Owning a car is not only liberating but it can also be a source of extra expenses. While there are some costs associated with owning a car that you cannot avoid, such as registration fees or insurance premiums, there are other expenses you can minimize. Knowing the common ways car owners waste their money helps lower the cost of owning and driving your own car, increasing the amount of money you have in your savings or to pay other expenses.
Using a Higher Octane Fuel Than Recommended
You should never use a higher octane fuel than recommended by your car’s manufacturer. Using a higher grade of gasoline will not harm your car, it will hurt your pocketbook since it offers no performance benefit. Higher octane gases are formulated for cars with high compression ratios, typically luxury vehicles or vehicels with turbochargers or superchargers, to prevent engine knock. You are not giving your car a special treat by giving it higher octane fuel than needed, but you are giving the oil companies more of your hard-earned money.
Changing the Oil Too Often
You should always follow your car manufacturer’s recommendations for oil changes, as well as for the type of oil to put in your car’s engine. The manufacturer knows how long the oil can withstand the conditions in the engine before the oil begins to break down and not protect against engine wear as effectively. Some oil change stations or mechanic shops will place a sticker in your windshield that directs you to return for another oil change much sooner than the manufacturer recommends. Changing the oil more often is unnecessary and simply wastes money.
Neglecting the Tires
Everyone leads a busy life, and as a result your car’s tires are probably not always at the forefront of your mind. By starting a habit of maintaining your car’s tires you can save money in multiple ways. Newer cars might come with a tire pressure monitoring system that alerts you when your tires’ pressure drops too low, making maintenance easier. You should regularly check your car’s tire pressure, especially when the outside temperature changes drastically. Driving on underinflated tires lowers your car’s gas mileage. Low tire pressure also increases the distance your car needs to stop and negatively affects your car’s handling—which can cause you to get into an accident. Driving on your tires when they are underinflated also wears them out faster, which means you must buy tires more often. You should also follow your tire shop’s recommendations for balancing and rotation, which also protects against premature tire wear.
Paying to do Simple Maintenance
Cars require many other small maintenance jobs that need to be done on a regular basis. Every time you have a mechanic, lube shop or any other automotive professional perform maintenance on your vehicle you must pay for labor. When it comes to simple maintenance items, such as replacing your car’s windshield wiper blades or air filter, you can save a fair amount of money doing it yourself. Many shops mark up the price of the equipment they put on your car, increasing the cost of the maintenance on top of the labor. If a maintenance item is something you can easily do in less than 30 minutes, save yourself the money and do the maintenance yourself.