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How to save money on car-related costs.

Deidre Plotnick January 11, 2021
Young couple sitting on couch looking at finances with calculator, laptop and spreadsheet.

When the New Year draws near, many of us tend to make resolutions about living healthier or saving more money. If your resolution was about paying more attention to your health, head outside and embrace your inner child by building a snowman, sledding or strapping on some ice skates. If your resolution involved saving more money, a great place to start is with your car-related costs. With the average cost to maintain a car in Canada pegged at around $1400/year, there are many places car owners can look for potential savings:

  1. Do-it-yourself minor car repairs and maintenance.

  2. Watch for deals on car maintenance and essentials.

  3. Fix potential problems while still under warranty.

  4. Don’t waste gas.

  5. Pay attention to those warning lights.

  6. See how you can save on your auto insurance.

Do-it-yourself minor car repairs and maintenance.

Doing it yourself isn’t as hard as you think. Dig out your owner’s manual or visit the automotive department at a local store to find out what kind of oil, wiper blades or air filter your car needs. YouTube has all kinds of step-by-step tutorials on how to change wiper blades, oil and air filters listed by car model. If this feels too ambitious, you can start with filling up your own windshield washer fluid. Oh, and turn washing your car into a family activity instead of spending your money at the car wash!
Woman in ski suit filling up windshield fluid.

Watch for deals on car-related items and services.

You know you’re going to need windshield washer fluid for winter and summer, so when you come across a good sale, stock up. If your warrantees on parts or services have expired, watch for auto centre deals on oil changes, tire rotations, brake services and car maintenance. To find a car mechanic you can trust, check out CAA Approved Auto Repair Services; each of these facilities has met CAA’s stringent requirements and has been deemed trustworthy. Not only that, they offer savings and rewards to CAA Members. Can you start to feel those savings adding up?

Fix potential problems while still under warranty.

Brakes not responding as quickly as usual? Hearing odd sounds coming from the car? Bring your car in for service before the warranty expires to avoid repairs becoming more costly later on. Need a new car battery? Get a quote online and then have CAA’s mobile battery service come right to you. CAA Members save $25 on new CAA Premium batteries plus the installation is included, so there’s more cost savings right there. CAA Members also save 10% on NAPA Auto Parts, so it pays to check there for parts and accessories first. 
Mechanic wearing a mask standing in front of a car on a hoist.

Don’t waste gas.

The heavier your car is, the more gas it will take to move forward, and gas costs money. So, don’t weigh down your car unnecessarily. Empty that sport equipment you don’t use out of the trunk. Take the bike rack off when the season is over. And make sure your tires are properly inflated so you get the most performance for your gas money.  Don’t spend time idling and burning through gas, either. Every 10 minutes of idling in a car with a 3L tank burns through over 1 cup of wasted fuel, and that figure goes up to over 2 cups if you have a 5L engine. Natural Resources Canada advises turning down the air conditioning (once the weather heats up again), respecting speed limits and watching your braking and accelerating to save you on gas costs.
Man sitting in yellow car with boxes strapped on the roof.

Don’t ignore dashboard warning lights.

We’ve all done it: we’ve seen that flashing light on the dashboard and looked the other way. But cars have warning lights for a reason: these are telling you to get your car in to a licensed mechanic for repairs before something really costly goes wrong. So, do yourself a favour and find a local car repair shop as soon as you can.

See where you can save on your car insurance.

Contact your insurance provider to find out if there are ways for you to save on your auto insurance. CAA Insurance is now in its third round of offering auto insurance policyholders savings: when the pandemic first hit, all auto and home insurance policyholders received a 10% rate reduction to help offset reduced driving habits; auto policyholders received a $100 relief benefit payment in June; and all policyholders will have received a $50 relief benefit cheque in time for the holidays. CAA Insurance also offers CAA MyPace® pay-as-you-drive auto insurance payment program as a way for low mileage drivers to save. Does your current insurance provider offer you things like this? If not, get a complimentary quote from CAA Insurance to find out ways you could be saving.


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