Whether you’re a diehard car enthusiast and your wheels remain squeaky clean year-round, or you’re someone who views a vehicle as simply the most convenient mode of transportation and you can’t recall the last time you went to the car wash, everyone enjoys saving money. And when it comes to your car, there are plenty of ways to save money — and not just pennies!
While you might think you’re doing everything possible to save when it comes to your vehicle and your insurance, there are some tips and tricks you may not have heard before or considered fully. In this article, we outline four awesome car accessories that everyone should own. Why? Because they’ll help you save money in ways you hadn’t even thought of. If you’re looking to save, read on!
LED interior lightbulbs
The interior lights in your car aren’t that important, you may be thinking. However, if left on for extended periods of time, they can drain your battery in a matter of hours, which is not only a giant hassle but also damages the life of your battery long-term. Switching over to LED-based bulbs is a no brainer. Installing them is usually a short DIY project requiring little to no tools; there may even be a guide on how to install them in your owner’s manual.
Newer models tend to come with LED lightbulbs, so this tip only applies to you if your car is on the older side. If you leave the lights on for a minute or two, then reach out and touch them, “you can tell if you have the old-school incandescents” because the lamps will feel warm, according to Kiplinger.
License plate frame
Chances are, you probably don’t care about the state of your license plate. But this trick isn’t about your license plate; it’s actually about minimizing damage in the unfortunate case of a mild rear-end accident. Many license plate frames are designed to act as a bumper for your bumper; they’re made out of foam, rubber, or another soft material.
Thus, if your car bumps into the back of someone else’s (say, in bumper-to-bumper traffic), they’ll ensure you avoid puncturing the back of the other car, which can result in a total loss for the other driver or at the very least a large settlement, as bumpers are so expensive to replace. In many cases, you’ll do no damage at all, which can save you hundreds to thousands of dollars on your car insurance premium.
“Yeah right,” you may be thinking, “like I have time to wax my car.” But here’s the thing: polishing your car with an inexpensive polymer sealant once a year only takes an hour, approximately.
That’s not much time to sacrifice in the name of protecting your car’s exterior, possibly saving you big bucks when you want to trade-in your car for an upgrade.
All you’ll need is that one bottle of polymer sealant, some rags, and an hour once a year — and you’ll avoid all of the aesthetic damage that dealerships specifically look for when tallying up how much your car is worth. Maybe it’s time to rethink putting in a little effort in your car now so you can reap the benefits later.
Every new car — ones built since 2007 — has a Tire Pressure Monitoring System automatically installed in them. As our friends at Kiplinger quip, “These do what the name says: monitor that your tires have air pressure.”
But there’s a catch. The light that comes on in your dashboard area to warn you that your tire pressure is low won’t come on until your tire is more than 25% lower than the recommended pressure. That borders in dangerously low territory; you could experience a blowout on the highway.
And even if you don’t have a major incident, under-inflated tires reduce your gas mileage by roughly 0.2% per pound. On top of all those risks, tires without enough air wear more quickly and wear unevenly, reducing the life of the tires.
Buying a $10 hand-held tire gauge is a simple fix that will allow you to avoid all of these costly and unwanted problems. Use your gauge to check your tire pressure at least once a month to maximize your safety and your savings.