If you’re a car owner, you know all too well that buying a vehicle isn’t necessarily the expensive part. Once you consider the insurance, gas, servicing and inevitable repairs, owning a car can become quite costly. While we can’t help eradicate these costs, we can offer these tips to help you save money on your vehicle:
If you’re in the market for a new car, buying a used vehicle is an easy way to save money. A used car will go for a fraction of the price of a new vehicle, plus they depreciate at a much slower rate, meaning more savings when it comes time to sell. From the mileage, to make, to the condition of the vehicle, there are many factors to consider when buying a used car; to help you make an educated decision, we put together a blog on What To Look For When Buying a Used Vehicle.
Buy the right car for your needs
If you’re shopping for a car, make sure you consider how often you will be driving it and for what purpose. If the car will mostly be used for city driving, you might consider buying a smaller model. Small cars are typically cheaper, and because they’re lighter, they usually get better gas mileage than larger vehicles. On a related note, keep your trunk free of baggage when you can, which will reduce your fuel consumption.
If you plan on driving your car a lot, it’s worth buying a model that has good mileage. Driving a fuel-efficient car will save you a significant amount of money on gas in the long run (and has a smaller environmental impact too).
Check your tire pressure
Driving on underinflated tires isn’t just a safety issue, it also affects your fuel consumption and reduces the tread life of your tires. You might think you can tell a tire is underinflated just by looking at it, but according to Transport Canada, even if your tires look fine, they may be underinflated by as much as 20%.
In a recent study, about 70% of the vehicles on the road in Canada have at least one tire that is either over or underinflated by more than 10%. In fact, 23% of all vehicles surveyed had at least one tire underinflated by 20% [Transport Canada]. Not only is your vehicle burning more gas when the tires aren’t properly inflated, it also runs the risk of sudden tire failure.
According to Transport Canada, operating a vehicle with just one tire underinflated by 56 kPa (8 psi) can reduce the life of the tire by 15,000 km and can increase the vehicle’s fuel consumption by 4%. To make sure your tires are in good condition, it’s recommended that you check the pressure in all four tires once a month. We’ve written a full tutorial on checking your tire pressure here.
Perform basic car maintenance yourself
Taking care of your vehicle and getting it regularly serviced will prolong the life of your car and save you from needing costly repairs. If you learn how to perform basic car maintenance yourself, all the better (it’s not as intimidating as it might seem). Start with getting to know your car manual, check your tire pressure and tread, then take a look under the hood.
We wrote a whole guide to performing basic car maintenance yourself here.
Foster good driving habits
You’re not just doing yourself and others a service when you drive sensibly, you’re also saving on fuel. Aggressive driving habits like speeding, accelerating quickly and braking hard use around 35% more gas than when you’re driving smoothly and at the speed limit.
Want to save even more on gas? Use technology to your advantage. Nowadays there are tons of apps available to help you find the best gas prices in town; Gas Buddy and Waze are a couple of them.
Drive gently when your vehicle is cold
One of the fastest ways to burn through gas is by gunning the engine when your vehicle is cold. Since cars are at their least efficient when they’re cold, gently accelerating your vehicle until it’s warmed up will go a long way in saving you fuel (it will also help your engine last longer).
The most obvious way of all to save money on gas is, of course, driving less. Carpooling or taking public transport when it makes sense will reduce your fuel consumption (and save you time that would be spent driving around looking for parking).
Driving significantly less will also reduce the annual mileage of your car. Since this reduces your risk of an accident, you may be able to save on your insurance coverage if you update the average miles you drive with your insurance company.