If Your Resolution is to Save Money, Put Car Care Costs First!

January 4th, 2018 by

Budgeting your money is key to saving money. Key to making an accurate budget is including all of the ways money is routinely spent, and many people often overlook the recurring costs of car care and maintenance when making a budget, and those costs can sometimes be significant. Let’s look to see ways to save money when it comes to car costs in 2018.

Do you have monthly car payments? How much do you spend on gas in a week or a month?. Car insurance, cleaning expenses, Florida Sunpass for highway tolls and upkeep costs are all factors to consider. Do you have any significant parking expenses? Based on the type of oil you use and your daily commute how often do you need an oil change? Do you pay for AAA? Add up everything you spend to drive and pay for your vehicle and average it out per month. That will make it easier to know where you stand overall with your car related expenses.

Alright, now that you know how much you spend each month – look to see if there are any areas you can save money:

Car Maintenance
Could you get more bang for your buck by changing up your oil changes?
What type of oil do you get when you get an oil change – would the extra cost of synthetic oil prevent the number of oil changes you need to get each year? Would waiting longer in between oil changes give you the same peace of mind as you get when you bring your vehicle in for an oil change every 3,000 to 5,000 miles? How frequently does the manufacturer recommend your vehicle have its oil changed?
That’s all up to you. Routine oil changes are essential for long term protection of your engine. Synthetic oil typically lasts longer between oil changes and synthetic oil is higher quality oil, which not only provides better care for your car, but can help prevent costly repairs further down the line. But if you don’t like the idea of your engine not being seen by a professional for several thousand miles or months, you may not want to shell out the extra money.
Read the manual to see how often the manufacturer recommends changing the oil. Don’t assume that the “old rule” of changing the oil every 3,000 still holds true. If you drive 12,000 miles per year, and the manufacturer recommends an oil change every 5,000 miles yet you change it every 3,000 miles, you’re paying for an extra unnecessary oil change ($20-30) every year.

Are there any car repairs that you need to have taken care of?
Any honest service tech will tell you that it’s almost always more cost effective to get vehicle repairs taken care of as soon as possible because ignoring problems can result in damage to other car systems or the problem can get worse and result in more expense and time to fix.

Do you ever fill up the air in your tires? Is your vehicle aligned?
Filling up your tires isn’t a major upfront expense, in fact it can even be free if you find free air at a gas station, but the cost of having deflated tires can add up. Paying to get your vehicle aligned does cost money, but it prevents excessive wear and tear to your tires, which can be a big expense. Be sure to stay ahead of these two items to reduce the chance of having to replace your tires due to poor care.

Do you shop around when it is time for routine maintenance, replacing parts or repairs?
Having a trusted service department is important because trusting someone with your car is important, but that doesn’t mean that you should only ever use the same person for everything. Consider looking around for specials on oil changes from time to time and if you have to get new tires, consider sourcing them yourself.

Driving Habits

Could you save more money on gas by changing your route or leaving at a different time?
Slow traffic not only wastes time, but it also wastes gas, which adds up at the fuel pump. Thinking about cutting down on the time spent in traffic by taking a toll road? Read below.

Are the toll fees you pay on your daily commute worth it?
$3 in tolls one-way to work is $6 per day round trip, which is $30 per week and $120 per month and $1,440 per year.

Is it realistic to consider taking an alternative route to avoid tolls on your daily commute? If the non-toll road route is only a few minutes longer due to traffic or a longer route, it may not be worth it to pay the toll depending on the cost of the toll. However, if the time you spend in traffic on the non-toll road is significant, that could definitely be costing you at the fuel pump.

Perhaps splitting the number of days you take a toll road and a non toll road could be a subtler way to save money. If you avoid the $6 round trip twice a week, you save $624 – that’s pretty significant!

Do you consistently go to a gas station that is more expensive just because it is convenient?
If you pay an extra $.05 per gallon of gas each time you fill up a 20-gallon tank you pay an extra $1 each time you fill up, which is an extra $52 per year.

Insurance + Roadside Assistance

What does your insurance policy include and cover?
A lot of drivers haven’t changed their insurance policy in years and they don’t even know what it covers, and that’s bad for a few reasons. 1. If you are the type of person who would rather pay an extra $20 per month to have more coverage and pay less out of pocket expenses in case of an accident – then you should make sure all of the money you are spending every month covers what you want. On the other hand, if you are the type of person who would rather spend less each month and have more out of pocket expense in the event of an accident, then make sure you are not paying for the amount of coverage you are expecting.

Are there any changes you can make to reduce your insurance premium while maintaining the same insurance policy?
It never hurts to ask questions, and insurance companies often have a number of ways you can reduce your monthly payment and maintain the same level of protection. If you have a good driving record or you’ve been with the same insurance company for a long time, check to see if your good driving or long track record qualifies for discounts. If you recently got married, bought a house or graduated from school, check and see if those events provide for some savings.

Do you pay for AAA?
AAA is an amazing service that includes more benefits than just roadside assistance, but if you don’t take advantage of those other benefits, you may want to see if roadside assistance is included in your insurance policy or your vehicle’s warranty. If roadside assistance is included, it might be worth canceling your AAA membership to save money on the annual membership fee.

Visit the University Dodge service department to see what we can do to help you save money. Our certified trained specialists can properly diagnose and service your vehicle and we often have a lot of specials and discounts on service and parts. Make an appointment with us at your earliest convenience and be on your way to saving more money in 2018!