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Welcome to AutoSavingsNut.com,™ a site dedicated to providing money saving advice,
tips and ideas on how to be frugal, save money on all your automotive expenses and
reduce your monthly budget to live more cheaply. Advice and tips on buying new cars,
buying and selling used vehicles, vehicle financing, car repairs and maintenance,
fuel economy, auto insurance and even how to save money renting a car. Start reducing
your automotive costs by reviewing the tips presented below. For hundreds more tips,
advice and savings, click on the navigation buttons on the left. Tell your friends
and family about AutoSavingsNut.com so they can start saving too, and feel free to
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Buying New Cars - The purchase of a vehicle, particularly a new vehicle, is a major
economic decision for most households. The first step in buying a new vehicle that
meets the household’s needs is deciding what major vehicle characteristics are most
important, and making a list of those characteristics in their order of importance.
Be sure to bring the list with you when you are looking at vehicles, so that you
do not “fall in love” with a model that does not meet your needs, or costs more than
you need to spend to meet your needs.
While any make or model vehicle could end up being a “lemon,” some vehicle makes
and models really are more reliable than others. And even if reliability is expected
to be the same, some makes and models cost more for both routine maintenance and
needed repairs than others. Because hybrids have fewer components that require
regular maintenance, some auto service providers believe that hybrids may actually
cost less to maintain versus a conventional drive train. Over time this may or may
not turn out to be true, but remember specialized hybrid components will require
hybrid-trained auto technicians to complete repairs. For the foreseeable future,
these technicians will probably be more expensive and harder to locate. Also, while
hybrid batteries are designed to last several years and may even last the life of
a vehicle, if they do need to be replaced the cost can range from $3,000 to $5,000.
Buying & Selling Used Cars - Check the vehicle’s history including previous owners,
flood, fire and accident damage, mileage, whether the engine or transmission has
been rebuilt or a salvage title was ever issued for the vehicle. Ask if the odometer
has ever been turned back. Consider getting a vehicle history report from CarFax.com
or Experian.com/automotive to help check the vehicle’s history. Going to the National
Insurance Crime Bureau web site (NICB.org) can help you determine if a vehicle was
stolen and never recovered, or was damaged in a storm, etc.
Vehicle Financing- If you plan on financing or leasing your vehicle, research what
financing deals (including interest rate, duration, down payment and other costs)
are available from sources other than the dealer, such as your credit union and bank,
or even over the Internet, and get pre-approved. Remember, just because the dealer’s
monthly lease payment or finance payment is smaller than what you found elsewhere,
does not mean it is cheaper. You need to compare interest rates and the number of
monthly payments that are required, as well as the amount of any down payment and
fees required. The primary objective in negotiating financing is to lower your overall
cost of financing, not just achieve the lowest monthly payment. And if the dealer
offers you a choice between cash back versus a lower interest rate on financing check
the “Cash Back vs. Low Interest Calculator” at Cars.com.
Car Repairs & Maintenance - When purchasing tires, make sure you get at least a few
quotes from tire stores, and that these quotes include all costs to you. And do not
be afraid to ask for a better price. Most tire stores will negotiate, and most stores
also have tires on sale. Make sure you look on the Internet for some great prices,
and don’t forget to get prices at discount stores like Costco and Walmart. Finally,
resist the urge to buy road hazard insurance. While anything is possible, the types
of hazards this covers are unlikely to happen.
Fuel Economy - Make sure you use the grade of gasoline recommended by your owner’s
manual. Higher octane gas is more expensive, and does not provide enough increase
in gas mileage to offset the increased cost. You can also experiment with a lower
grade of gasoline than recommended by your owner’s manual. If your engine does not
make a knocking, pinging or rattling noise the lower grade may work well with your
Take advantage of electronic toll devices like E-Z Pass that will save you money
and time by not having to stop, wait and idle, and start when paying tolls. Many
passes also offer discounts of as much as 50% on some tolls.
Automobile Insurance - Collision coverage pays for damages to your vehicle caused
by a collision or rollover regardless of who caused the accident. It is important
to remember that the cost to repair your vehicle will be covered, less any deductible,
only up to the fair market value of the vehicle. So, if the cost to repair your
vehicle is 80% or more of the fair market value of the vehicle, the insurance company
will usually claim the vehicle for salvage, and pay you the fair market value of
the vehicle, less your deductible, resulting in you having a check and no vehicle.
Comprehensive coverage pays for damage to your vehicle resulting from any accident
other than collision (or rollover), such as theft, fire, vandalism, flooding and
hail. This coverage is also not generally required by regulation. While you may
have a different deductible for comprehensive coverage than you do for collision
coverage, the cost to repair your vehicle (or replace your vehicle) will be handled
as described above under collision coverage. A lot of insurance companies are now
providing comprehensive coverage for any type of automobile, from car to boat. Companies
such as 21st Century have all auto insurance options available so it's easy to get good coverage for any of your vehicles.
Rental Cars - Do not limit your search only to rental car companies that do business
at the airport. Most of the time, rates at airports are higher than local rates,
do to both the perceived “convenience” factor, and because airports usually charge
rental companies very high surcharges, which are passed on to you. Sometimes rates
can be 25% or more higher. If you are staying at a hotel not at the airport, chances
are they have free shuttle transportation available from the airport, or the cost
of a shuttle/taxi will be minimal. Since, at many airports, you have to get on a
shuttle to get your car in any case, the convenience is not much different. Once
you are in town, you can pick up your rental car at a local location not connected
to the airport, and perhaps save a considerable amount of money on the rate, and
even reduce the number of days you need to rent the vehicle. When your trip is completed,
you just return the vehicle to where you picked it up and get the shuttle/taxi back
to the airport.
Thanks for visiting AutoSavingsNut.com™ and we hope the ideas and tips for saving
money on all your vehicle needs and expenses will make life just a little bit better
for you and your family.
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