Keeping Your Automobile-Related Costs Down

I like to drive. I would get behind the wheel for just about any reason, or none at all. Cruising gives me time to think, to enjoy particular kinds of music, talk with people I consider part of my inner circle, and to just get away from the mind-number aspects of life. Gridlock traffic will make me rage like any regular driver, but I don’t mind a slow procession for as long as it’s still moving towards where I want to go.

You can see how this inevitably drives up my car expenses, fuel being the most obvious. The usual wear and tear of the car and its components also follows, and if I’m not careful enough, the occasional scratch and scrape, or even a flat tire, the most common headache of the average driver. I have been able to reach an amenable balance between enjoyment and cost, and the tips below have kept me from dedicating too much of my finances to paying for my wheels.

Easy On The Pedal
Though I love to cruise, I don’t like to speed excessively. Never mind that it adds an additional amount of risk to your driving experience, it also consumes a lot more fuel for the same distance traveled. Different engines have different optimal speeds in which they are getting the most mileage out of their fuel. Find out your car’s sweet spot, and try to stick to that speed range in order to keep fuel costs down.

Optimize Your Settings
We do it with our PCs and other computing devices, we can certainly do that with our automobiles. For starters, regulate the amount of power you use in your car by keeping the air conditioning/heating levels to sane, non-maximized levels (exceptions during extremely hot or cold days). Also, make sure your car’s electrical system can actually deliver adequate power to both your car’s essential subsystems as well as the not so important ones (like your audio/video). If there are days you can make do without extremely loud music or air conditioning, turn them off.

Maintenance Is Preferable to Breakdowns

Don’t wait for something to conk out before repairing or replacing it. This is especially true if you don’t want to break down on the road (who does?). Make periodic visits to the auto shop to have your essential systems checked, and if anything needs to be worked on, have it done immediately and avoid running your car with components that are close to failing. That goes for tires as well; buy tires and wheels online so you can have a bigger selection of variety and price, but never wait until your wheels are all bald or you don’t even have a workable spare.

With these simple and handy tips, I wish you a penny-smart car owning and driving experience. Keep on rollin’!

About the Author
Stacey Thompson is a professional writer, marketer, entrepreneur, and a lover of weird little animals. She is based in San Diego, California, and is constantly thinking of ways to save money on her car-based expenses. Stacey and her friends talk about these and other topics in their blog, Word Baristas.

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