9 Ways to Reduce Your Driving Expenses in 2024
For many people, driving is a fact of life. Most people in the United States depend on cars to move them between home and work with minimal fuss.
For many people, driving is a fact of life. Most people in the United States depend on cars to move them between home and work with minimal fuss. However, the truth is that cars aren't cheap. Depending on the make and model of your vehicle, car ownership can cost you between $10,000 and $12,000 a year, including insurance costs, depreciation and other expenses. Once you add fuel and other running costs to the mix, you might spend thousands of dollars more based on how far and frequently you drive.
Selling your car is the obvious way to save money, but it might not be the best option for people staying outside urban centers. However, there is good news. You can save considerable money by having good driving habits and making informed decisions. Here are a few ways to reduce your car expenses in 2024.
Refinance your car loan
If you still have a loan on your car, you can find a new lender to refinance your auto loan. Refinancing can reduce your interest rate and may save you hundreds or thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. Auto loan refinancing can also allow you to change your payment schedule. You extend your loan term if you have an emergency or pay off the loan sooner.
However, before refinancing, determine whether fees will affect your overall savings. Some car loans have prepayment penalties, meaning paying off your loan before time could cost you more than you would save by lowering the interest rate.
Reduce your auto insurance premiums
Another easy way to reduce monthly car expenses is to lower auto insurance premiums. There are a few ways to do this, but first, check with your insurer to see whether they offer any way to reduce your premiums. Here are a number of tips that can help you lower your car insurance cost.
- Take a defensive driving course: Auto insurance companies usually offer discounts to drivers who have completed approved defensive driving classes. These classes offer tips on how to drive safely on the road, which will possibly reduce the likelihood of getting in a road accident. Check with your insurance company for the approved courses, most of which should be completed online.
- Shop around for reduced rates: If it's hard to negotiate a reduced insurance cost with your current insurance company, shop around for multiple companies to see whether they can offer the same coverage at a lower price. Shifting from one insurance company to another could lower your expenses and even get you more comprehensive coverage.
- Reduce or change your coverage: While your insurance protects you and your passengers, it might include some things you don't need. Removing roadside assistance, enhanced glass coverage, and car rental reimbursement from your policy could help save money. However, make sure you don't regret not having them in the future. Depending on your insurance company, you might get a discount by adding certain items policies like renters insurance.
Lease or hire a car in the short term
Leasing or hiring a vehicle in the short term is a cost-effective way to drive a car without breaking your pocket. You can lease your dream for as short a time, typically 3-5 months, and pay through fixed monthly payments. If your lease covers the cost of regular services such as oil changes and tire replacements, you will also have lower maintenance costs, which could save you more money.
Look for cheaper fuel stations in your area
Researching the fuel cost at the various fuel stations in your area can help you know where to fill up at a low price, particularly if you are using a fossil fuel car. While some modern cars allow you to see the fuel price on your infotainment screen, you can also find out which petrol station sells the cheapest fuel using sites like petrolprices.com.
Supermarket forecourts are usually the cheapest places to fuel your car. Even though you will only save a few coins on each litre, this can quickly add up over the year, especially if you own a big car.
Find the cheapest parking areas
Parking costs are usually neglected when determining your car's annual running expenses. However, if you live in an area where you must pay to park your car, costs can quickly add up.
Fortunately, there are certain apps like JustPark or Parkopedia that allow you to check whether there are any cheaper parking spaces near you. Set the filters for the kind of parking you want to see, and the apps will show you all the prices and times for open slots nearby.
Park outside the city if you are looking for a cheap parking area but don't have a smartphone. You might save some money by parking a little further away than you usually would inside the city. Most cities have a park ride scheme where you can take a bus to town from a nearby car park.
Keep up with regular maintenance and servicing
One of the most costly car expenses is doing major repairs. And while you might think you can save some money by skipping routine servicing and maintenance, it can prove costly in the long run or potentially result in penalties from the finance provider.
Keeping your car well-maintained can save you money on repairs and help prolong the life of your vehicle. Carry out basic maintenance such as checking tire condition, changing engine oil and checking the battery health yourself, as these could help minimize visits to the local garage. However, when it comes to major repairs or servicing, look for a trusted and qualified mechanic near you.
Consider car sharing or carpooling
One of the best ways to reduce your driving expenses in the short term is to car share or carpool. Car sharing will reduce how much you drive, save you money on gas, and put less wear and tear on your car. Having more people in a car together is also good for the environment.
Carpool with co-workers, schoolmates, or family members heading in the same direction on a regular basis. Nevertheless, ensure you have enough space in the car for everyone if you intend to carpool, as ending up cramped together will never be good.
Claim for any pothole damage from your county government
Potholes are one of the major reasons for damage to a vehicle's wheels and tires. If the impact is serious enough, it can also affect the car's suspension, body, undercarriage, or frame. Potholes can also cause an accident if a driver loses control after hitting them or swerve to avoid them.
In some states, you might be able to claim compensation if your car gets damaged due to a pothole. You can seek reimbursement from the county government if you believe your car damage was caused by a pothole. However, you will need to provide supporting documents such as photographs of damage, receipts, itemized repair estimates, contact details of witnesses, and the exact location of the pothole.
Remove unnecessary weight from your car
Generally, every 50kg weight inside your vehicle raises fuel consumption by up to 2%. Therefore, if you drive around with heavy loads in your car, it might be costing you more than you think.
Removing any unnecessary weight from your car could lead to huge savings over the year. Consider removing a roof rack you don't regularly use if your vehicle has one. Besides weight, a roof rack tends to create drag on your car, which could also increase fuel consumption.
Summing it up
From monthly payments to insurance and repairs, a car can be one of the most significant expenses. Fortunately, there are many tried and tested ways of cutting down spending on your car. With these simple tips, you can put the top down and move your way to reduce your driving expenses in 2024 and beyond.