How to save money on your car

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As a relatively recent car owner and also someone who lives in inner-city Melbourne, I have a love-hate relationship with my little 2007 Renault. I love zipping about on road trips and fitting furniture into its ludicrously capacious boot. I hate shelling out $600 for an entirely new windscreen after getting a crack the size of my thumbnail above the dash. I also hate paying for petrol. And traffic. Maybe it’s more hate than love.

Cars are incredibly expensive to run, but there are a few ways you can drive down your costs.Credit: Aresna Villanueva

Basically, what I’m saying is that love ’em or hate ’em, cars are expensive. This isn’t particularly new or original information, but it’s something I’m sure resonates with any car owners, and may serve as a warning to any prospective buyers.

What’s the problem?


According to the Australian Automobile Association, we spend a whopping $18,000 a year on our cars. The main chunk of this (about $8000) consists of car loan payments, as many people have to get finance to purchase a new vehicle. However, even if you own your car outright you’re still looking at some serious dough.

Fuel costs us about $5000 a year, and regular services and tyre repairs set us back $1600. You can also expect to spend as much as $1500 apiece on registration and insurance, not to mention more for things such as tolls and roadside assist.

To make matters worse, all of these costs come after you’ve already bought the vehicle, which will cost you about $26,000 for a small new car or $40,000 for a larger new car like an SUV. Used cars are cheaper, but thanks to a still-inflated used car market courtesy of the pandemic you can still expect to pay $15,000 to $20,000.

What you can do about it

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