18 Important ways to save money on your car running cost and expense
When you’re young and not yet a homeowner, a car can be your most expensive purchase. Even when you become a homeowner, owning a car can still account for your second largest household expense, accounting for depreciation in value, maintenance, repair and fuel costs.
Repairy suggests: owning an electric or hybrid vehicle (e.g. Tesla) can help you to reduce your annual fuel cost. Fully electric cars does not have a gasoline engine that needs maintenance, and rely on electricity instead of petrol, significantly decreasing the cost of car ownership. Depreciation in value, however, is currently exceedingly high for electric vehicles, losing an average of nearly $6,000+ in value annually.
If you are not yet a car owner, online tools such as car operating cost calculator from Fright Metrics and RACQ’s car running costs tool can help you to determine the out-of-pocket costs (like fuels, registration fees, maintenance, financing, insurance and depreciation et cetera), so that you can compare vehicles beyond the advertised price to make a smart purchase decision.
Once your car is out of the dealership and parked in your garage, what can you do to save on car expenses? Repairy is here to share some of our secrets, as well as providing you with possible savings figures. We will be categorizing our advice into 3 main sections: fuel cost, insurance and repairs/maintenance cost.
Our assumption for the calculations: a fuel price of $1.51 per litre (unleaded 91 fuel price, averaged across the 8 states), average travel of 13,000 km per year (according to Budget Direct), average fuel consumption of 10.8 litres per 100 km per passenger vehicle, with an average of $900 a year for a comprehensive car insurance policy (according to finder).
1. Sensible driving: according to research prepared for Oak Ridge National Laboratory, aggressive driving can lower your fuel economy by as much as 33% at highway speeds, and by up to 5% around town. As much as we’d like to drive like we are part of the Fast and the Furious movies, we should drive sensibly by eliminating actions such as speeding, rapid acceleration and hard braking.
Savings: 5 to 25 cents per litre, depending on how aggressively you drive and your highway mileage, savings can add up to $350 to $400 a year.
2. Keeping the tyres inflated: Making sure that your tyres have the proper pressure can improve your fuel economy by 3.3%. It is important to make sure that you are inflating the tyres at the right PSI. You can usually find the right PSI printed and stickered in the driver’s side door jamb or glove box, as well as your owner’s manual. You can also find out the recommended DPI from your car dealership or tyre supplier. If you are serious about your tyre DPI, purchase a tyre gauge and check your tyre pressure once a month, as tyres lose an average of 0.9 kg of pressure per month. A properly inflated tyre is also less likely to blowout, which could be both costly and dangerous.
Savings: $100 – 150 a year, according to a study by Edmunds.
3. Cruising at 80 km/h: Set your cruise control when possible. Fuel economy will start decreasing once your speed exceeds 80 km/h. For every 8 km/h above 80 km/h, you are paying additional 5 cents per litre of petrol, so the cost can really add up.
Savings: $140 a year, if you normally drive at 100 km/h on the freeway.
4. Stop idling. When you are parked and waiting, turn your engine off. Idling can use up to 1-2 litres of fuel per hour, while restarting your car, by contrast, will only use about 10 seconds worth of fuel. Some people have a habit of leaving their vehicle to warm up during winter, but it is better to drive around slowly for 30 seconds instead, since engines warms up faster when being driven.
Savings: up to $140 a year, assuming you idle for 2 hours over the course of a week.
5. Skip on the AC: or, try setting the temperature at a higher degree. Running air conditioning can reduce your car’s fuel economy by up to 25% (according to Oak Ridge National Laboratory research). Instead, drive with your windows down for a short while , to let out the hot air, before turning on the AC.
Savings: up to $120 a year, if you run AC for 4 months out of the year.
6. Technology saves fuel money: News.com.au put out an article on the 5 best apps to track cheap petrol, and we think it is brilliant. Finding the lowest petrol price in your area is always a bonus, but remember to not drive out of your way to save, instead look for the cheapest petrol station along your commute.
Savings: this one is up to you!
7. The right motor oil: car manufacturers will recommend you a grade of motor oil that is the most compatible with your vehicle. Using anything else will reduce your fuel efficiency by 1% – 2% due to the increased friction in the engine. While this percentage may seem unassuming, understand that every penny counts.
Savings: $30 a year
8. Shop around: Using a tool such as Canstar insurance policies comparison, you can find and compare all the available policies. Not all insurance policies are created to give equal ROI (return on investment), so do yourself a favor and search for your best-value option!
Savings: you can save up to $300 when you choose the right provider. We work with CGU insurance.
9. Bundling your insurance policies: If you own a house as well as a vehicle, you need to insure more than just your vehicle. Insurance companies often provide incentives when you purchase an insurance bundle (e.g. home and content + car). Take advantage of home and vehicle ownership to further save money on your car expense.
Savings: Using BudgetDirect as an example, existing customers buying additional policies online can save the customer 15% on car insurance and 30% on home and contents insurance. This can translate up to $150 of savings on vehicle policy and even more on other policies.
10. Dropping coverages on older vehicles: Once your car is 10 years or older, or worth less than 10 times the premium, the cost of repair could be more than what your vehicle is worth. In this case, a third party coverage might be a smarter choice instead of the comprehensive cover.
Savings: there are many variables when it comes to how much an insurance policy will cost you, so go online and do your research. We are sure that you will be saving hundreds each year!
11. Ask for discount options: It never hurts to ask. Some insurance companies offer mileage discounts if you drive less than the average number of kilometres per year, but you will never find out if you don’t ask!
Savings: check with your insurance provider!
12. Do you have a teenager?: Insuring a teenager (or someone under the age of 25) can be very costly to the parent. You can consider getting your child a cheaper but reliable car (such as a toyota), which means you are paying less to get the car insured. Generally, a car of Japanese make is cheaper to service and repair when compared to European counterparts.
Savings: Subject to the vehicle driven by your teenager and young adult.
13. Know when NOT to claim: IF you are filing for a single claim following an accident, your insurance premium will be going up. So if you are only involved in minor accidents (that does not involve someone else or cause harm to yourself), consider the rise in premium cost, and decide if that cost is more than what you will get back in return for the minor damage. You might save money by paying out of your own pocket if you can afford it.
Savings: Subject to your situation.
Repair & Maintenance
14. Know what your car needs and when: Maintenance schedule is a good friend when it comes to cost saving. For example, knowing when your car needs a fluid level top-up can save you from being overcharged by mechanics when you visit them, as well as other unnecessary services.
Savings: up to $100 in maintenance and labour cost.
15. Handle the easy repairs: don’t be lazy! Easy to replace parts on your car includes your windshield wiper blades, fuses and lights. There are plenty of video tutorials and how-to articles that will teach you. Not only will you learn a new skill, it will also save you money!
Savings: up to $100 in maintenance and labour cost.
16. Replace your own air filters: This is not a particularly difficult vehicle part to replace, DIY style, yet it makes a big difference. A clean filter keeps dirt out of the engine and improves fuel economy. Refer to your maintenance schedule to see how often the filter should be changed, this process should take you no longer than 5 minutes.
Savings: labour costs.
17. Easy on the brakes: Remember how we said that aggressive braking eats away at your fuel economy? There is also another reason for easing into a brake: your brake! By going easy when braking, you can extend (or even double) your brake’s life expectancy.
Savings: up to $1,000 over the lifetime of your vehicle.
18. Rotate your tyres: Front tyres tend to wear out faster than rear tyres. Rotating tyres isn’t scary (YouTube is your best friend), and once you rotate the tyres, you ensure that both front and rear tyres wear out evenly, so you don’t have to prematurely replace them.
Savings: assuming you need to replace your tyre set twice a year, you will be savings up to $120 annually.
Need your vehicle serviced or repaired? Repairy is the way to do it. We will pick up your car, have it serviced at one of our trusted workshop partners and get the car back to you in no time! Have a question about Repairy? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Repairy is an airbnb/uber for car service. We help people to get their car serviced without having to go to workshop.
We pick the car, get it serviced, we wash the car, and bring it back within the same day. In between, car owners can track the status of the car through our text messages update.
Repairy partner with workshops accross Melbourne and advocating on your behalf, so you can get the best quality of service at a competitive price.
At Repairy, we believe that taking care of your car should be an easy and stress-free experience.