By Mariam Khawer
Expectation: you drive away in your Mercedes with kick-ass music playing in the background.
Reality: you’re swimming (nearly drowning) in a pile of maintenance bills for the second-hand car that you had to save up for 12 months to actually buy.
Being a car owner is undoubtedly an expensive feat. It’s definitely not an ideal situation to be in if you can’t spend a huge sum of money on the maintenance. However, there are ways to maintain your car ownership without spending excessively. Self-help, amongst others, is a true winner since it helps you slash down costs quickly.
Besides washing your own car, there are a few more things you can do to keep your car costs in check at the end of each month:
1. Switch It Up
If you do have easy access to public transport transportation, you can save a lot of money otherwise spent on petrol, parking tickets, car maintenance and travel of the expense by going public.
You will spare undeniably more in case you’re ready to completely forego purchasing or owning a vehicle. As a brownie point, you will also be do your share with contributing to the betterment of the environment. Rideshare services like Uber and Careem also make it quite easy for students to live vehicle free in most urban areas.
2. Get Together
In case you don’t have easy access to public transport, carpooling is a great alternative to lower your transport costs. If you’re still saving up for your first car, talking up a few people within your community or network to carpool together should be your go-to option to save on your daily commute. If you divide your monthly car expenses amongst your group of friends it’ll drive down your overall expenditure by a significant amount.
Washing your car yourself will not only save you money but also provide an opportunity for an easy and free workout. Cleaning your car can burn up to 135 calories in half an hour — woot, woot! A workout that’s so much more easier on your bills and your legs instead of a 30-minute walk on the treadmill. Add in a few calves raises to reach the roof or a few squats to get to the tires, and, you’ll get in a quick leg workout while making your car sparkle.
4. Don’t Over-Tan
Going out may help your daily dose of Vitamin D but your car doesn’t need as much tanning as you might. Exposing your car to the sun can cause permanent damage to its exterior in terms of the paint and shine, as well as the dashboard and even the tires. Excessive sun exposure will lend your car vulnerable to damage and early depreciation, causing you to incur unnecessary repair costs.
5. Get Handy
Just like you don’t pay a visit to the hospital for every little bruise or a cold, you don’t need to consult a professional for every minor car repair. Small scratches, flat tires or fixing minor issues can be dealt with at home. It might sound seem daunting and yes, you will require some mechanical expertise. However, there is a wealth of information available on the internet. Or you could ask an expert, like your dad, sibling or a friend to give you a crash course in basic car maintenance. Not only will this make you considerably more self-reliant but it’ll also save you some cash.
6. Get Good at Driving
Ideally you should always try to be careful while driving, regardless of whether you’re on a budget or not.
Rash or careless driving can lead to devastating accidents or at the very least incurring unnecessary speeding fines. Driving carefully can help in preventing such situations and ensure you don’t spend on your car any more than you have to.
7. Stick to the Rules
It’s a busy day and you’re minutes away from being late to work or a very important lecture. To make matters worse there are no empty parking spaces in sight. It is very tempting in this situation to make shift a parking spot and leave your car where it doesn’t belong. Or you know your trip to the baqala will only take you 5 minutes so you don’t see the need to get a parking ticket for the full hour. Chances are you’ll come back to see the dreaded fine slip dangling from your windshield. Trust me I’ve been there. The guy who said “better safe than sorry” knew what he was talking about. Be a few minutes late to class and spare those extra few dirhams for parking. It’ll ultimately save you from spending on a hefty fine.
8. Stop Idling
If you’re waiting in a parked car make sure to always turn off your engine. According to Argonne National Laboratory’s research idly running your engine can use a quarter to a half-gallon of fuel per hour. In contrast, restarting your car only utilizes around 10 seconds worth of fuel. Although that means bearing with the heat with the air conditioning turned off, your wallet will thank you for it.
These are the some of the most convenient techniques to drive down your car costs. Start following these today and you will see your car bills going down in no time.
This article is part of the bite-size bundle ‘Slashing Bills’ on the Finllect app. Find the Finllect app on Appstore today! 💁