Reduce Car Expenses

Reduce Car Expenses

1. Reduce Car Expenses with Car Pools

Reduce car expenses by getting neighbors, colleagues or friends to carpool.  For those without a car, get them to share the cost of the gas.  Alternately look for colleagues who also owns a car.  Discuss to plan driving on an alternate day by switching car or each drive for a week.  We report to work on time but often leave the office at different timing due to work commitment.  Time is perishable.  Instead of waiting for each other, keep the option open to use public transport for the return home trip whichever is more convenient.

2. Have a Smaller Car.

A car is a depreciating asset.  The higher the engine capacity the more it sucks gas and drain our pocket money.  Consider changing to a smaller car or when the time to replace buy one with a lower capacity.  Remember to only buy what you need and forget about peer pressure.  The smaller car consumes less gas and reduces car expenses.

3. Pay Cash for Car.

Pay in cashSave hard and build up the fund to own a car so that you pay cash for it.  In this way, you are not in debt and not having to worry about the repayment of the car loan.  Believe me, when you collect the car, the feeling is different.  You feel proud you finally did it as there are no more heavy stones on shoulders.  Just like when you paid the last installment for your previous car loan.  I know some may disagree with paying cash.  But I just hate to let bank earn interest when I have the extra cash.

4. One Car Family will Reduce Car Expenses.

Do you need to own two cars?  Why not, be a one-car family as there is huge saving and the car expense will drop to more than half.  Sell the second car and share one car with your wife or vice versa.  Just to follow up on paying cash for the car.  Might as well sell off both cars and buy one that two of you would love to drive.  Yes, I know there will be an inconvenience but it can be resolved with planning.  Whenever there is a crash of schedules or priorities, hail an Uber.  Let the fingers do the work to book a cab on your phone apps.

5. Fuel Economy as Top Priority

When choosing a car, put fuel economy as the top priority over reliability, styling or capacity.  Oil prices are highly volatile and constantly changing like the weather.  You never know when the oil price will break the $100 per barrel level again.

6. Regular Grade is Good Enough.

Use regular grade to reduce car expenses

Switch to use lower premium gas.  Look up the manufacturer specification to check on the recommended grade. Be frugal to save some money as the higher premium gas may give the higher power which doesn’t matter.  Unless you are driving a performance car, then the premium grade is a must.

7. Convenient Station Along the Way.

Take note of the gas stations along your commute and plan your route to top up when the gas is low.  Avoid driving across town just to save the few cents.  Do your Maths, the extra distance you have to drive may not do justice to the fuel consumption.  Don’t waste your energy unnecessary.

8. Plan Route for Errands to Reduce Car Expenses.

Planning for your trip when doing errands will further reduce car expenses.  List them down, organize and plan your route.  Avoid peak hour as you might be caught in a traffic jam.  Look for a cheaper place to park and walk a short distance.  Take advantage of malls that offer the first two hours of free parking when you meet the minimum purchase.  Set an alarm to ensure that you leave before the allotted time.

9. Switch Off Engine instead of Idling.

Switch engine off when waiting to pick up family members or friends.  Idling drains the gas and increases fuel consumption unnecessary.  If weather permits, turn off the air-con and wind down the window to enjoy the natural breeze.  How about getting out of the car and do some stretching which does wonder for your body.

10. Change Driving Style.

Avoid rapid acceleration and sudden braking.  At the traffic stop, don’t press hard on the accelerator to be the first to shoot off. Press the accelerator gently and ease off as the car pick up speed. Similarly, when coming to a stop, don’t brake abruptly in the last minute.  Anticipate the traffic conditions and give ample time to brake smoothly.  Minimize on acceleration will save on fuel while braking smoothly will reduce brake disc and pad wear.  Changing your driving style will reduce car expenses on fuel.

11. Cruise Control on Highway.

Use Cruising will reduce car expensesUse cruise control when on the highway.  There is a saving of between 12 % to 15% on fuel consumption when cruising at a constant speed.  However, cruising at high speed also burn a hole in your pocket.  What is the hurry, enjoy the journey and cruise comfortably.

12. Remove Dead load in Booth.

Remove unnecessary items such as bicycle racks, icebox, hobby kits from the booth.  Don’t treat the car booth as a portable storage yard.  De-clutter your car will make it lighter and improve your fuel mileage.  Carrying all these extra dead loads is equivalent to having another passenger in your car.

13. Cleaning & Paint Work.

Car wash

Wash your car instead of sending it for a car wash.  I reckon they use heavy-duty cleaners which acts like acid for the easy and fast dirt removal.  The spinning brushes pressing on the car are like a thousand pieces of tiny sandpaper grinding and chipping away the paintwork.  Doing it yourself, there are a variety of cleaners and liquid wax available you can choose from.  And you buy them off when on sales to get value for money.  Also another form of exercise without going to the gym.

14. Simple Maintenance Reduce Car expenses.

Reduce car expenses by carrying out simple maintenance yourself instead of sending it to the agent.  Clean or change air filter and oil filter regularly.  Check radiator and wiper water level. Top up where necessary.  Regularly servicing and maintenance will go a long way to keep your engine running smoothly and high fuel economy.

15. Synthetics Oils.

Synthetics oil offers superior engine protection and keeps it running at optimal performance.  At cold start, synthetics oil easily pumps and readily distributed across the engine hence reduce friction on moving parts.  After warming up, the oil properties remain stable across a wider temperature range as the engine reaches peak operating efficiency.  All these will lead to improving fuel economy and lower emissions to our environment.  Although it might cost more, it is a worthwhile investment for the long run.

16. Check Tires Pressure Regularly.

Check the tires pressure at least twice a month to ensure that it is properly inflated.  This should be done while the tires are still relatively cold.  Drive to the nearest gas station early in the morning over the weekend to do this important task.  When inflating the tire, take a look at the condition of the tire and check for uneven wear.  Under-inflation of the tire by 10% increases the tire wear rate by 5% and also increases gas consumption by 2%.

17. Rotate Tires.

Tire RotationThe front tires tend to wear off faster than the rear.  For front-wheel drive, this is where the power is applied and for steering.  Cars are designed with disc brake in front and drum at the rear because when braking the weight is transferred from the rear to the front.  Replace tires in a pair rather than in a set.  So rotate them regularly to prevent premature replacement.  If you notice uneven treads wear, send for wheel balancing and alignment.

18. Drive Less, Cycle or Walk More.

BikingFor short trips to the nearby grocery store, cycling or walking brings better health benefit than driving.  Plan a hiking trip with the children and leave the car behind.  Starting and stopping the car over short distance affects fuel economy.  That’s why car fuel efficiency is poor in city driving.

19. Use Public Transport for Recreational Activities.

Public TransportWhenever convenience, leave your car behind to enjoy a carefree ride.  As a passenger, you are at the liberty to relax and do something different.  You may choose to read a book, play games on your smartphone, check your social media or simply sit back to enjoy the natural surrounding as the bus cruise along. Compare being on the wheel, your focus and attention have to be on the road and vehicles all around you.

20. Use Uber and Lytf.

Uber Cab

In today’s day and age, with the press of a few buttons on your smartphone app, you can summon a cab on-demand right to your doorstep within minutes.  If one day we decide to ditch your car, you will save tons of money.  No car loan, no insurance cost, no gas cost, or no repair or ticket cost.

21. Claim Discount when Renewing.

car-insuranceBefore renewing your car insurance policy, understand what you have bought and claim your entitlement for loyalty, vocation or any good driver discount.  Retrieve the latest copy of your driving record to see if you have any outstanding tickets or demerit points.  When is it clean over some time, request the insurance company for some credit or lower your premium.  Also, seek out other insurance companies for price comparison before renewing.  Combining your housing and car insurance may qualify you for further discount.  Check this out.

22. Credit Card Cash Back.

Make use of credit card that gives cash back for purchase on gas.  Different banks may have a different rate for cashback.  So check around and use the correct credit card to enjoy the highest discount.  Cashback is better than the point or other types of reward system.

23. Build Up an Emergency Fund.

When you have sufficient emergency fund, talk to your car insurance agent to increase the deductible as this will reduce the premium.  Raising the deductible from $500 to $1000 may have a saving of about $200 a year on average.  Weigh out the saving over three years and evaluate if it is worth switching.

24. Befriend a Good Mechanic.

Check around and ask friends for a recommendation for a good mechanic to skip the dealership for service and repair which are often more expansive.  Do some research and read up on engine problem so that you can discuss the alternative with the mechanic if the repair cost estimate is high.  Explore to carry out the repair in stages to spread the cost.

You may also want to check my post on 24 ways to reduce energy bills.

Huge Saving Throughout the Year.

Car expenses usually take up a huge portion of the monthly budget.  Adopting some of the above tips will lower your car expenses and leave you richer with money to spend on other things that matter.  Living frugally is a mindset to live on less not with less.

Contribute some tips from your experience that I might have left out.  Share and comment on the post for me.  It makes me feel good and motivate me to continue writing.



Liat LIM

  • Liam LIM,

    Great blog! Frugal Mind Set! I am excited about following you. This articles on cars had some good tips in it that I can apply.

    Silly, but I had never thought about extra stuff in my trunk being equivalent to an extra person.

    I also need to focus more on planning my routes.

    I think you can also add planning ahead so you only make one errands trip instead of several. I find an ongoing to do list helps me be more organized that way.

    Thanks for the suggestions -JoAnn

    • Frugal Lim says:

      Hi JoAnn,

      Thanks for dropping by and giving your comment. I think half the time we conveniently left the extra loads in the booth without knowing that it is consuming fuel and burning a hole in our pocket. Especially in the booth, it is out of sight out of mind. The other half is that we are exhausted and we keep procrastinating and have forgotten about the whole matter.

      Sure by having a grocery or to buy list on hand, planning ahead and combining the errand trips make a lot of sense too. That not only save money on fuel but also time and effort.

      Glad that you find the suggestions useful and help to stretch the value of our dollar.

      Regards – Liat LIM

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