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8 Tips From AARP on How to Save on Car Costs Skip to content

Refresh your driving skills with the AARP Smart Driver online course! Use promo code THANKS to save 25 percent.


8 Ways to Save on Car Costs 

From insurance to gas prices, here's how to spend less

cars in a row

All Canada Photos / Alamy Stock Photo

En español | 1. Buy cheap wiper blades. You should replace them every six months, experts say. So buy the $8 pair and save up to $8 off the more expensive pair.

2. Use cruise control. It can reduce your fuel use by 7 percent on the highway. The average U.S. household spends about $2,000 a year on gasoline. If half of your miles are on the highway, that’s a savings of $70 a year.

3. Check engine belts. Broken belts are a major cause of breakdowns. Be sure to check yours before you go on a long trip. Avoid one breakdown and save $100 in towing fees.

4. Use GasBuddy. The Gas Guru and GasBuddy apps show you prices at all area stations. If gas is $2.85 at one station and $3.09 at another, save $2.40 for every 10 gallons you pump — up to $100 in a year. 

5. Take a defensive driving course. Many auto insurers will shave as much as 10 percent off your annual premiums if you take a course. AARP offers a Smart Driver course online for members. Annual insurance savings: $200.

6. Negotiate a car lease. Always make a deal based on the full price of the lease, not the monthly rate. You can negotiate among dealerships based on overall cost, and go with the best deal. Save $1,000 over the lease of a car.

7. Pay for performance, not prestige. Go with Toyota, Nissan or Honda, not high-end Lexus, Infiniti or Acura models from the same manufacturers. A 2018 Toyota Camry XLE V6 listed at $34,400, for example, has the same engine as a 2018 Lexus ES 350 that lists for $38,950. Car-comparison sites like Edmunds​.com give them nearly identical ratings. Savings: $4,550. 

8. Cross state lines for gas. Prices vary mostly due to different tax rates. Check gasprices​ if you’re planning an interstate drive or live close to a state border. For example, filling up for $2.92 a gallon in Arizona instead of $3.71 in California would save $7.80 on 10 gallons. 

More 99 Ways to Save

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