There’s no doubt that buying a car is a serious investment. Although owning a car will involve ongoing costs, there are several ways you can reduce how much you spend.
Choose the right model
Fuel is one of the biggest expenses for car owners; reduce the amount you spend on petrol by choosing a more fuel-efficient car. Weight is a leading factor affecting fuel consumption, so don’t choose a larger model than what you actually need. However, regardless of whether you choose a compact car or an SUV, a hybrid engine will always offer better fuel efficiency than a conventional engine. Although they usually cost more to purchase, studies show that some hybrid vehicles can make back the extra cost in less than five years.
Be smart with your spending
The need for a car can occur at anytime, yet many people won’t have enough cash readily available to buy a car outright. Fortunately there a several things you can do when financing a car to keep your costs low. Make sure you know your credit score; often the low, advertised rates are only offered to those with the highest credit scores. Even if your credit isn’t fantastic, it’s still worth applying for a car loan and using this offer to leverage a lower rate at the dealership.
Make your down payment as big as you can comfortably afford, and keep the term as short as possible. Remember to pay for any fees and extras with cash, as these additional expenses will only increase the amount of interest you have to pay.
Practice good maintenance
Car servicing—there’s no way around it. Instead of dreading this expense, remember that getting your car serviced regularly can save you thousands of dollars down the line. Driving too far between services can be dangerous, while waiting too long between check-ups can cause your car parts to degrade prematurely. Save yourself the stress and prevent small problems from turning into something worse by scheduling a service at the time interval (or kilometre interval, whichever comes first) specified by your car’s manufacturer.
Explore different servicing options
While on the subject, the cost of servicing can vary dramatically based on how you go about it. For regular servicing, some car brands are starting to offer capped or fixed-priced servicing, which takes the guesswork out of servicing your car. If eligible, check whether your plan includes a fixed number of services, or if you car is covered for the duration of your new-car warranty. For car repairs, make sure you find a reputable shop or mobile mechanic to take a look at your car. If you’re unsure about the quote you’ve received, you can always shop around to make sure you’re getting an honest appraisal and a fair price.