“You are poised to prosper in the year of the pig.” – says your Chinese zodiac reading from a Facebook post.  

You quickly jump to the career prospects section. It states a promise of a sound financial outlook and career furtherance. Even though you have always been a zodiac sign sceptic, you sense that all stars have finally aligned; your years of planning and efforts are about to come to fruition.

Over the past year, you have been able to pay your housing and car instalments timely; further adding to your sense of financial confidence as the Lunar year 2019 approaches.

There is, however, a recurring cost that could put a strain on your finances and interfere with your auspicious reading.

And that is the running cost of your car.

Parking fees, ERP, insurance, petrol, road tax and servicing are all recurring costs which can accumulate to quite a sizeable sum. Because these costs are never presented to us in a single statement, it can spiral out of control when left unmanaged.

As Benjamin Franklin once said: “Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship.”

But fret not, here are 7 car hacks to reduce your cost, ensuring a smooth sailing and prosperous 2019 ahead:

1) Driving Style & Fuel economy

Current prices for 95-Octane petrol runs at $2.22/liter. Most cars have a fuel tank capacity between 50L ~ 60L. This translates to a full tank top-up of about $90 to $110 after credit card discounts.

Depending on the frequency of your top-up, your fuel costs can accumulate to become a sizable annual expense. If you top up your fuel once-a-week, the annual fuel expense adds up to roughly $5,000!

Reduce Start-Stop

how to reduce cost of owning a car

“Slow down! Reduce your speed when you see red lights or slow traffic ahead! ”

A phrase we have all heard from nagging parents at some point.
While frustrating, they might have a point when it comes to fuel economy.   

Braking early allows time for slow traffic to ease and for the red lights to turn green. Therefore, you are not needlessly accelerating, increasing your fuel consumption, only for you to step hard on the brakes seconds later.

While fast and aggressive driving (high RPMs) might be exciting and could save you a few minutes between destinations, you are increasing your risk of getting speeding tickets and into accidents.

To make things worse, speeding and aggressive driving could ruin your fuel economy by as much as 40%!  With a once-a-week top-up, aggressive driving could cost you as much as $2,000 a year!

It’s never wise to speed and drive aggressively. Anticipating traffic, timing your brakes and driving less aggressively can save you a lot of money.

2) Tyre pressure

car hacks to reduce cost

According to a study done by the US Department of Energy, for every 1-psi (6.895 Kpa) drop in tyre pressure, it would result in a 0.4% reduction in fuel economy.

The ideal tyre pressure varies depending on your vehicle and tyre types. The recommended tyre pressure for your front and rear wheels are typically indicated in your user manual.

Lost your user manual? Don’t worry! You can find the specifications on a sticker located in the door jam.

Check your tyres often to ensure that your tyre pressure is optimal for performance and fuel economy.   

3) Monitor your AC and Fan speed

Generating fan speed and cooling air consumes a lot of fuel. Your car’s A/C system cools air by running air through the evaporator, which is cooled by the compressor.

A higher fan speed results in more airflow through the evaporator. With more airflow, the compressor is engaged for a longer time to maintain the same temperature. Since the compressor derives power from the engine, keeping the compressor engaged takes up more fuel.

Reducing your fan speed will cool your in-car temperature faster while reducing the workload of the compressor. As a result, your car’s fuel economy will drastically improve.

4) ERPs – How to be strategic about it.

With a total of 93 ERP gantries islandwide and being present on all expressways (except for the TPE and KJE), ERPs are expensive and unavoidable during peak hours.

Car Hacks to save money on ERP

The ERP charges are location and time-dependent. Therefore, it’s difficult to avoid since we have to get to a specific area within a scheduled time frame – meetings, work and appointments. However, we can be strategic about ERP by planning our routes and avoiding peak charges.

A) Avoid the $2.00 ~ $3.00 ERPs.

Most $3.00 ERP charges rest within a 30 minutes time frame. If you time your commute, it is reasonably easy to avoid these peak charges. While it may require you to set-off 15 to 20 minutes earlier or later, it will add to significant cost-savings in the long-run.

B) Plan your daily commute

Being lost in the CBD or Orchard area can be akin to a trip in a horror house.

When you make a wrong turn, it is scary to see an unexpected ERP gantry popping up, staring sinisterly at your ICU unit.

Knowing where the ERPs are and planning your route prevents these costly mistakes.

Make use of LTA’s route planner to minimise your ERP costs, leaving you with some nice change for that lovely ice-cream for desserts.

You can check the ERP rates here.

5) Servicing – Don’t follow the herd

car hacks to reduce car ownership costs

Ideally, we have to service our cars every 10,000 km or six months, whichever comes first. Each service typically sets us back between $200 to $400. This cost varies depending on your car and service choices.

Let’s explore the options:

A) Authorised car dealerships

Instinctively, many of us might choose to service our cars at authorised dealerships. Some due to the service packages that we have purchased, others for reasons of authenticity and safety.  

Servicing at authorised dealerships tend to be reliable and high in quality. However, they are more costly than the other options.

B) Consider independent workshops

The main fear of independent workshops is shoddy workmanship and unfair pricing.
Our sentiments towards independent workshops might have been affected by the occasional bad service experience by other car owners.  

Times are very different now. The risk of servicing your car at independent workshops have reduced; with increased price transparency and quality assurance. Reviews and prices are available online. With a quick check, you can find a service workshop with proven reviews and track record that fits your budget.

Know what you are paying for – be sure to check for what each service entails. That way, you can make a fair comparison among your options. You could potentially save a few hundred dollars each year.

C) Carro Care workshop

Seeking for transparent and trustworthy car service?

Carro offers high transparency in prices and only quotes you for the defects and service you require. Furthermore, the mechanics are experienced and trained in all car makes and models.

If you are not in the mood to experiment with different independent workshops but desire the service quality provided by authorised car dealers, you should explore this option.

Check out our detailed guide here.

6) Auto Insurance

Auto insurance generally gets cheaper with a clean record and less expensive as you accrue driving experience. Do check and compare rates to ensure that you are always getting the best deals.

Tired of making calls and go through all the back and forth with an auto insurance agent?

Genie offers a different customer experience through its hassle-free auto insurance and financing solutions. On top of getting quick auto insurance quotes, Genie has a 100% auto loan approval rate.

For more information, visit Genie here.

7) Try Free Parking for a change.

Cheap parking is great. But nothing beats free parking. If possible, plan your meet-ups close to locations with free parking. Check out these 19 hidden gems that offer free parking!

Keep a lookout for landed housing estates near your destinations. It’s common for these estates to have free parking spots. Be sure to respect the cones placed by the residents of the estate to avoid conflict and do not to park along double yellow and single continuous white lines to avoid a fine.

Try out these car hacks today and make your auspicious reading a reality!

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