It costs an average of $9,282 a year to own and operate a new vehicle, according to AAA. But you can easily slash that expense with the right tools.
In fact, you might be surprised at how much money you can save if you take a step back and use some of the latest websites, apps and other tools that specialize in cutting car costs.
Whether you’re looking to buy a car or you just want to reduce the overall cost of using your current car, the following tools can help you make the most of your money.
1. Find cheaper car insurance
The Zebra is a free insurance search engine that takes the work out of shopping around for a better car insurance rate.
It enables you to compare quotes from more than 200 auto insurers side by side, so you can easily determine which policy best suits your needs. You can then buy coverage online or through one of The Zebra’s licensed agents. (The Zebra also has licensed insurance brokers on site just to help customers make sense of their options and cut through any confusion.)
Either way, you stand to see savings on your car insurance.
To use The Zebra search engine to obtain free quotes, visit the website and enter your ZIP code and answer some basic questions. The website also offers information on the best car insurance by state and vehicle. (Your information will not be sold to third parties, and you won’t get calls as a result of your search.)
Gabi is another free tool that takes the work out of shopping around for better car insurance.
To get started, visit Gabi’s website and submit your current insurance policy. You can link to your policy online or send a PDF. Then, Gabi will shop around for the best auto insurance coverage, giving you up to 20 quotes. The process takes less than 2 minutes.
Once you’ve chosen the best quote for you, you can buy it via Gabi’s website without having to fill out additional forms. This is possible because the Gabi Personal Insurance Agency, the company behind the Gabi tool, is a licensed insurance agent.
Gabi finds savings for 7 in 10 customers, and those customers save an average of $720, according to the company.
To learn about Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson’s experience with Gabi, check out “How I Found $546 in Car Insurance Savings in Under 10 Minutes.”
2. Check Edmunds.com for savings
Edmunds has long been known for its car reviews and research. However, you can also shop for — and snag savings on — a car via the company’s website.
For example, Edmund’s Price Promise tool can spare you from having to haggle with car salespeople. Here’s how the company explains it:
“[S]elect the make and model of the new car you’re interested in, and enter your ZIP code. Price Promise cars will display a special offer box. Submit your name, phone number and email address to instantly see the special price. There’s no waiting around to hear back from someone at the dealership.”
Now, Money Talks News advises against buying brand-new cars, but if you are going to ignore our advice, you should at least take a moment to check for savings. That’s easy to do via the Edmund’s New Car Incentives and Rebates webpage. Just select a vehicle to find out if incentives or rebates are currently available in your area for any new vehicles that you are considering buying.
3. Download the GasBuddy app
Want to fill up the tank for less? The free GasBuddy app can tell you which gas stations in your area have the cheapest gas at any given time.
Not only can you save money on gas, but you can also earn free gas by joining the app’s rewards program, called “GasBack.”
Basically, you can earn up to 10% of a qualifying purchase or a lump sum like $10 in rewards. Then, you can automatically redeem these rewards in the form of free gas by paying with your “Pay with GasBuddy” card at the pump. The card, which is free, also saves you 5 cents on every gallon of gas.
4. Refinance your auto loan
Many of us end up buying cars with loans. Sometimes, though, the interest rate on the initial loan isn’t the best deal.
One way to reduce your interest rate is to refinance your auto loan.
One of our partners, LendingClub, can help you use the power of peer-to-peer lending to snag a lower interest rate.
Reducing your interest rate could result in savings of hundreds — or even thousands — of dollars over the life of your auto loan. In fact, LendingClub boasts that the average customer saves more than $3,000 by refinancing their auto loan.
Here’s how the company says the process works:
- Check your rate: After you tell us a little about yourself and your vehicle, you’ll instantly receive multiple auto refinancing offers, if you qualify.
- Confirm your details: Select the offer you like best and complete our easy online application. In some cases, we may ask you to send additional documents or details about yourself or your car.
- Drive off with savings: If your loan is approved, we’ll take care of paying off your previous lender. That’s it — your auto refinance is complete!
To try it out, visit Lending Club’s auto refinance page and select your state.
5. Switch to pay-per-mile insurance from Metromile
Don’t drive your car much? One way to cut the cost of owning a car that doesn’t get driven all that much is to pay for insurance by the mile. Metromile is an auto insurance company that specializes in offering pay-per-mile coverage.
With Metromile, you pay a low rate for base coverage, which ensures your car is covered even when it’s parked. The base rate is as low as $29. The rest of your bill is based on how much you actually drive.
So, if your car is only driven occasionally, or if you don’t drive very far to work, you won’t have to pay for a more expensive policy. It’s like only paying for the insurance you actually use.
To get a free quote from Metromile, visit its website and enter your ZIP code and answer some basic questions.
Just note that Metromile currently offers per-mile insurance only in the following states:
- New Jersey
6. List your car with Turo
Turo is a car-sharing marketplace — think Airbnb for vehicles. When you’re not using your car, you can rent it out to others by listing it on Turo’s website, where people interested in renting a car in your area can see when your car is available.
While this won’t directly lower your car costs, using your car to bring in extra income will effectively help offset your ongoing auto expenses.