With the cost of living rising, American households are in a precarious position, so here’s how to save some money on your car bills.
Over the past two years, everything has become more expensive. And while most consumers are aware that the global pandemic has caused unprecedented disruptions in the supply chains, they also expected an improvement during the post-epidemic reality. But instead of a welcome relief, costs have gone up even further. Inflation hit a 40-year-high in mid-2022. For instance, average prices for used cars were up 42.5 percent in September 2022 compared to February 2020. In essence, consumer goods prices skyrocketed, placing American households in a precarious position. Many families have fallen behind on their monthly bills, with 32 percents of Americans struggling to pay their expenses.
In this reality, consumers are looking into new strategies to avoid debt and maintain their financial stability. Millennials, for example, have moved back with their parents in record numbers.
“In 2020, millions of young Americans moved home to ride out the pandemic. While some moved out in 2021 as COVID restrictions eased, many have moved right back home again over the past year,” says Business Insider.
Other adults have turned to their parents for financial help. CNBC reports that 1 in 3 adults rely on their parents for financial support. This is not surprising if we consider that 63 percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. Other Americans have cut back on gift buying during the holidays, while others have postponed large purchases, like cars, homes, and furniture. So for all those who can’t afford a new car right now, these are our top tips to make your car last longer.
Never Ignore The Dashboard Warning Light
Some motorists pay close attention to every sound or alert that comes from their vehicles and act immediately. And then others, simply, put off repairs and maintenance. This occurs because they either lack the time to consult a mechanic or the funds to make the necessary repairs. But the same principle applies to your vehicle as it does to medical treatment and testing—never put off until tomorrow what you can accomplish today. This means that you should never disregard the dashboard warning lights because they always signal a malfunction or hazard. Ignoring them could lead to an unexpected car breakdown or, in extreme cases, they could even endanger your safety and life.
According to research commissioned by Jiffy Lube and conducted by OnePoll that looked at the diagnostic skills of 2,000 American drivers, 29 percent of respondents don’t pay attention to the check engine light for a month or longer before taking their car to the mechanic. Meanwhile, a different survey by UTire reveals that 91.8 percent of respondents acknowledged delaying a car maintenance activity longer than they should have. For instance, 31 percent of respondents ignored the oil change warning, 26.4 percent ignored the check-engine light, and 25.9 percent ignored issues with the brakes for a month or longer.
Don’t Ignore The Low Fuel Warning Light
Drivers also ignore the low fuel warning light and continue to drive with a low tank. This is a bad idea not only because drivers risk running out of gas, but also because they could damage the electric fuel pump and the engine.
“Your vehicle’s fuel pump uses the fuel in the gas tank to work as a coolant for the electric motor housed in the pump,” says Endurance Warranty. “By consistently driving with an empty gas tank, your fuel pump will be exposed to higher temperatures with no way of cooling down—resulting in premature damage caused by overheating and an upcoming automotive repair bill.”
Check Tire Pressure, Oil, Air Filters And Fluids
While driving, stay alert and try to void potholes as much as possible because they destroy your tires and suspension. Furthermore, you should check your tire pressure every month to ensure they aren’t under-inflated or if there isn’t some minor damage. Equally important, don’t forget about oil, air filters, and fluids.
“Little by little, your motor oil begins to burn off, shrinking the total amount of fluid in the system. If this oil isn’t replaced, then you run the risk of vital engine parts being exposed and open to heat damage and corrosion,” says Middletown Honda.
One final bit of advice: if you want to keep your car in great shape for a long time, drive smoothly and carefully.
“Avoid sudden starts and stops, and observe the speed limit. Erratic acceleration and quick braking uses more fuel than driving in a smoother fashion. Plus, the wind resistance caused by driving fast costs you money,” says Geico.
Sources: Forbes, J.P. Morgan, CNBC, Business Insider, Endurance Warranty, AutoInc, the New York Post, Geico, and Middletown Honda