Purchasing a vehicle is a big expense, and big decision. A vehicle is often the second largest purchase for Americans, after the purchase of a home. If you own more than one vehicle, you are probably spending a lot of money on maintenance each month and every year. Many car owners aren't knowledgeable enough to feel comfortable doing some basic car maintenance themselves, but there are plenty of things that you can do yourself that will save you time and money.
Start with gas mileage. Do you know how much gas mileage your vehicle gets? If not, find out and pay attention to what kind of gas mileage you're getting when you make trips in and out of town. Track your mileage so you can make comparisons. If you have a lead foot, go easy on the gas when you put the pedal to the metal. No one's in a race on the road, so there's no need to floor it when the light turns green. Doing so can actually lower your gas mileage, as can aggressive driving. Set a good speed for cruising on the highway (within the speed limit). 50 mph is a pretty good speed that will help you to get the best mileage for your dollar.
Look for ways to save on fuel purchases. Have you heard of Gas Buddy? It's an app that tracks gas prices at gas stations all over the nation. Use your GPS location service to allow Gas Buddy to track where you are, and it will pull up gas stations near you by distance. Compare current gas prices at these stations, so you know where you can purchase the cheapest gas. You can also report price changes through the app to help other consumers find cheap gas at current prices.
Take advantage of rewards. You could always sign up for a credit card that offers cash back on fuel purchases to save a little extra money. Some gas stations even offer their own rewards programs. Check with your local gas station to see if they offer a program. Ask for gas cards. When birthdays and holidays roll around, ad gas gift cards to your wish list. If you travel a lot, those gas cards will come in handy. If you travel for work, be sure to track your mileage and turn it in with expense reports at the end of each month. That'll be money back in your pocket! If you are self-employed and travel for business purposes, track that mileage and claim it as a business expense on your taxes.
Save on maintenance by doing the small things yourself. There are a lot of things that you can do yourself that will save you money over time. Ask a trusted friend to show you how to change the oil or flush fluids. You can also replace wiper blades, fluid by yourself. Wash your own car. You'll save a ton of money by washing and cleaning out your car yourself. You can make it a family fun event by asking kids to help wash the cars... chances are, they'll be thrilled for the chance to splash and play in the water!
Following these tips can save you a lot of money over time. Do the little things that you can, and the larger things that you feel comfortable doing.
Brought to you by Patrick Mini.