January 27, 2015
Money-Saving Tips for Your Oklahoma Car
When you have bad credit or low savings, owning a car can seem like a huge expense. Car payments, insurance payments, maintenance, gas, and incidental expenses like new wiper blades and car washes can add up fast. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to save money on your car beyond shopping for cheaper models. We put together some of our favorite money-saving tips for Oklahoma drivers so you can get the most out of your car for less!
Save Money on Gas
Gas is probably the biggest regular expense of car ownership. Depending on the make and model of your car, you can easily end up spending more than $100 a month on gas alone. However, there are several ways you can trim that expense and save money over time.
First, make sure you’re not paying too much for gas. Unless you own a premium sports car or tuned racer, you don’t need to put premium gas in your tank. Regular 87-octane gas is fine for most vehicles. If you aren’t sure what kind of gas your car needs, check the owner’s manual or search online.
Second, check your tire pressure and your air filter. Underinflated tires can rob you of fuel economy since they’re harder for the engine to turn and keep at speed. You should check your tire pressure at least once a month to make sure it’s right. The same goes for your air filter – a dirty, clogged filter means an underperforming engine. Check your air filter regularly, and either clean it with an air hose or vacuum, or just buy a new one at an auto parts store.
Finally, you can adjust your driving habits to increase your fuel economy. Driving a few miles per hour slower, accelerating and braking smoothly, and not letting your car sit idle for a long time can all save you money on gas.
Clean Your Car Yourself
A clean car is a happy car – but touchless automatic car washes can be expensive. An easy way to save some money on keeping your car clean is simply to clean it yourself. A quality car soap, sponge, bucket, and wax only cost as much as one or two visits to the car wash, and they’ll last you for months. Plus, when you clean your car yourself you can be sure that it’s done properly without any missed spots or ugly smudges.
Perform Preventative Maintenance
There are lots of simple maintenance tasks you can perform to keep your car in good shape. Most of them don’t require any specialized knowledge beyond the ability to open your car’s hood and read the manual, but all of them can save you money. Some of the best tips include:
- Checking your oil levels: Make sure your car’s oil reservoir is full at least once a month. Having a good supply of clean engine oil will keep your car running well for years.
- Checking your coolant: Oklahoma gets hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Engine coolant protects against temperature extremes and keeps your car running well all year.
- Rotating your tires: Tire rotation keeps your tires from wearing out too fast, and it also helps keep your suspension in good shape.
- Getting regular tune-ups: A tune-up is like a checkup for your engine – it ensures everything is working the way it should and catches problems before they become too big. Find a trustworthy mechanic and have them perform a tune-up once a year.
Buy a Code Reader
Code readers might seem expensive, but they’re a great investment. Once your car starts getting more miles on it, you’re probably going to see the “Check Engine” light more frequently. Unfortunately, you never know what the problem is or if you can do anything about it yourself – unless you have a code reader, that is.
Engine code readers plug into a port below your steering column and tell you what problem the check engine light (or any other error or warning light) is trying to alert you to. Even though they’re a bit of an investment, you’ll be happy you bought it the first time you avoid a trip to the mechanic because your gas cap was too loose. If you aren’t ready to buy a reader yourself, you can also visit many auto parts stores and they will read your engine codes for free.
Shop Around for Insurance
If you’re a good driver, your insurance premiums are another way for you to save money on your car expenses. Insurance companies are often more than happy to offer competitive rates and special deals when you have a clean driving record. Plus, many websites make it easy to compare insurance rates in your market to find better deals. Many auto insurance experts recommend shopping for a better rate every few years.
Another way to save money on insurance is to trade a lower premium for a higher deductible. This strategy is best for drivers who don’t drive a lot or who have a good safety record, since it can cost you more if you are in an accident. However, as long as you drive safely, you could end up saving big. Changing your deductible from $500 to $1,000 can save you 20% or more on your annual premiums.
These are only a few of the ways you can save money on your car. If you want to learn more about driving for less and getting good deals on vehicles, come to The KEY today! Our friendly salespeople and financial experts will help you find a great used car or truck at a price that fits your budget. Call us or visit our Oklahoma City used car lot today!