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10 Ways to Decrease Car Expenses
10 Ways To Lower Your Cost Of Ownership By Zach Bowman, DriverSide Contributing Editor
No two ways about it, owning a vehicle is expensive. Aside from car payments, there’s regular upkeep to worry about, fuel, insurance, taxes, titling fees and registration. Car owners spend thousands of dollars a year on top of the cost of their vehicle just to keep their ride on the road. There is hope, though. We’ve worked up 10 great ways, from fuel-saving tips to lowering your insurance premiums, to help you save money on the cost of ownership.
Buy Certified Pre-Owned
The best way to start saving on your cost of ownership is to begin at the buying process. Buy a certified pre-owned car from a manufacturer program instead of a brand-new model. CPO vehicles have already gone though most of their depreciation, but have also been maintained by factory service technicians and usually have low miles. A new car tends to lose around 40 percent of its value in the first year alone, so why not let someone else take up that loss? For an example, a car that cost $30,000 new in 2009 may only be worth $18,000 in 2010. CPO vehicles also tend to carry a good warranty , which can save you more cash in repair costs and regular maintenance down the road.
If you’re simply looking to save some cash on a vehicle you already own, taking a good look at your insurance policy is a great first step. If you have an older vehicle, you may look into lowering the amount of coverage you carry. After all, it doesn’t make much sense to have full coverage on an ’86 Toyota Corolla. A simple way to evaluate your coverage is to look at how much a mild fender-bender would cost you to repair. If the cost is less than what you’re paying in insurance coverage for that vehicle, you might be better served to look into a new policy. Full coverage may cost $3,000 per year, while lower liability coverage may only set you back $1,000 or less depending on where you live. Even for newer vehicles, shopping around and carrying all of your insurance policies (home, auto, business) through one provider can save you hundreds of dollars per year.
If you’re stuck with hefty car payments every month, now is a great time to talk to your lender about refinancing. If you’ve kept up with your payments and have a good credit history, you may be able to secure a new loan with a drastically lower interest rate or a more manageable monthly payment. How drastic are we talking about? That all depends on your location and your history, but knocking a few percentage points off of your interest rate on a $30,000 loan can translate into $600. Not too bad. All it takes is a few phone calls to get the ball rolling, and you could end up saving serious cash over time.
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