It's no secret that Americans love our cars. Between gas, maintenance, insurance and monthly payments, costs add up fast. See 9 ways to save on car expenses from AARP Bulletin's 99 Great Ways to Save feature. Here are five bonus tips.
New rules for oil changes. Technology and oil chemistry have made today's vehicles more resilient. How often you need to change the oil depends on the make and model, along with your driving habits. Look at your owner's manual instead of assuming that oil should be changed 3,000 miles.
Pick the right day to get gas. Gas is cheaper midweek since stations tend to lift prices on Thursdays and cycle down after the weekend. Plan fill-ups for Tuesday or Wednesday, when prices are usually at their lowest.
Know the difference between premium gas recommended vs. required. Some (not all) vehicles do fine with regular unleaded or a mid-grade gas - and the savings over premium can be substantial. If your car does truly require premium, many stations offer premium discounts certain days of the week (check GasBuddy.com).
Slow down. AARP Cheapskate Guru Jeff Yeager points out that for every 5 miles you drive over 60 miles per hour, it essentially costs you almost 25 cents more for each gallon of gas. Doing the posted limit saves on the costs and hassle of speeding tickets. Tickets hit you squarely in the wallet - and too many can potentially drive up your insurance costs.
Be a joiner. Joining online car owners' communities can be a good way to find a good local mechanic or get initial input on issues common to your model year. Find different forums by searching for your make and model (registering online is usually required but free for most sites). If you're in the market for a used or new car, Edmunds.com is chock full of great information on pricing, plus reviews from other owners.
Find these tips helpful? Share them with other drivers, and remember to check out 99 Great Ways to Save. Your wallet will thank you. Also join us on our Facebook page to share comments or tips we may have missed.
Photo by bitzcelt via Flickr Creative Commons.