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8 Ways to Save on Car Costs 

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

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All Canada Photos / Alamy Stock Photo

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.

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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.

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