By Sylvia Lim, CGA, CFP
Car ownership is expensive. By making small changes to your driving and car maintenance habits, you can save yourself some big money. Here are ten good ideas to help drive some loonies back into your wallet without making big sacrifices with your car.
- Lighten up on the gas pedal – slow down. Not only is it safer but this habit can save you as much as 25 – 30% of your gas bills.
- Use proper fuel type for your vehicle and always purchase gas from a reputable gas station.
- Keep your car tires inflated properly – having them checked regularly will maximize your car performance and gas savings.
- Maintain your car properly. Regular oil changes and tune ups will extend its useful life and help your car’s fuel efficiency.
- Remove unnecessary heavy items from the car to lighten the load and save on gas. The roof rack, the golf clubs in the winter and the sandbags and snow shovel in the summer.
- Minimize the use of the air conditioner in the summer months.
- Keep your car for at least 10 years. With proper maintenance and good driving habits, you will save on depreciation, new car taxes and car loan interest.
- Skip driving altogether for short distance trips and errands. Take up walking instead for a healthier you and your wallet.
- Look at downsizing from two vehicles to one for your family. By pre-planning your driving trips and errands, a family of four living in an urban centre can usually get by with one vehicle.
- If you use your car infrequently, joining a co-op car program may be a good option for you. They are becoming more popular in urban centres. If you find one that suits your driving schedules, it may even wean you off car ownership altogether.
For other great saving tips and ideas, visit the books page