The economy has affected many Americans and we’re all looking to save as much money as possible. Add in the cost of sky high gas prices and the cost of car ownership can get outrageously expensive. Here are a few tips to help you save big bucks.

Fuel Efficiency Factors

One of the easiest way to save money on car maintenance cost is to maximize your fuel efficiency. Try to buy a car that is as compact as possible since smaller cars weigh less and utilize less gas. The engine is also important to consider; four cylinder engines are a lot more efficient than six cylinders. Avoid eight cylinders unless you’ve got plenty of cash to spare. Keep in mind that air-conditioner use can also play a factor in gas consumption. Learn how to drive a stick shift since autos with manual transmissions are more efficient than automatic ones. Another option is to opt for a used hybrid like the Prius if it’s in your budget.

Maintenance Is Key

The key factor to reducing the overall cost of vehicle ownership is to have your car serviced and maintained on a regular basis. Regular maintenance does cost money but not nearly as much if you were faced with a major repair issue such as having the replace a blown out engine. Make sure to have oil changes and 30k, 60k and 90k service performed as suggested by the car owner’s manual.

Lower Car Expenses

Conduct Car Insurance Research

Car insurance costs are a part of your overall car expenses. You can decrease your costs by foregoing unnecessary coverage. For example, if you drive a 10 year old Kia Optima you probably won’t want to pay for comprehensive coverage since it may cost more to pay for the coverage than to buy a new one. Use the internet in order to comparison shop for prices. Make sure that your credit report is in order beforehand; a high FICO score may decrease your insurance costs. Order a copy of your credit report from the three reporting agencies and dispute any inaccuracies before applying for car insurance. Your monthly fees will also be a lower if you have few to none traffic tickets and have a short commute.

Buy Smart

One of the most affordable ways to buy a used car is through a private owner. You can generally find ads placed by third parties placed on sites such like Craigslist or your local newspaper. Personally I prefer Craigslist because it’s easy to browse plus most ads also contain large images of the car in question.  Another option is to purchase through a dealer that specializes in used vehicles such as Enterprise Car Sales.  Cars purchased through a dealer are generally more expensive but may come with a warranty for piece of mind.

Written by Jacqueline Star – Jacqueline is an author with an automotive background; she enjoys writing about cars and the autmotive industry.

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