Car Ownership

Save Money on Total Cost of Car Ownership

Our cars and other vehicles are part of our lives. They are financially, socially and emotionally important to us. They are also, for most people, a significant source of expense. A vehicle’s true cost is much more than just the sticker price. To calculate the total cost of ownership, you must tally up the initial purchase price, maintenance, repairs, gasoline, insurance and other factors. Here are a few tips to help you save money on the total ownership cost of your vehicle.

Do your scheduled maintenance

If your car could speak, it might say, “Pay me now or pay me later.”  The thought of getting a tune-up or an oil change for your car may rarely enter your mind, let alone be a priority. Many people don’t give the workings of their vehicle a second thought until the engine light comes on or the car breaks down. Repairs can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Many car repairs can be prevented altogether by performing the scheduled maintenance. Dollars spent now save you many more dollars later. If you are someone who often forgets such thing, set a calendar event on your phone, for the next time your car needs an oil change.

Wash your car

Be a neat freak with your car. Keep it clean, inside and out. You will keep it looking nice for many years if you take good care of it. If you keep the car for a long time, you won’t need new paint or upholstery if you keep it looking good.

Fix it yourself

No matter what your starting point in the understanding of the workings of a vehicle, you should educate yourself. Read the manual for your car. Then buy a shop book or repair manual for your vehicle. Diagnosing your car’s problems yourself and getting parts at the local autoparts store can saving you thousands of dollars over the life of the vehicle. You can supplement your knowledge by visiting forums online, for your make and model of car, or watching Youtube videos. Even when you do need to take a vehicle to a mechanic, being forearmed with information can keep you from getting swindled on unnecessary repairs.

Taxes

Let your car pay you back for some of its expense. The US Tax code lets you deduct both miles traveled for business and for medical. To take this deduction, you will need to keep a log. Get your car a log book. A bound, half-page sized notebook, like those sold as a diary at Office Depot, is a good choice. For each business related trip, write your starting and finishing odometer readings and the number of miles traveled. At the end of the year this could get you hundreds of dollars of savings on your tax bill.

Get full coverage auto insurance

Accidents happen. Don’t skimp on car insurance and get a liability only policy. Get full coverage so that your car can be replaced if it is totalled.

The best way to save money on the expense of a new car is to keep your current car in great shape and looking good. Follow these tips and your car will serve you well for many years.

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