34 Ways to Save Money On Car Expenses

With the recent increases in gas price, everyone is feeling the pinch. What used to be a $30 fill up is now $40. And every household budget is in crisis from the rising gas price, along with everything else. So, I figure this is a good time to share some money saving tips.

Driving to DC

Save Money On Car Purchases

  1. If you have a car, keep the car longer if it’s still in good working order.
  2. If you need a car, buy a used car.
  3. Buy a fuel efficient car.
  4. Buy the right car for your driving needs — for example, don’t buy a Hummer for your daily commute.
  5. Don’t spend money on accessories and options; especially if they don’t contribute to safety, utility, or comfort.
  6. Don’t spend money on paint protection, special coverages, and extended warranties. They are basically scams.
  7. Avoid car loan. If you need one, research your options before speaking to the dealership finance manager

Save Money On Car Insurance

  1. Shop for the best auto insurance.
  2. Combine you auto and homeowner’s insurance for additional savings.
  3. Consider dropping collision and comprehensive coverage on older cars.

Save Money On Car Maintenance

  1. Properly inflate your tires.
  2. Change your air filter as needed.
  3. Change your engine oil and oil filter as need.
  4. Don’t pay premium for synthetic oil unless your car needs it.
  5. Check fluid levels regularly.
  6. Wash and wax the car yourself.
  7. Keep a good maintenance record.

Other Ways To Save Money

  1. Walk when possible.
  2. Use public transportation when it make sense.
  3. Cut back on unnecessary trips.
  4. Car pool.
  5. Plan your route and combine your errands to save fuel and time.
  6. Use a GPS.
  7. Avoid toll roads when possible.
  8. Don’t warm your car up by letting it idle.
  9. Drive at the speed limit to save gas and avoid speeding tickets.
  10. Don’t accelerate to red lights and stop signs.
  11. Use cruise control on highways.
  12. Be courteous to other drivers.
  13. Control your emotion.
  14. Keep your distance and anticipate changes in traffic patterns.
  15. Use the right grade fuel for your car. Higher octane fuel are just more expensive.
  16. Know the cheap gas stations in your neighborhood.
  17. Remove unnecessary items from your car — keep it light.

Lastly, I’d like to share a few good articles about car expenses:

If you can think of anything else, please share your money saving tips.

About the Author

By , on Apr 25, 2008
Pinyo is the owner of Moolanomy Personal Finance. He is a licensed Realtor specializing in residential homes in the Northern Virginia area. Over the past 20 years, Pinyo has enjoyed a diverse career as an investor, entrepreneur, business executive, educator, and financial literacy author.

Leave Your Comment (23 Comments)

  1. Eben says:

    Learn how to fix simple things yourself. Autozone and possibly other parts stores will do a free test if your check engine light comes on to see if it is something simple and utube shows you how to do most anything these days. If you’re not comfortable with what you are doing have a mechanical check it out after. When researching, I usually and check a couple of links online to make sure they all say the same thing, of course ie., ehow.com ect..

  2. Steve says:

    Great points Pinyo- its easy if you think about it and aren’t greedy. Buy used, maintain, and take your time and find the best price on insurance. A huge expense in the average persons budget that can be drastically reduced if you think ahead.

  3. Stephanie says:

    These are some great tips on saving money for car expenses. The best way I save money is with my Texas Insurance company, they provide great auto insurance! Reliable, and affordable.

  4. Carry says:

    It’s tuff to try to lower car insurance quotes lately. We have been looking through a number of options to help customer save on their auto insurance online, but the financial industry continues to be challenging with the current economic climates.

  5. islandgirl says:

    is it better to do an oil change yourself? if you know how to od it

  6. mike says:

    These are great easy tips that anyone can use.

  7. Adam says:

    We’ve been helping consumers get the cheapest car insurance rates online. The thing to keep in mind is that you have to shop around and compare to get the best coverage and the lowest price.

  8. Cathy says:

    Great article, Pinyo. You’re absolutely right about not buying any extra bells and whistles – although I must say, we had a difficult finding a V6 that didn’t already have extras added on. Thanks for mentioning my article!

  9. Pete says:

    Good ideas – all of them. I’ve been to lazy in the past to really enact any of these, but it might be time to now.

  10. kev says:

    Thanks for the link!

  11. Pinyo says:

    @Trent — Yeah, I have been trying to stretch my oil changes to the recommended 5,000 miles interval, but I am a bit nervous with the 34 years of 3,000 miles brainwash. I am slowly but surely working toward that number though. 🙂

    @Bunny — It’s definitely is getting tougher to keep the car running.

    @Hank — What the heck are you driving that has a 30 gallon tank?

  12. hank says:

    The ol’ suburban drinks 31 gallons to be satiated per trip the the pump! See the info here.

  13. hank says:

    Man, I WISH my car fill up was only 30 or $40… With a 30 gallon tank, we’re pushing the Benjamin each fill up!

  14. bunny says:

    This is a great post! Car expenses really blow! It always leave a huge hole in the pocket 🙁

  15. Trent Hamm says:

    Oil is a big way to save money. Ignore the Jiffy Lube marketing – do what it says on the maintenance schedule in your manual. You’ll save $$$ – if your manual says 5,000 and you were going to do 3,000, you just cut out 8 oil changes over the 60,000 mile lifespan of your car.

  16. Pinyo says:

    @PT – Seriously. The paint protection package was the most expensive wax job I ever spend my money on…$500…sheesh.

    I am also happy that I was able to cancel my extended warranty. After sleeping on it for a night, I didn’t think spending 10% premium on the purchase price was worth it for a brand new Honda — may be it’s worth it on a Chrysler, but certainly not a Honda.

    @Jerry – Great point. That’s why I said control your emotion. I tend to get too emotional some times and I know it’s bad…still trying to fix it though.

    @FGC – Americans like big stuff 🙂

    @Jiim – I heard that before, but I don’t know if it makes any appreciable difference.

    I guess we could test by filling a gallon container early in the morning and see how much is left in the afternoon.

    @Make Friends – Thanks!

    @Money Blue Book – Yes I do, but I’d would have to drive 10 miles, sit in a lot of traffic, and pay $8 toll to get to the gas station. So I try not to do that too often. 🙂

    @Joe – That’s a nice information to share. I really have to drive slower. I usually average about 5 miles above the speed limit to keep up with the traffic flow (which is safer than going 10 miles faster or slower). I know the 5-10 miles per hour will not make a big difference and the saving is obviously worth it.

  17. Joe says:

    I have always wondered what the true impact of driving more slowly would be. I drive 70 miles round trip to work everyday, 60 miles of which is on the highway. I used to drive the speed limit, 70 mph. I averaged 28-29 mpg in my 1998 ZX2 Escort. On the last three tanks, I have driven in the right lane at 60 mph. On the last three tanks I have gotten 33-34 mpg.

    What is the difference in this? At $3.50 per gallon, before I was paying about 12.3 cents per mile in gas. Now I pay about 10.4 cents per mile – a saving of 15% on my gas bill. Put another way, it is like getting a gallon of gas for only $3 per gallon in exchange for the additional time in the car at 60 mph. On my 60 miles per day on the highway, it takes an additional 8.5 minutes, round trip.

  18. Raymond says:


    Do you live near that NJ Turnpike area that features low gas prices? I heard something about that area offering the best deals since the pumps are only permitted to reset prices so often.

  19. Jonathan says:

    I think you’ve covered just about every angle on this Pinyo, Nice work! I agree with avoiding a car loan where possible.

  20. Jiim says:

    You can also find ways to get more gas for your buck. Fill up in the early mornings when it is cooler. The cold temperature makes the gas a little bit denser. Since the pumps run based on volume, you’ll get a bit more!

  21. fgc says:

    Awesome Post!

    I’m in the hunt for a car right now and for 14k, I get a loaded 4-door car that’s fuel efficient. For 18k, I can get a SUV with 40k miles on it that gets no more than 15 miles to the gallon. I just don’t get why people need the SUVs!

  22. Jerry says:

    Remembering to drive responsibly and safely leads to savings on insurance, as well… the fewer tickets on your record, of course, the better your rate will be.

  23. PT says:

    “Don’t spend money on paint protection, special coverages, and extended warranties. They are basically scams. ”

    I could not agree more. They are a waste 90% of the time.

    On my last sale I was able to transfer the extended warranty to the purchaser for a small fee. That was a good selling point. But in most cases it’s bogus.

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