10 Ways You're Wasting Money with Your Car

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Posted on 04/17/2008

Car owners usually fall into two categories. There are those who treat cars like children, always polishing, waxing and adding accessories. Then there are those who know nothing about their car other than how to drive it. Both groups risk throwing away lots of cash on their cars. Here are 10 ways you may be wasting money with your car.

1. Someone else washes your car. Chances are you've got a bucket, some water and soap. Rather than forking over $10 for someone or some machine to scrub your ride, why not take a few minutes to do it yourself for free?

2. Your tires need air. Newer cars have sensors that let you know if a tire is low on air. But if yours doesn't, check it monthly. Tires that aren't properly inflated are more dangerous, require more gasoline and wear our more quickly.

3. You fill the tank with premium. Some cars need the expensive stuff. But if your owner's manual says it's not necessary, don't waste the extra money on it.

4. Maintenance records don't exist. Every time your car is worked on or repaired, make a note. That way, if a mechanic tries to talk you into a new set of brake pads when you could have sworn you just got them, you'll have a record of it. Proving you kept up with regular maintenance can also help resale values.

5. You pay someone else to do the easy stuff. Yes, it's true, time is money. But you may be surprised just how little time it takes to replace an air filter or wiper blades. Auto parts stores sell them and staff members can usually answer any questions.

6. You're avoiding your insurance company. You keep putting it off and putting it off and putting it off when a 10 minute call to your insurance company could save you a substantial chunk of change on your monthly bill. Be a smart shopper.

7. The dealer changes your oil. Typically oil changes cost less at local shops or discount chains. Keep an eye out for coupons on The Bargainist.

8. You change your oil every 3,000 miles. Chances are your car doesn't need an oil change that often. Check your manual or keep an eye out for the oil-life monitor often found in newer cars. It lets you know when the oil needs to be changed.

9. You drive fast. Having a lead foot uses up more gasoline. By slowing down you can reduce the number of trips you make to the pump.

10. You don't do your research. It's probably not a great idea to drive way out of your normal route just for gas that's a few cents cheaper. But if you type your zip code in at GasBuddy.com, you can locate the cheapest gas in your area. By doing some research you can keep your car from guzzling up so much gas money.

By Alison Storm

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