« back to Personal Finances

Putting the brakes on high auto expenses

January 18, 2010

From regular maintenance check-ups to high gas prices, owning a vehicle can be an expensive proposition. But saving money on your auto expenses doesn’t have to mean trading your vehicle for a public transportation. Rather, by taking some simple cost-cutting measures, you can steer yourself towards auto-related savings. Here are 10 helpful tips:


  1. Save on fuel. Buying the highest octane fuel you can find isn’t going to turn your four-door sedan into a six-figure sports car. The fact of the matter is, unless the manufacturer requires it, higher octane fuel won’t make your car run any smoother. So pass on premium gas and stick with regular.


  1. Comparison shop. Your dealer may inundate you with special offers for oil changes and tire rotations but independent shops almost always provide better deals. Make sure you shop around before handing over your car for an expensive tune-up.


  1. Don’t be cash poor. If you’re in the market for a new car, consider a Scotia Plan loan. In many cases, fully secured loans can be arranged for up to $100,000 and loan terms can vary from one to five years, with amortizations up to eight years.


  1. Go small. These days, there are plenty of compact cars on the market that offer excellent mileage, reliable performance and convenient features – all for a reasonable price. What’s more, smaller models often carry cheaper insurance rates.


  1. Keep a maintenance schedule. Your car’s engine may purr like a kitten but don’t be surprised if it strikes unexpectedly. A poorly tuned car consumes 33% more gasoline each year than a well-tuned one. What’s more, the cost of a tune-up is always cheaper than unforeseen repairs. So change your oil regularly and check your tire pressure for under-inflation. Transmission fluid, spark plugs, air filter – they can also have an impact on fuel efficiency.


  1. Compare insurance rates. If you’re unhappy with your current insurance rates, don’t be afraid to shop around, especially if you have a flawless driving record. Some insurance companies offer rates for professionals or association members. And combining your auto and homeowner’s insurance under one policy may also qualify you for greater savings.


  1. Collect points with plastic. Apply for a Scotiabank reward credit card such as the Scotiabank MAGNA™ MasterCard® or the Scotiabank / AAdvantage® MasterCard. Scotiabank reward credit cards allow you to collect points or miles on all your everyday purchases. These rewards can be redeemed for goods and services including groceries, dining out, even air travel or a cruise.


  1. One-stop shopping. Rather than making multiple trips back and forth around town, conserve gas – and cut your carbon emissions – by combining several errands into one longer outing.


  1. Drive smart. Speeding doesn’t only affect your vehicle’s fuel consumption, it can also result in some unwelcome speeding tickets. So obey the rules of the road – and save money.


Driving a car doesn’t have to be a costly necessity. By following a few simple rules, you can stay behind the wheel and save yourself some money.



® MasterCard is a registered trademark of MasterCard International Inc.
™ MAGNA card, MAGNA Rewards and MAGNA Rewards Voucher are registered
trademarks of MAGNA Rewards Inc.