Vehicle expenses can take a big bite out of your budget. According to a AAA report, the average annual total cost of owning and operating a new vehicle in 2018 was $8,849. Fortunately, you may be able to save money by reducing three costs.
Depreciation: The loss of a vehicle's value over time was the largest expense associated with buying a vehicle, according to the AAA report. Depreciation accounts for almost 40% of the cost of owning a new vehicle — on average, $3,289. Some cars hold their value better than others, so it's important to consider resale value before you buy. Because depreciation lessens over time, buying a used vehicle or keeping a vehicle longer can help minimize the impact of depreciation.
Insurance: The average annual cost of full-coverage auto insurance was $1,189. Premiums are based on many factors, including the vehicle make and model, and your location. Some vehicles may cost substantially more to insure because they are statistically more likely to be damaged in a crash, stolen, or have high repair costs. So when you're in the market for a vehicle, find out how much the insurance will cost before you sign the paperwork.
You can often save money on your insurance premium if you're willing to accept a higher deductible. You may also want to review your policy annually with your insurer to make sure you're receiving all the discounts for which you are eligible, and have only the coverage you need.
Maintenance and repairs: With an average annual cost of $1,231, maintaining and repairing your vehicle is a big line item expense in your budget. So before you buy or lease a vehicle, talk to a trusted mechanic who is familiar with the cost of parts and general repair issues for the makes and models you're considering, or look for reliability statistics online. Get written estimates before you have any repairs completed, and shop around. Hourly labor rates and parts costs may vary widely. And keep up with regular maintenance. It can pay off in the long term, not only by preventing costly repairs but by potentially increasing your vehicle's resale value.
Source: AAA Your Driving Costs, 2018 Edition. Average costs are based on driving 15,000 miles annually.
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