Frugal Automobile Tips
Buying a Car
There are several things you can do to increase your chances of buying a good
Always ask to see receipts from maintenance and repairs done on a car if you are
buying it from the owner. If they don't have them, beware. It is also a red flag
if they don't meet you at
Always run the VIN number of any vehicle you are thinking of purchasing to see
if it has been in an accident. If you are buying from a dealer, your best shot
is to take the car to a mechanic and have it thoroughly inspected.
Buying a fleet vehicle, or rental car is usually safe, as these cars have been
As far as price, always check out prices in the Kelly Blue Book, but realize
that these books can be difficult to figure out, and the prices are often
Color can be an emotional decision when buying a car. You
might want to weight other factors. Red cars usually have a higher resale
value. Black and dark cars are the hardest to keep clean, and light
colored cars are the safest. Silver is considered the safest car color,
and is also the easiest to keep clean.
If you are checking out Dealers for a used car, try an upscale
neighborhood. People with more money trade their cars in more often, and
you can often find cars in better condition and with lower mileage.
You will use a lot less gas if you
don't fun the air-conditioner in your car while driving. If possible, run your
errands in the morning before the worst heat of the day.
Schedule appointments for visits to the doctor and
dentist at times of the day when you face less traffic, and will start and stop
less in traffic. If you can do it, schedule appointments with medical
professionals so that you will be the first visit of the day or after lunch.
Also, you won't lose so much time in the waiting room if they are running
A fan belt that is put too tightly on an engine will cause
the engine to work harder and burn more gas. Check your vehicle when the
engine is off and cool. Make sure that when you press against the belt
there is a little give.
If you plan to put your car in idle for more than 30 seconds,
it is cheaper to turn it off. Less time than that, you will use more gas
restarting the engine. Please note: This tip is only for when you are not in
traffic and off the road, like in a parking lot.
Always read the owners manual that comes with your car. If
you buy a used car, without a manual, send for the manual, or order it from the
library. Write down the recommended maintenance, as well as other important
information such as the type of gasoline to use for your engine. Use the lowest
octane possible to save the most money. Have the proper maintenance done on your
automobile and it will last longer.
Starting Your Car
When you turn your car on, there is no need to
warm it up for more than one minute. Any longer than one minute, and you are
just wasting gas.
Declining Car Insurance
have an older car, you may not want to carry collision and comprehensive
insurance on your car. If your car is not worth $1,500, you may be better off
pocketing the money you'll save on the premium and putting it in an emergency
savings account. Essentially, you will be self-insured. Then, if you don't need
it for your automobile, you will get to keep it. You can also think about doing
this if you are a good driver, and don't have a lot of exposure for accidents.
Regardless of the how your car is running, when you are ready
to sell it, how the interior looks is going to have a big effect on the selling
price. The carpet in your vehicle is like a high traffic area in your home.
Unfortunately, you can't put in hard wood flooring. However, it is very easy lay
down a carpet sample or carpet remnant. Take the time to protect your
automobile, and your investment.
Buy the best quality car battery you can afford. It will
serve you longer, and give you more peace of mind. Keep your battery clean by
pouring club soda on it. It you are trying to "push" an old battery that needs
recharging, be sure and back your car into your driveway so that it will be
conveniently placed if you need a jump start.
Do you groan every time your car goes in the shop for
repairs? Do you wonder if they are over charging you on repairs. There are
honest repair shops. Find one before you need one. Ask around. Reputations are
earned. If you ask enough people, you will find the ones who do good work at a
When it is time to replace the tires on your car, here is one
things you can do to try and save money. Check around and see if you can find
some "slightly used" tires that fit your car. Some people decide to upgrade
their tires just to improve the appear of their vehicles. In some cases, their
tires are barely used. If you can locate their old tires, you will save a lot of
money. If you have the money, invest in quality, high mileage tires. They cost a
bit more, but will give you twice the mileage.
Wax Your Car
In addition to regular maintenance, be sure to wax your
car twice a year, and keep it in a garage, if possible. We kept two cars for 15
years, and they still looked good. A car is a major expense. Purchase one that
you know is made well and will last, and then do what it takes to keep it nice
so you won't be embarrassed to drive it and want to replace it. You will save
not hundreds, but thousands of dollars over the years.
Window Washing Fluid
If you don't know how to maintain the window
washing fluid in your car yourself, get out the manual. Buy it at a
discount store like Walmart, and save the cost of having it done for you.
If you have an older car that needs a part, be sure to ask
if they can locate one that is reconditioned. Salvage yards store working parts
retrieved from cars that have been totaled. A good auto repair shop will be able
to locate these parts which can save you a considerable amount of money.
Vandalism and Theft
Protecting Your Vehicle
Car theft and vandalism seem to
be on the rise. If you think you are at risk, think about investing in a
Commercial Car Club to put across the steering wheel. Also, try and always park
in an area with good lighting. At home, it may be worth keeping your porch light
on all night. When you shop at the store, park in the front, not in the back or
on the sides of shopping centers. Car theft alarms are good, but be prepared for
others to ignore them.
If you get an oil stain on your driveway, remove it as
soon as possible. For a quick fix, try spreading some kitty litter on the
spot to see if it will absorb the stain. For tougher stains, try this:
1 cup laundry detergent
Start by soaking the oil stain with mineral spirits. Let it sit for 3
minutes and then scrub it with a stiff bristled brush. After scrubbing, lay some
newspaper on top of the stain and let it dry. Then finish by washing the stain
with the following solution:
1 cup bleach
1 gallon water.
We all know that sickening feel when we hear a siren behind us
and realize we are driving too fast. Tickets are expensive. Don't let
yourself speed, no matter how late you are. If you do get a ticket, show up in
court. If you have any kind of excuse, they will often reduce the fine.