Are you looking on how to save money on your car expenses this winter?
Owning a vehicle is a year-round expense, but it could seem particularly costly in the winter if you’re already feeling the holiday squeeze to your budget. With the right information though, you’ll be able to save some money on your car expenses so you have more to spend on gifts and getaways during these cold months.
Install Winter Tires
Okay, you’re thinking, “but wait – that costs me money!” And, yes, you will need to spend some cash on a set of winter tires. The upside, though, is that you’ll be safer in cold temperatures and snowy conditions. In cold weather, your regular tires harden and lose their tread, making them less safe on ice and snow. With winter tires, you have increased traction and shorter stopping distances – both of which could prevent a costly accident. Your winter tires should last you between six to 10 seasons and could help extend the life of your regular tires, so consider them an investment. With a little bit of research, you can even learn how to install your tires yourself to save some money. If you need more convincing, remember that depending on where you live, installing winter tires on your vehicle could qualify you for a discount on your car insurance, saving up to 5 percent on your premium.
Don’t Idle Your Car
If you’re spending more than one minute idling your car in the winter to “warm it up,” you’re wasting money. According to an expert from the Alberta Motor Association, this is the case for cars made after 1980 that have fuel injection technology versus traditional carburetors – so even if you consider your car a beater, this rule likely still holds true for your vehicle. Extended time idling your car is burning through fuel, costing you at the pump, and worse is causing wear on your engine components. But just how much is it costing you? Natural Resources Canada reports that ten minutes of idling uses up to half a litre of fuel, and idling your vehicle for 10 seconds actually uses more gas than simply restarting your car.
Keep it Clean
Here’s another situation where you’ll want to spend a little money to save more money: regular car washes. Salt on the roads is supposed to keep you safe, but when it clings to your vehicle, it doesn’t just look ugly, it’s also bad for your car. On your car’s exterior, it causes rust and corrosion, which decreases the value of your car and compromises the integrity and safety of the body of your car. To top it off, it can eat away at brake and fuel lines and your car’s suspension.
One expert suggests getting your car washed as often as once every 10 days if there is a prolonged period of salt on the road. If you feel like braving the elements, wash your car yourself, making sure you get both the exterior and the underbody. A coat of wax could also offer an extra layer of protection. Whatever you pay in maintenance will be far less than the costly repairs that could result from neglect.
Winter months pose an extra threat to drivers; snow and ice create unsafe road conditions and earlier sunsets mean more time driving in the dark. Winter time is also a time of holiday celebrations, which mean more people are getting behind the wheel after a few drinks. Neglecting your safety can cost you in more ways than one.
Getting in an accident could result in costly repairs and/or an increase in your car insurance premium. In Ontario, you could be fined up to $110 if you’re caught driving without clearing off your windshield.
To keep safe, make sure that you’re giving yourself extra time to get to your destination, that your car is road-worthy when you’re pulling out of the driveway, you’re leaving extra space between you and your fellow drivers, and you’re arranging an alternative way home if you’re planning on drinking.
Enjoy this winter without the headache of spending more than you need to on gas, repairs and tickets. With the money you save, you can reward yourself with that gift that Santa forgot to bring you.
Author: Vanessa To
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