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Ownership Tips: Keeping up with Car Costs

Motoring is more expensive than it looks on the surface.  The purchase price of a car is a big up-front investment, but it’s really just the beginning in terms of overall car spending keeping you on the road.  From the start, financing fees add to the cost of driving, requiring monthly payments with interest attached.  Add in the cost of insurance cover, petrol, and repairs; and the hidden costs of driving become more clear.  Paying the proper price for your car is a good started, realized through research and education about prevailing car prices. While you may not get many guarantees in the used car market, it’s also important to buy a car of solid manufacture, which will serve you well over time.  When money is short, or economic conditions do not favor a car buy, consider keeping your existing car running longer.  If it’s paid for, you’ll save money on monthly obligations, which is a nice change of pace from steadily paying on loans.  The key to keeping your car on the road is conducting proper maintenance along the way.  Using recommended schedules, changing fluids and other routine upkeep sustains proper functioning, squeezing extra life out of aging vehicles.

Keeping Up with Car Costs

Rotate or Replace Tires

The points of contact, where your car meets the road, are a big part of your cars drivability, so it is important to stay ahead of tire wear.  Rotating tires switches treads from the outside to the inside, helping tires perform more efficiently.  Regularly rotating from front to rear extends tire life too, and keeps your car handling the way it should.  Not all tire set-ups allow for rotation, so your vehicle owner’s manual outlines the best practices for your particular model.  Replacing tires is a relatively inexpensive way to bring your car’s handling characteristics back in line, especially for drivers experiencing winter weather driving. The best results extending tire life come when tires are properly matched to the terrain and driving conditions seen most often.

Low-Impact Drivers Extend Car Life

Maintenance is essential to keeping your car running smoothly over time, but your own driving habits also take a toll on your car.  When money is tight, prompting you to stay on the road with your current car, how you drive can have a significant impact on the overall cost of driving.  Replaceable parts, like brakes, tires and tune-up parts wear out fastest when drivers are hard on their cars.  To stay viable in your current car, adjust your driving impacts downward, so your car lasts longer.  Quick, erratic braking, for example, cuts into brake components, causing them to wear out prematurely.  Applying steady, even pressure as you brake, on the other hand, eases parts into contact with one another, extending their lives, by reducing wear.  City driving is harder on cars than getting out on the open road.  Starts and stops wear cars out quickest, so minimizing the number of short city trips you make can have a positive impact on your car spending. Whenever possible, combine your errands and other outings to make longer journeys when you drive.  Better yet, consider alternative transportation like bikes and foot power, which take the entire burden off your car, extending its life – and maybe yours too.

Fluid Changes Keep Cars Running Smoothly

The quickest way to premature wear is failing to stay ahead of regular fluid changes for your car.  Motor oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and other car lubricants are essential to proper functioning, so turning a blind eye to these important maintenance issues leads to higher spending.
For the best results, follow manufacturer recommendations for conducting fluid changes on your make and model.

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