During the winter, driving a car can be the most convenient and practical way to get around. However, it can also be the most expensive. USA Today reports that the costs of operating and maintaining a car have risen to over $900 a month, leading owners to struggle to keep up.
Despite this, commuting is often out of the question as winter quickly approaches because the threat of snowstorms and blizzards adds even more difficulty to the situation. A vehicle within your reach can help you run your day-to-day errands without delay. Car costs undoubtedly add up during the colder months, like all other culprits for overspending, like buying Christmas presents and going out more, as listed in our '10 Tips to Shop Smarter and Safer This Holiday Season' post.
Fortunately, there are ways you reduce car expenses this winter, and we'll discuss four of them today:
1. Invest in a digital tire pressure gauge
Checking your tire pressure is an essential precautionary measure you need to take before driving your car. This is especially important in winter because low temperatures often mean low tire pressure.
Low tire pressure can cost you money as it lessens fuel economy and expedites tire wear. If your tires do not have the proper pressure, your car has to work harder and use more fuel. Eventually, they will also start to wear unevenly, and you'd have to replace them much earlier than their recommended lifespan.
Fortunately, a digital tire pressure gauge makes it easy to keep the pressure in check. Make it a habit to check your car's tire pressure first thing in the morning to know if you'd have to top up some air into your tires before you start driving.
2. Practice smart driving habits
Practicing safe driving keeps your records pristine and lowers your insurance fees. Winter can accelerate the number of accidents on the road, and even the most minor mishaps to your car can cost money to repair.
The US Federal Highway Administration emphasizes that winter weather significantly contributes to road incidents, with an average of 116,800 injuries in vehicle crashes on snowy, slushy, or icy pavement annually.
Because of this, it's always a good idea to reduce your speed, drive moderately, and use your gas and brake pedals mindfully. Reducing staccato driving habits by employing defensive driving will allow you to avoid unnecessary incidents and unexpected expenses during the holiday season.
3. Pay your insurance premiums in full
Car insurance is the best financial protection for unforeseen or unexpected events and accidents. Car owners pay for insurance through premiums, and these premiums can cause a hefty amount in the long run.'
Most insurance premiums are due biannually or annually, and the payment date often falls during the winter season (end or start of the year) for several people. Even though insurance companies give owners the option to pay monthly, Sound Dollar reports how paying insurance premiums in full can help you get a discounted rate.
Some insurers can slash up to 10% off their rates by paying for your car insurance in one lump sum. This discount also called a pay-in-full discount, is an easy way to save money and allocate the resulting windfall for the holiday season.
4. Be mindful of your fuel economy
Fuel prices remain high, and there is no assurance that they will tape down as the winter season inches close. Cold weather makes it more difficult for your engine to reach its most fuel-efficient temperature and increases fuel costs.
By being mindful of your fuel economy through fuel-saving habits, you can cut costs on this expense. Some common and effective recommendations include turning off your engine while sitting stationary and having an efficient clutch control.
Drive less with a cold engine by combining trips, and avoid using seat warmers or defrosters more than necessary.
Wise and cautious car owners know how to avoid expensive car repairs and high insurance bills. By taking note of your fuel economy, driving habits, and car-related expenses, you can get through the winter safely and securely without unnecessary spending.
Have your own tips to reduce car expenses this winter? We would love to hear them. Share them below.