are subsequently losing money due to medical costs and being unable to work.
While you can only eradicate the cost of driving if you stop doing it completely, there are certain ways to make driving cheaper. Here are some tips to be a cost-savvy driver.
1. Drive Smoother
Many drivers don’t know that the way they drive contributes to the amount of fuel they use. Driving in a fast and erratic manner and breaking suddenly uses more fuel, in contrast to reducing your speed steadily, for example.
Putting more pressure on the breaks uses far more fuel than a slow, gradual approach. So, driving smoothly will save you fuel money. Plus, it’s safer and better for the environment. What’s not to like?
Additionally, it is important to avoid putting your foot down when your car is cold. Vehicles are the least efficient when cold. So, if you are aggressive when you start up, you will double your wasted fuel. You’ll also increase engine wear more quickly.
2. Negotiate Your Car Insurance
Car insurance is one of the highest motoring costs each year. Unfortunately, many people don’t take the time to negotiate their policy and simply accept their renewal quote. If you want to be a cost savvy driver, it is well worth taking the time to compare quotes.
Many insurers will send out notices just before the renewal date, so don’t rely on this as a reminder. Set a reminder for a week or two before your renewal date, so you have time to get some quotes.
If you’re satisfied with your current insurer, you can always go back to them with your most competitive quote to see if they will match it.
Most insurers will want to keep you as a customer. So, if you’re savvy, you can get a better price and stick with your preferred provider.
3. Short-term car insurance
If you’re someone who doesn’t drive regularly, you may benefit from short-term car insurance. This is quite self-explanatory: you basically pay for the amount that you need (most commonly on a weekly basis).
Depending on your lifestyle, you could save money in the long run, especially if you regularly have weeks at a time where you don’t drive.
Short term car insurance can also help you to avoid cancelation fees imposed on regular policies. Do a little research and find the best deal.
4. Look for Fuel Discounts
If you regularly hit the road, you’re likely to find that your fuel costs are one of your largest expenses. However, it is possible to offset this with fuel discounts. There are many credit card providers that offer tiered rewards weighted towards fuel purchases. For example, American Express Blue Cash Preferred offers 3 percent cash back on purchases at U.S gas stations.
Of course, you need to be disciplined to pay off your card at the end of the month. There is no point in getting cash back if you end up saddled with credit card debt. So, be sure to only apply for a new cash back card if you are confident that you will be able to use it responsibly.
5. Search For Cheap Fuel
Gas is a competitive business, and there are stations that charge a premium for their convenient location. Although it is not worth going miles out of your way to save a few cents, it is worth searching for cheap fuel locations. If you have a gas station near your favorite grocery store or on your way home from work where you can buy cheaper fuel, it is worth trying to use this gas station when you need to refill.
It can be worth saving a few cents by making a small detour. So, take note of the gas prices as you’re driving around your neighborhood. You can then plan your fill ups according to when you’re in the area of the best priced gas.
6. Upgrade Your Tires
Your choice of tires can make a real difference in the costs of driving. Although it may seem counterintuitive to buy more expensive tires, cheaper ones can be a costly mistake in the long term.
Tires not only affect your stopping distances and vehicle handling, but can also impact your fuel economy. Economic tires could improve your fuel economy by as much as 2.5 miles per gallon compared to cheap tires with poor rolling resistance. This could add up to significant fuel savings over the course of a year.
7. Check Your Tire Pressures
Even if you have the best tires, you’ll fail to maximize your fuel savings if your tires are not at the correct pressure. Although it is hard to notice from a visual inspection, if your tires are under inflated by 15 psi, your vehicle could use 6% more fuel.
This is the difference between managing 20 miles per gallon and 21 mpg. While this may not seem like much, but it can really add up over a typical month.
8. Clear Your Car Clutter
For many of us, our cars become our home away from home. Unfortunately, this can lead to a lot of car clutter. So, if you’re carrying a trunk full of junk, you’ll be wasting fuel. For every 100 pounds of load you’re carrying, you’ll increase your fuel consumption by up to two percent.
So, if you want to be a cost savvy driver, now is an ideal time to clear your car clutter. Although you need to carry the essentials, such as a spare tire and other emergency supplies, do you really need to carry your gym bag, hiking boots and other clutter?
While these items may seem insignificant, they can add up some serious unnecessary weight. You should also remove roof bars when you’re not using them. These can weigh up to 10 pounds and can also increase drag, increasing your fuel consumption by up to 10 percent.
9. Don’t Use Your Wipers in Icy Weather
If you live in an area where you get snow and ice, invest in a cheap scraper. These only cost a couple of dollars and will be a safer way to clear your windshield. Wipers can cost up to $10 to replace a single blade and they can be quickly damaged by ice.
Running your wipers to try to clear an icy windshield, you’ll not only irritate your neighbors, but you could risk tearing them. Even if your wipers don’t tear, they will wear out far more quickly when you use them on ice.
10. Get it serviced
There’s nothing worse than finding out that your car has a significant problem that urgently needs repairing. Not only will it be out of action for a few days, but you’ll probably have to spend a lot on the emergency repairs.
Regularly getting your car serviced and checking for issues means being more aware of any problems and understanding when repairs might need to be done. If you discover that your tires are on the way out, you can factor this into your budget. But, if you’re completely unaware and one pops on the freeway, you’re going to need to cough up straight away.
11. DIY Car Wash
Car wash centers are all over the place. They only charge a few bucks, so where’s the harm? However, if you stop and think about this, you will realize how much car washing is costing you.
If you wash your car every couple of weeks, you could be spending hundreds of dollars a year. So, while it does require some effort, try washing your car yourself. This will not only save you money, but it will also allow you to monitor your vehicle condition. You’ll have an opportunity to discover any minor damage and have it corrected before it becomes worse and more costly.
12. Go electric
Electric cars are becoming increasingly popular. Not only are they much better for the environment, but they also save the driver a lot of money in the long run. This is because they have much lower fuel costs than conventional vehicles and are more efficient to drive.
Generally, this means they last longer and are less likely to need significant costly repairs. You may also be able to save on road tax and congestion services. So, why not look after the environment and your wallet with an eco-friendly electric car?
13. Do your research
Driving isn’t something you should do on a whim. You should constantly be looking for good deals and assessing what will be the most cost-effective.
If you want to be a cost savvy driver, be alert. Look around for cost-effective cars and car insurance. The more you know, the more you’ll save.
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