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7 clever ways to cut down on your car expenses

Image: Getty

Australia is the richest country on earth when it comes to capita per person – but our lifestyle costs are sky-high.

In fact, the amount an average Aussie metro household spends on transport rose $736 in the last 12 months, bringing the annual sum to a whopping $18,221.

“Cars are one of the biggest expenses we have, and when you look at all the outgoings like registration, fuel, insurance, tolls and depreciations, they quickly become a huge financial burden,” said car sharing platform Car Next Door co-founder Will Davies.

Here’s how you can cut back on your car costs:

1. Save your fuel

If you own your own car, you’re spending $71.50 on average on fuel per week – or $3,700 a year. You can burn less fuel by maintaining your car’s tyre pressure, which can increase fuel mileage by up to three per cent. And if your car’s a bit of a mess, clear the clutter – lightening the load means your fuel tank won’t drain out as quickly.

2. Buy your tyres online

As with anything else, you’ll likely see lower prices and great deals by buying your tyres or car accessories online. Just be sure to to do your research and purchase from a reputable dealer.

3. Buy an older vehicle

As a depreciating asset, your shiny new car will quickly lose its value. Its value will drop by 20 per cent in the first year you own it, and after ten years will only be worth ten per cent of its original value. If you’re not fussed about how you get from A to B, consider a well-maintained stylish older or second hand car instead.

4. Shop around for insurance deals

You’re certainly not locked into the insurance deal you have now. If you’re not a reckless driver and you haven’t made any claims, you could increase your excess which would lower your premiums. And if you don’t drive much anyway, find a company that offers a drive-less-pay-less policy.

5. Pay your car loan off ASAP

How can you maximise your repayments to reduce the extra outlay that comes with a long loan? Go over your finances and see if you have any wiggle room to keep more of your money in your pocket.

6. Don’t ignore small issues

Stop putting off fixing small maintenance problems while they’re small. The last thing you want is for a small problem to rear its ugly head later on, costing you both time and money to repair. Things to look out for in your next maintenance check are the air filters and oil levels to ensure your engine runs smoothly. Carry out any small repairs yourself, if you can.

7. Rent out your car by the hour

If your car is sitting in your garage accumulating dust more often than not, dip your toes into the share economy by renting it through car sharing platforms when you’re not using it. Savvy car owners are supplementing their income this way and making between $3,500 and $10,00 a year. This way, your car can more or less pay for itself.

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