Cars are often money pits once they reach the age of five or six years old (which is around 50,000 miles). They require more maintenance, things need to start being replaced, and oftentimes they begin to have problems with engines, transmissions, and other vital systems that you can’t just simply ignore. It’s frustrating when you have to get an oil change, change your breaks, and fix your automatic seat warmer, but there are a couple of huge ways you can save some serious bucks just by thinking ahead.
Stop! Don’t Trade It In!
The average American trades in their car once every three years, and that’s before a car even reaches the point where regular car issues should be a problem. Take a breath and don’t do it – keep the car. Even if you do have to pay out $5,000 for a new motor for your car, that’s still incredibly cheap compared to paying for a new car and making payments every month when could have already been done with them.
Don’t Buy the Hummer
Everyone likes the big cars, but if you’re only one or two people, you don’t really need it. With gas prices heading towards five bucks a gallon, buying a car that doesn’t have very good fuel efficiency can be the end of your extra cash – Hummers, for example, get an average of eight miles to the gallon while your average V-6 sedan gets around 20.
Learn How to Do the Basics at Home
Things that companies tend to charge for, like oil changes and brake pad changes, can easily be done at home. The wealth of the internet is fairly endless, and you can learn how to do just about anything. Changing your brakes, for example, takes about an hour or two and will cost you $40 for a lifetime set of pads. This same job could easily run you $400 at a local shop – and they do the exact same thing you can do at home with a computer (or a family member that may know a thing or two about that kind of thing). Oil changes can be a bit messy and require a bit more equipment, but you can still save doing them at home.
You save the most when you choose to buy the basics, such as steering wheel fluid and extra coolant, and refill them on an as-needed basis.
Worry About the Dings Later
Shopping cards and kids happen to cars all of the time and your car can acquire any number of scratches and damage throughout even a year of life. Honestly, don’t worry about them. Don’t pay anyone exorbitant amounts of money to hammer out some damage on your car – they usually have to repaint it, too, and that can cost quite a chunk of cash. Instead, stop looking at the damage, especially if it only affects your car physically and doesn’t affect any of the main systems.
And Finally – Don’t Have the Car
There are so many people who don’t really need a car but use one anyway. The bus is often a very effective choice and just think about those high car insurance quotes you would no longer get. If you know some buddies at work, you can grab a car pool and skip over some of the morning commute time, too. A bus ticket will cost around $60 for an entire month of rides, and the car pool is usually free if you have a car you can drive everyone in once a week. If you don’t need the car, don’t have one – but when you do need one, think about it before making any changes.
Elizabeth Roque is an in-house writer for FranklinDebtRelief.com. She presents information about debt relief services, credit card debt relief and getting out of debt on a variety of financial sites online.