6 Money-Saving DIY Tips for Car Owners

With ownership comes great responsibility. If you own a car, you already know you have to fill it up with fuel for it to run, you need insurance to protect yourself and others in the event of an accident, and you should be performing regular maintenance.

The cost of these things adds up, but there are some things you can do to save money while maintaining your car and keeping it safe. From commuting to work to going to the grocery store, your car needs a little TLC, and so does your wallet!

Tire Pressure

Airing up your tires could have a big impact on your fuel economy and your safety. Your car has to work harder if your tires aren't properly inflated. Underinflated tires cause you to lose gas mileage while overinflated tires cause your vehicle to ride less smoothly. No matter how improperly your tires are inflated, it causes them to wear unevenly, meaning you'll have to replace them more often.

Poor gas mileage costs more money in gas, and as the price of gas increases, this could have a big impact on your budget. If your tires are a safety concern, this could mean more money spent on maintenance because you're driving it too rough.

The recommended PSI is printed on the tire itself, so it's not hard to double check it once a week to ensure it's properly inflated. Tire gauges aren't expensive, and they're well worth the investment to save you money later on.

Check Engine Lights

Don't ignore your car's warning system. The lights on your dashboard may be annoying, but they could be telling you about a more serious issue. If you leave these serious issues alone, it could decrease performance and cost you more money in the long run.

Have the code checked and your car inspected by a trusted mechanic to make sure that your car doesn't have a serious problem. Some places will charge a diagnostic fee to find out what's wrong, so make sure that fee is credited toward the repair if you choose to have that done.

Cheap Gas

If you can help it, always fill up when gas prices are low, or find the nearest gas station that has the best price. There are gas price apps on your phone, like GasBuddy, that will help you find the cheapest gas near you. If you regularly fill up with premium or diesel, an app like this could save you even more.

You could also see if your grocery store offers a savings program. Many grocery stores team up with local gas stations to offer discounts. If you shop there anyway, it doesn't require any extra effort on your part, and it could save you plenty of cash.

Tickets

Sometimes we're in a hurry and we drive too fast, but tickets are an unnecessary expense. As you might have learned in driver's ed, speeding only saves you a matter of seconds, so what's the hurry? Getting a speeding ticket could cost you hundreds and having to pull over while the cop writes the ticket is only going to make you later.

It's also worth it to take your time and avoid other non-moving violations. If you can't find a parking spot and you're tempted to park where you might get towed, not only could you get a ticket for parking illegally, but you'll owe even more money to bail your car out of auto jail.

Avoiding Traffic and Tolls

Using a traffic app like Google Maps or Waze can help you maintain your gas mileage by notifying you of traffic ahead. If you map your route, these apps will tell you where the heavy traffic is so you can avoid it. Some of these apps will also tell you if there's an accident or a police officer ahead in time for you to change your route or avoid a ticket.

Another benefit of using a traffic app is the ability to customize your route. You can instruct the app to avoid tolls, which can be hefty depending on where you're going. If you commute using a toll road and it's unavoidable, consider purchasing a pass or a tag for a flat fee every month or a discount on the cash price.

Monthly passes or tags allow you to use the express lane when passing through a toll, which means you save time. Not having to stop and pay also helps with gas mileage. Familiarize yourself with the fees. Don't get complacent with your pass, thinking you can just drive through the toll at any time and save money. Some fares go up during rush hour or peak travel times.

Avoid New Car Costs

Buying a new car has the potential to save you money on maintenance, and the latest models often have the best fuel efficiency. But that isn't always the case. The value of any car drops fastest in the first months and years, costing you a bundle when you go to sell it or trade it in. Expect higher insurance costs, too. Avoiding the new car in favor of a quality, inspected pre-owned vehicle can actually save you plenty.

If you're shopping for used SUVs and trucks as well as cars, Southwest Motors in Pueblo can help you find the right one for you and ensure that it's running properly before you drive off the lot. Use these tips to keep your used car in peak condition and save yourself money.

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