Anyone who’s ever owned a car – particularly one that’s been "pre-loved" – knows what an awful sink of time and money a motor vehicle can be. No single purchase, short of buying a home, will consume more of your resources over its operational life.
It’s important to make sure you are getting the best mileage out of your car – literally and figuratively. With that in mind, start with the biggest cost of a vehicle – gas.
The easiest way to save gas is to buy a more efficient car, but if you’re already rolling in a ’73 Chevelle, that’s not really an option. However, no matter what kind of car you drive, taking it easy on the throttle and the brakes will save gallons a year. There’s no need to get a Grand Prix start if the next red light is 100 yards away.
In addition, high-octane gas is a waste unless you have a high-boost, high-performance engine. Chances are, your cylinders won’t "knock" on the basic stuff.
Learning how to change your own oil, air filter and other basic parts can save you a lot of money as well, though oil in particular requires a decent amount of time and space.
Similarly, monitor and fix your tire pressure – tires are expensive, and keeping them at the optimum pressure reduces wear and tear while improving mileage.
Finally, take a couple of nice spring and summer days to wash and wax your own car – it’s relaxing and you save yourself some cash. Plus, odds are you’ll do a better job than the carwash.