A person gassing up, adding to their vehicle operation costs.

Save Money On Vehicle Costs

The cost of vehicle ownership can be very high. For most people, it comes second only to their rent or mortgage payment. A big chunk of the cost of ownership is operating expenses, but fortunately, they can be reduced. Take a look at a few ways that you can cut your vehicle operating expenses.

Cutting Your Vehicle Operating Expenses

Sick of spending all of your money on your vehicle? Here are some simple ways to save on your car or truck operating costs.

Fuel Costs

You have to get from point A to point B, but most people can cut their fuel costs by 10 percent or more by just following a few tips.

Download An App

First, you should download a fuel saver app. These apps will tell you where you can get the cheapest fuel when it is time to fill up. Prices can vary considerably from pump to pump and you could find that using one of these apps can save you 10 to 20 cents per gallon. On an average 15 gallon fill up, that can be a savings of up to $3.

Sure, $3 is a small amount of money and it might seem trivial, but the savings add up over time. If you are filling up once a week, that is over $150 in the course of a year. Well worth the time it takes to download a free app.

Stop Buying Premium Fuel

People have this misguided notion that buying premium fuel is better for their vehicle or will get them better mileage. For the most part, this is not true.

If your owner’s manual says to use premium, do so, otherwise just stick to regular fuel. You will save money immediately and you will actually get better mileage on regular fuel.

Here is how premium fuel works. Premium fuel has a higher octane rating. The higher the rating, the harder it is to burn. This is great for high performance engines to prevent knocking, but with a normal engine, it will result in incomplete fuel burn and less miles per gallon.

Keep Your Vehicle Maintained

Everybody knows that you should keep your vehicle maintained to improve your fuel economy, so there is no point into going into too much detail here.

One thing that is worth mentioning however is tire pressure. Keeping your tires properly inflated is crucial. If your tire pressure is too low, more of the tire will contact the road, which creates more dray and lowers your fuel economy. Keep your tire in the upper range of the recommended tire pressure.

Maintenance Costs

Speaking of maintenance, let’s look at how to save money on those pesky maintenance costs.

Oil Changes

If you can do it yourself, great, it is an easy way too cut your oil changes in half. Just remember to dispose of your oil properly and for free. Most auto parts stores will take it for no charge.

No matter if you do it yourself or pay someone though, spring for synthetic oil. Not only will it allow your engine to run cooler, but it will also doesn’t break down as fast. You may be able to go twice as long between oil changes when you switch to a synthetic.


When it comes time to have your vehicle repaired, you should find a well reviewed independent mechanic. You want to try to avoid the dealership at all cost. Unless your vehicle is under warranty, an independent will almost always save you money.

Be sure to take advantage of free maintenance as well. Auto parts stores offer a lot of free services that your mechanic would love to charge you for. Things like windshield wiper replacement, battery testing and replacement and even reading (and clearing) check engine lights.

Auto Insurance Costs

Auto insurance is incredibly easy to save money on, but you have to be willing to make a switch.

Remember that first rate you received for auto insurance with your current company? It was probably considerably less than what you are paying right now. This is because insurers like to offer their best rates and deductions for new clients. Once they have you signed up, you can expect your premium to do nothing but increase.

Take advantage of new client bonuses by switching insurance companies. Get at least 3 different offers and you should see significant savings. It is not unusual for families with multiple cars to see annual savings approaching 1000 dollars by switching insurers.

Tire Costs

When was the last time that you actually got the mileage out of your tires? Most people never do because they do not take care of their tires, which is just like throwing money away. Here is how you can make your tires with a 40,000 mile guarantee actually last 40,000 miles.

Rotate Your Tires

Your tires should be rotated every 6,000 miles. This spreads out the wear, so that the tread is used up evenly. If you do only one thing, rotate your tires.

Check Tire Pressure

Most cars these days come with tire pressure monitors, but they only give you a range. Check your tires manually from time to time in order to keep your tires running flat down the road.

Buy Smaller Wheels

This won’t help your tires last any longer, but it will make them cheaper to purchase. The bigger your wheel, the more expensive your tires will be. Those 20 inch rims might look nice, but a set of tires for 18 inch rims may cost 300 bucks less.

Drive Less

One last way to save money on vehicle operating expenses is to simply drive less. If you have recently become a remote worker, this is easier than ever, but keep going.

Try to take every opportunity to not drive your vehicle. If you have an errand around the corner, walk or bike there. If you can share a ride with someone, carpool.

Every mile that you do not put on your vehicle is a miles less wear, less gas and less maintenance. It can all add up to big savings in the end.

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James Car is a finance, loan and budget expert based in the United States. After attending Brookhaven college, he went on to become a successful entrepreneur. He now enjoys writing articles that help people save and make the most of their money.