Simple Tips To Cut Car Costs
To many Malaysians, a vehicle serves a practical purpose as much of our public transportation system needs improvements. However, they are not cheap to maintain.
Car loans, fuel cost, maintenance costs, etc., all contribute to one massive headache, especially in this economy. So here are a number of ways on how to lower your car ownership costs.
Do the research
If you are looking to buy a new car, always do your homework. If you have a few car models or brands in mind, go online and look at reviews or forums. See if you can identify any consistent problems or quirks with the car you are looking for that might result in hefty maintenance costs down the line. Look out for average fuel consumption or any issues with defective parts. These are things you don’t want to discover after you own the car.
Stick to the maintenance schedule
These days, buying a car often comes with a decently lengthy warranty period. This usually lasts around five years and will offer you free service and maintenance provided by the dealers. These are fantastic perks for any car owner. However, you should try to stick as close to the maintenance schedule as possible. In some cases, exceeding your maintenance schedule might cause your warranty to be voided.
Five years of free maintenance can save you a lot of money so try not to lose it. Most official warranty allows you to exceed 1000km or a month before your warranty gets voided, however it is important to check with your local dealer and read the fine print!
Take care of the little things
Sometimes, it is the little things that count. While it is not necessary to check up on every little thing your car does, giving it a regular look over can do wonders for it and reduce cost in the long run. For example, making sure your tyres are properly inflated can help to ensure better safety and less wear-and-tear. It can also help to decrease fuel consumption by a bit thanks to better responsiveness, not to mention also decreasing the risk of your tyres losing their grip on the road.
Take care with modifications
Adding a huge wing spoiler to your car may make it seem unique, but did you know that its shape causes more force to push down on your car, creating drag, and thus increasing fuel consumption?
The same generally goes for those bigger and fancier looking aftermarket wheels. Wheels tend to be among the first things car enthusiasts change when they get their car and most people think that since it is aftermarket, it must be better! Some go as far as to increasing the diameter of the wheel, increasing the unsprung weight and significantly raising the fuel consumption.
This is not to say that all modifications are bad. Certain aftermarket wheels are lighter and can improve car performance, but they can also get rather pricey. In addition to this, the Road Transport Department (JPJ) has some rather strict guidelines on car modifications that you have to adhere to. You can find their guidelines here.
Clear out the boot
Lets face it, sometimes we need to bring some large items in the boot for function, work, or recreation. But once we are done with it, we might get a little lazy and leave it in the car boot, telling ourselves that we can move it out later. Unfortunately, we receive more convenience in exchange for extra weight, and a heavier car means more fuel consumption, not to mention lower performance and more stress to the engine. It would be best to be diligent with clearing out unnecessary items from the boot to ensure the car is not being weighed down. If you have any extra modifications like roof or bicycle racks, then remove them when not in use.
Find a trusted mechanic
It is always better to find a good mechanic before you need one. Go around asking friends, acquaintances, or even online forums on where you can find a trustworthy mechanic. A good mechanic will charge you a reasonable price and will not dupe you into changing unnecessary stuff. You can try asking car enthusiast circles to see if they have any recommended mechanics as well.
Change your driving habits
Believe it or not, the way we drive our cars can also affect its fuel consumption. By avoiding hard accelerations and braking, you can save on fuel costs as well as prevent your brake pads from wearing out too quickly. Always remember to make gradual shifts in speed rather than sudden ones. Also, try not to go at excessive speeds if you can help it. The higher your speed, the more wind resistance you will face, resulting in more exertion on your engine to maintain speed. Avoid going into potholes, large potholes will potentially damage your tyres and wheels whereas small ones will cause your wheel to go out of alignment and increase your tyre wear. You can also turn off your engine while waiting for someone, as an idling engine also burns some fuel.
Buy a car you can afford
Owning a car can be a sense of pride and joy for you, but only if it is a car you can afford. Never by a car due to peer pressure, or just because you want it. It will only create a mountain of debts and expenses alongside other debts and loans. Buy a car that is within your means to fully enjoy the journey of car ownership. You can also consider buying a used car to help save some cash. However, you will need to do some homework to ensure you are getting a good deal on a used car, and to ensure you won’t be paying extra to get it into acceptable condition. If you need some help with buying a used car, we have an extensive guide on the topic which you can find here.