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Effective Ways to Trim Car Costs

Good news to all car owners in Indianapolis: you live in the 5th cheapest state to own a car according to Bankrate.com. In the Hoosier State, almost all car costs are lower—insurance premiums, operating expenses, taxes and fees, as well as repair costs. Here’s better news: if you are an Indianapolis motorist, you can further reduce your car ownership expenses. How do you do it? Consider the suggestions below:

1. Insurance

Reevaluate what you need in terms of insurance. Every year or every other year, you should take the time to sit down and reevaluate your auto insurance needs. It is possible you are paying for more coverage than you need. If you own an older car, you should do without comprehensive and collision coverage. According to Consumer Reports, such coverage should be dropped if the annual insurance premium is 10 percent or more of the vehicle’s book value.

Shop around. If you have shopped around for auto loan rates, you should do the same for auto insurance. Once you have reassessed your needs, shop for new rates. You can save a fortune by comparison shopping auto insurance providers. You could get what you need for much less with a different insurer.

Increase your deductible. Pay less insurance by agreeing to pay more upfront. Raise the amount you are willing to spend before the insurer takes over so you can significantly reduce your insurance premiums.

2. Fuel

Consume less. Even if you didn’t buy a fuel-efficient car, there are many ways you can reduce your fuel consumption. Start by checking your tires and making sure they are properly inflated; you will spend more gas with underinflated or overinflated tires. You can also save gas by taking unnecessary weight off the car, combining trips and not idling. Driving carefully also works—aggressive driving will lead to more frequent trips to the gas station.

3. Maintenance

Do it yourself. Rather than let someone at the shop do basic upkeep tasks for a fee, do it yourself. Leave the more complicated duties to experts but assume those that are more manageable, including the checking of tire pressure and fluid levels. Discovering how to change your oil will save you a considerable amount in maintenance costs.

4. Add-Ons

Don’t buy accessories and aftermarket products from the dealer. Automakers offer a wide selection of options and accessories for new vehicles, and dealers sell these at marked up prices. If you need any of the aftermarket products being offered, such as sound systems and alarms, you should buy them elsewhere. You can save as much as 50 percent by shopping at a place other than the dealership.

Tips For Car Buyers

If you don’t own a car right now but is planning to buy one in the near future, here are two tips that can help you slash costs from the very beginning:

Opt for a car you can afford. You can save a lot of money by buying a vehicle that you can truly afford. Keep this in mind: all your car expenses (i.e. car payments, insurance, gas, maintenance) must not exceed 20 percent of your take-home pay. Therefore, before you buy a car, create a budget and see how much money you can spare for auto expenses. Make a decision based on that amount.

Choose pre-owned. Depreciation is actually the biggest expense for all car owners. However, it is most expensive for new-car owners, as a vehicle can lose as much as 18 percent of its value in the first year. In order not to waste money on depreciation, buy pre-owned. Since the previous owner shouldered most of the depreciation, your losses are significantly reduced.

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