Five in­sider tips for driv­ing down auto costs

Calgary Sun - - NEWS - L. Har­ri­son KELLY Postmedia Con­tent Works

Au­to­mo­biles are un­de­ni­ably in­dis­pens­able for many Al­ber­tans. They are also un­de­ni­ably ex­pen­sive. Fuel, main­te­nance, re­pairs, in­surance, and de­pre­ci­a­tion—not to men­tion the ac­tual pur­chase price—it all adds up to ve­hi­cle own­er­ship costs of thou­sands of dol­lars a year.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

“You can eas­ily save thou­sands by mak­ing smart choices,” says Misty Har­ris of the Al­berta Mo­tor As­so­ci­a­tion. AMA has helped Al­ber­tans reach their des­ti­na­tions safely and af­ford­ably for over 90 years.

Here are five tips to help keep ve­hi­cle costs down. 1 Buy as much car as you need— and no more A strate­gic ap­proach to ve­hi­cle se­lec­tion pays div­i­dends. “A large truck with a diesel en­gine doesn’t make sense for most daily com­mutes,” says Har­ris. Fuel is one of the lead­ing costs of own­ing a ve­hi­cle, and larger ma­chines gen­er­ally burn more gas. Sim­ply put: If you don’t need a large car, don’t buy one. 2 Keep an eye on your tires An­other way to max­i­mize fuel econ­omy is to make sure your tires are in good shape. That means watch­ing both their in­fla­tion and wear lev­els. Worn-down tires mean worse trac­tion and worse trac­tion means higher fuel costs. AMA rec­om­mends checking tire pres­sure at least once a month. 3 don’t for­get about your reg­is­tra­tion Make sure your reg­is­tra­tion is cur­rent – the fine for driv­ing with an ex­pired reg­is­tra­tion is $310. Avoid the stress by sign­ing up for AMA’s ve­hi­cle reg­is­tra­tion auto-re­new ser­vice. It re­mem­bers for you, pro­vid­ing you with the peace of mind that comes from know­ing your reg­is­tra­tion is cov­ered.

AMA pro­vides au­to­matic re­newal ser­vice to its mem­bers at no cost – sim­ply visit ama. ab.ca/au­to­matic to sign up. 4 make a habit of main­te­nance “You should be get­ting reg­u­lar car washes, lub­ing all hinges and latches, and checking the lights ev­ery two months,” says Har­ris. “All of th­ese things help re­tain the value of your car and cur­tail pricey re­pairs.” 5 drive de­fen­sively The costs of reg­u­lar main­te­nance pale in com­par­i­son with the bill for patch­ing up a ve­hi­cle af­ter a col­li­sion. Not all ac­ci­dents can be avoided, but a con­ser­va­tive ap­proach to driv­ing can pre­vent many col­li­sions. Safe driv­ing habits also cuts down on speed­ing tick­ets and other fines which can cost you twice—once for the ticket it­self and again if your in­surance be­comes more ex­pen­sive.

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You can eas­ily save thou­sands by mak­ing smart choices,” says Misty Har­ris of the Al­berta Mo­tor As­so­ci­a­tion. AMA has helped Al­ber­tans reach their des­ti­na­tions safely and af­ford­ably for over 90 years.

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