Millions are looking for ways to shave dollars and dimes from their daily expenses. To share your own tips, send us an e-mail telling us how you save. You can save money on everything, but here's how you can get started saving on car expenses.
See also: Tips and myths on saving gas.
For cheap gas, you can compare costs at a variety of websites. A few sources: gasbuddy.com, gaspricewatch.com and autos.msn.com/everyday/gasstations.aspx. To locate low-cost stations selling alternative fuels in your area, visit altfuelprices.com.
Just 10 seconds of idling your car’s engine uses as much gas as restarting it. Two minutes uses enough fuel to drive a mile. So turn your engine off.
Buying a car? Contact the dealership’s Internet sales department to ask for the “best quote” (which could be lower than posted website prices). These sales reps often have more negotiating room, because commissions are often based on number of cars sold, not value of the deal.
Fuel efficiency drops about an average 5 mpg for each 10-mile speed increase over 55 mph. Jackrabbit starts and stops reduce it an additional 3 mpg.
Facing car repairs? First visit repairpal.com to find out what the job should cost. The site gives free quotes based on surveys of thousands of shops.
For every 100 extra pounds it carries, your car can lose 1 to 2 percent of fuel efficiency. Remove unneeded items from your trunk.
Planning a road trip? To estimate the cost, enter the vehicle’s year, make and model at fuelcostcalculator.com or costtodrive.com.
To find the price the dealer pays for the car you want to buy, visit truecar.com or the True Market Value section of edmunds.com. When buying new, haggle up from the dealer’s invoice. When buying used, start negotiating at $1,000 to $2,000 below the asking price.
To learn about problems and repair costs concerning the car you are thinking of buying, go to carcomplaints.com. There you’ll find out what owners of that model have to say.
An existing car lease may be key to a deal for you. Find a driver who wants to end a lease early without paying the balance due or early termination penalties. If you assume the lease, you can avoid the usual hefty down payment. Websites such as leasetrader.com and swapalease.com connect the two sides of such deals.
“No-haggle” dealerships may ease stress, but experts say their cars typically sell for $500 to $1,000 more than at a dealer who actually deals. Go to a traditional kind of lot and stand your ground.
Save $20 an hour and pay less for parts by going to an independent mechanic. Service by a qualified independent is unlikely to invalidate your car’s warranty. But read it carefully, follow the maker’s maintenance recommendations and keep records of service.
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