Slash your auto budget - MoneySense

Slash your auto budget

If you named your car, you’re probably spending too much money on it! If you think your car’s just a mode of transportation, you’re probably looking for ways to save.


It seems to me that car-owners fall into one of two categories:

  • Thems that loooooovees their cars: They name them; they treat them like babies; they’re obsessed with adding accessories, and
  • Thems that knows nuthin’ ’bout cars.

I fall into the latter category. I think the dirt is fine since it’s probably holding my car together. I don’t sweat the dings and bumps. And the inside of my car always looks like I’ve just come back from a long car-trip with a band of wild children.

Whether you live to drive or drive to live, you may be wasting money on your car. Here are  seven ways to save:

1. Don’t pay someone to wash your car.
If you’ve got a bucket and some soap and water at home, why would you fork over $10 or more to have some machine wash your car.

2. Put air in your tires.
Tires that need air use more gas and wear out more quickly. Be careful not to over-inflate, which can be dangerous since not enough rubber hits the road to keep you safe.

3.  Don’t buy premium gas.
If you’re driving a high-performance vehicle, you need super-de-dooper gas. If not, don’t waste your money. The difference between 87 and 93 octane is so small that you won’t get better mileage or see lower maintenance bills.

4. Maintain your car.
According to Natural Resources Canada Office of Energy Efficiency Auto$mart Thinking program, a well-tuned engine alone can improve fuel economy by up to 4% while a poorly maintained vehicle can increase fuel consumption by up to 50%.

5. Raise your deductible.
You wouldn’t make an insurance claim for less that $1,000 (no, you wouldn’t!)  so why not raise your deductable that high and boost your emergency fund.

6. You’re a speed demon.
Cars are most economical at about 100 kph. According to a European study, rapid starts from traffic lights and hard braking consumes 39% more fuel.

7.  You drive around with your trunk full of crap.
For every extra 45 kg (100 lbs) you carry in your vehicle, your fuel efficiency can drop by 1-2%. If you’re not using your roof rack, take it off. Not only is there a weight factor, it affects the aerodynamic efficiency of your vehicle reducing your fuel economy by as much as 5%.