10 Ways to Save on Your Vehicle

Buying – and running – a car is expensive, but it doesn’t have to leave you eating instant ramen for the next few years. While there are a lot of expenses that come with owning a car, like gas and insurance, there are also ways to shave down on these costs. Here are my top ten vehicle money-saving tips:

White convertible in parking lot overlooking view with dog in passenger seat. vehicle money-saving tips

    1. Save on gas

    It goes without saying that you shouldn’t drive like you’re in a “Fast and Furious” movie, right? Aggressively braking and accelerating really does eat into your gas. If you’re stuck in traffic often, something as simple as turning off your engine while you wait, or trying to drive less by using public transportation a few times per week, can save you a ton of money (and time!) in the long run.

    2. Make use of the apps out there

    There are a number of apps out there that tell you the prices of all the gas stations near you – use them to your advantage! GasBuddy is one of the most well-known apps, which uses crowdsourced data. Others include Gas Guru and Dash. Dash also tracks things like your fuel efficiency, too!

    Other apps like Repair P , Car Minder and the Metromile smart driving app can help keep your car in tip top shape. Repair Pal offers free estimates on car repairs and can help you find a local repair shop. Car Minder makes car maintenance easy with service reminders; the app also logs all service and repairs. Metromile’s smart driving app tracks your trip data, offers street sweeping alerts in select cities and can function as a vehicle health decoder – meaning no more pesky trips to the mechanic just to be told your tire pressure was low.

    3. Take up a side hustle

    Who can say no to a little bit of extra money coming in on the side? Side hustles are becoming popular, and for good reason. It can be anything from tutoring students, freelancing on sites like upwork or TaskRabbit, or even renting out a spare bedroom through sites like VRBO or AirBnB. If animals are more your thing, sites like Rover and Wag let you sign up to walk or watch fluffy companions for some extra cash. Putting that money toward your car will take a serious load off.

    4. Opt for pay-per-mile insurance

    Expensive insurance is a complete waste if you only use your car for short drives. Select a policy that is suited to how you use your car for huge money savings. Metromile, for example, caters perfectly to low-mileage drivers with pay-per-mile coverage that saves drivers an average of $500 per year!

    5. Rotate your tires

    Did you know that rotating your tires will make them last longer? A new tire is going to set you back around $80 – minimum – and that’s not even looking at the other three you’ll need! You want them to last as long as possible, right? Right.

    Front tires tend to wear down faster than back ones, and sometimes one side will be worse than the other. All you need to do is switch them around to even out the wear. Your owner’s manual should have the recommended tire rotation schedule, but it’s generally around 5,000 miles. You can do it yourself to really save money, or add it on during a service.

    6. See what repairs you can do yourself

    Thanks to YouTube, we now have millions of handy videos at our fingertips. Why not give being handy a try? Repairs like changing the battery, brake pads, windshield wipers, or replacing a headlight can be done by yourself. If you’re like me, it’s easier seeing it done in an instructional video than trying to decipher the written word. The Mechanic OC updates his page weekly and offers how-to’s for everything from replacing cracked spark plugs to checking wheel bearings. Forum sites like Reddit and Quora can also be great resources for expert level advice.

    7. When buying a car, don’t go for the cheapest one

    In the same way that buying cheap clothing means poor quality, buying a low-priced car isn’t always a good option. In the long run, you’ll end up paying more in repairs and may have to replace it after a shorter amount of time. A good quality car should last you at least six years (but hopefully more!).

    8. Think hard about new or used

    A study we conducted found that when you use an auto loan to buy a used car, you may save only $500 in interest when compared to buying new. This means that, in the long run, buying new may actually stretch your dollar further. Before making any decisions, weigh out the pros and cons of a new car or a used car for you. Everyone’s situation is unique so be sure to make the best financial choice for your wallet.

    9. Carpool when you can

    Sharing the driving with just one other person ultimately leads to savings. Do you have a colleague that lives close to you? A friend from school? Easy – carpool! Not only can you share gas, but you’ll save on the general wear and tear your car goes through. It’ll also reduce the mileage on your car.

    10. Keep up the maintenance!

    When your car is running fine, it can be hard to see the need for regular check-ups. However, skipping an oil change or ignoring that minor issue that could’ve been easily solved in one of these tune-ups could end up costing you a whole lot more down the road! Shop around to find a mechanic that won’t put you too much out of pocket.

Jennifer McDermott is the Consumer Advocate at personal finance comparison website finder.com. She has more than 12 years’ experience under her belt, where she’s analyzed consumer trends in the finance, lifestyle and travel industries. Jennifer loves to uncover interesting insights and issues to help people make better decisions with their money.

How to Prepare for a Roadside Emergency

It is a typical day. You are driving down Interstate 5 on your way back from work one evening when suddenly, something feels off. The steering wheel feels funny between your hands and the car begins to vibrate in a strange fashion. You find a safe location to pull over on the side of the road, only to realize your tire is going flat. What do you do?

Flat tires and other roadside mishaps aren’t all that uncommon, but preparing before you ever get behind the wheel can help alleviate the stress and potential dangers of a roadside emergency. The first step to help ensure your safety and get back on the road quickly is to secure a 24/7 roadside assistance program, like the one offered by Metromile that helps when you’re locked out, have a flat tire, or need a tow.

In addition, assembling a roadside emergency kit to keep in your car at all times means that you have the right tools at your fingertips to stay safe and get back on the road sooner, rather than later.

Here is a list of what you will need to prepare your own roadside emergency kit:

  • Jumper Cables – When your car doesn’t start a dead battery is likely the cause and a jumpstart can get you back on the road quickly. Make sure you know the steps to jump-starting a vehicle for safe operation of the equipment.
  • Triangle Reflectors – Safety is of the utmost importance and triangle reflectors help to warn other drivers of your presence on the side of the road in the instance of a breakdown. These warning triangles are collapsible, reducing the amount of space they take up in your car.
  • Spare Tire or Repair Kit – It is important to know if your car comes with a spare tire or a tire repair kit. If your car still has a spare tire, you should check that it is also stocked with a jack and lug wrench, which are necessary to install the spare. Make sure you know where your spare tire or repair kit is located by checking the owner’s manual.
  • Flashlight – A breakdown or other car emergency can occur at any time of the day or night. When it’s dark, a flashlight is crucial to being able to perform any work on your car. Make sure the flashlight has working batteries and even stock an extra pair for safe measure.
  • Tool Kit – The toolkit should include screwdrivers, pliers, and an adjustable wrench. These are all useful in fixing a roadside problem.
  • Ice Scraper – Depending on where you live, this may or may not be necessary, but if you live in a colder climate, it’s a good idea to keep an ice scraper in your vehicle to make sure you have a clear view of your surroundings from inside the car.

Take some time to educate yourself before encountering an actual roadside emergency. Gather supplies and read up on tasks and easy fixes, such as how to change a flat tire, to be better prepared. With proper planning and organization, a roadside assistance program (like Metromile’s optional roadside assistance add-on), an emergency kit will leave you with peace of mind. Learn more about Metromile’s Pay-Per-Mile insurance offering here.

This was a guest blog post contributed by National Dispatch. We rely on our cars daily for our transportation needs. However, in some cases, such as residential moves, corporate moves, and extended vacations, auto shipping is a better solution. National Dispatch is a nationwide auto transport company. Check out more information here: https://www.nationaldispatch.com

How Metromile Gave My Convertible a “Car-Lift”

Sergio S. is a fellow car lover and fiercely loyal Metromile customer for almost two years. He’s had a great experience and wanted to share his story.

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I was tired of overpaying for my insurance and was ready for a change. When I got a free quote from Metromile, I was amazed to find that I could pay $90 a month instead of $300 like I was initially paying. I’m also able to have lower deductibles for the first time, and can afford my insurance every month. My brother has also been overpaying for insurance for a long time and when he was able to see my incredible savings he also decided to join. It feels great being able to refer my family and friends to join Metromile.

Besides the excellent customer service every time I call in, my favorite part of Metromile is the smart driving app. Being that I am a car person, I love being able to check the health of my car. I appreciate that the DTC codes of my car get sent to my email and phone when something is going on with my car. It makes me feel like someone else cares about my safety and the workability of my vehicle. It’s also so easy being able to budget for my $90 bill every month — the app shows me where I stand during the billing cycle so I can be prepared.

My father and I have our own business in Virginia. We run a used car dealership and it has been great being able to put my savings into our business. I have finally been able to repair my car, something I have been putting off. I am excited to drive more in my convertible this summer without worrying about the mileage. I will enjoy my newly repaired car with the roof off in the nice weather thanks to Metromile!

How Much Does a Long Commute Cost You?

The following is an infographic and  guest post from Anastasia Ivanov, a freelance writer and graphic designer for InvestmentZen with a penchant for flipping houses.

Have you ever paused for a moment to consider how much your car commute to work might be costing you? If you haven’t, the figures you are about to encounter will make your head spin.

Not only are long car commutes to work financially costly, they take so many hours that by the end of a 30-year career, you’ll have effectively spent several full months staring at other people’s tail lights.

For instance, if your commute averages 26 minutes, you spend 9 full days of your life on the road annually. That’s a steep price to pay just to get to work.

How about the financial impact? When it’s all said and done, car commutes can easily cost the average person up to a million dollars cumulatively over the course of a 30-year career in lost time and earnings. Considering how easily those lost earnings could accelerate your early retirement, you definitely want to take into account how far away you live from the office.

Moreover, when you consider the health and environmental impact that comes with a long commute such as the increased pollution from emissions along with increased stress levels and the risk of developing high blood pressure, you’ll better understand why Metromile is so passionate about rewarding people who spend less time in their cars.

Metromile’s pay-per-mile insurance is not only the most practical policy, it’s also one of the few policies available that reward you for your sound lifestyle choices.

To see more details about how expensive a long commute can be, just take a look at the infographic below by InvestmentZen. (more…)

Why I’m a Loyal Metromile Customer

Robert C. is a fiercely loyal customer and has been a part of the Metromile family since September of 2015. Here is a review of his Metromile experience so far.

Metromile_review

I was attracted to Metromile because the company has a different way of thinking. They truly care about their customers and pay attention to their needs. I appreciate when I call in and I feel the Customer Experience team listens and hears me. They are not in a hurry to get off the phone like my old company!

I like that their smart driving app allows me the check on where my vehicle is currently parked. I was recently at a mall and couldn’t remember where we left the Jeep and the app helped me find it. Overall, the app helps me drive smarter. I can decode my car’s check engine lights, and also see how much fuel costs. I have the ability to look and see if I could do anything better.

With pay-per-mile insurance, I have been saving $1,000 a year. I put my extra savings toward paying off my truck payments and also put a little bit more toward other bills I have. The best part was taking my wife out to an awesome dinner at a fancy restaurant.

Editor’s note: We always love hearing from happy customers like Robert! If this Metromile review has sparked your interest in pay-per-mile insurance, try getting a quick quote to see how much you could save.

How to Check Your Oil

The following is a guest post from YourMechanic, which delivers mobile car repair by certified mechanics in over 700 U.S. cities. Their top-rated technicians can perform over 600 services at your home or office for up to 30% less than shops and dealers.

Oil is necessary in keeping an engine running smoothly and efficiently. It keeps the many moving components in an engine lubricated, reduces wear and tear and helps dissipate the heat created during combustion. Without oil, with too little of it or with oil that hasn’t been changed in a long time, an engine can be severely damaged. This guide covers the basics of engine oil, as well as how to check it to ensure it’s in good shape to keep your engine running.

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Engine Oil Basics

There are several types of oil on the market. Oil is available in different “weights,” or viscosities, which is indicated on the oil container. There are also conventional and synthetic oils, which differ based on a particular engine’s use and performance. Generally speaking, for normal around-town and commuting driving, conventional oil is best, while for more demanding driving, such as hauling loads or high-performance driving, a synthetic blend is required. Check your owner’s manual to determine what type of oil your engine needs.

Oil circulates through your engine through a closed-loop system. It’s stored in the oil pan, which holds between four and six quarts depending on the car. When the engine is started, the oil pump sucks oil from the pan through the pickup tube, then through the oil filter, which cleans it on its way to the engine. It then flows through channels in the engine block, lubricating the necessary components before heading back to the oil pan to begin the cycle again.

It’s a good idea to make a habit of regularly checking your engine oil to make sure it’s topped off and that it isn’t contaminated. We suggest checking your oil level every time you fill up the gas tank, but don’t check it less than once a month.

Checking Your Oil

Checking and adding oil is a simple process that can be done quickly and without tools.

Step 1: Make sure the engine is cool. Never check the oil while the engine is hot. It’s best to check the oil after the engine hasn’t run in a few hours, as this allows the oil to settle back to the oil pan. If this isn’t an option, let the car cool down for at least 10 minutes. Check the oil when the car is parked on a flat surface so the oil is evenly distributed in the pan.

Step 2: Open the hood and prop it up so you can easily access the engine. (more…)

Demystifying Your Car Insurance Policy

The following is a guest blog from Neil Richardson, an advisor for The Zebra, the nation’s largest car insurance comparison marketplace.

When you are purchasing car insurance, you’re sure to come across many documents containing all sorts of information. No, they’re not actually written in Greek, but sometimes it may seem they are. Do you need to do anything with these pages? Which documents are important? Will you need to print any of them? We’re here to clear up the details of your car policy contract and let you know which documents are most important.

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We’ll start with the most commonly recognized document in your policy packet which is your insurance ID card. This is your legal, state-required* proof of insurance document and it’s normally what you show a police officer if you happen to be pulled over. Each insurance company’s ID card looks slightly different and may vary in certain details but they all contain:

  • Name of the insurance company
  • Policy period (start and end date of your coverage)
  • Policy number
  • Policy holder’s name
  • Vehicle(s) covered on the policy

*Currently all states allow their residents to use digital proof of insurance except Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Virginia, and Washington D.C.

Another document in your policy packet is the declarations page. You’ll want to hold onto this and store it as a record of your coverage. This document is essentially the invoice of your policy and contains several crucial pieces of information: (more…)

Comprehensive & Collision Coverage 101

The following guest post is written by Neil Richardson, an advisor for The Zebra, which is the nation’s largest car insurance comparison marketplace. An insurance nerd through and through, Neil has helped tens of thousands of customers understand and secure auto insurance with his expertise and unique knack for translating complex industry jargon into plain English.

When you are insuring a valuable asset like your vehicle, you want to be aware of the ins and outs of your policy before you give your payment information, not at a crucial time like a claim. “Full coverage” is often used as a blanket statement to describe an insurance policy with comprehensive and collision coverage, but it isn’t that simple. Understanding your coverage before something happens will help you avoid a potentially disastrous outcome like being stranded on the road because you thought your “full coverage” policy provided roadside assistance or medical coverage when it may not.

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So, What Is “Comprehensive and Collision” Anyway?

Physical damage coverage, which is the part of your auto policy that covers your vehicle, is described as “comprehensive and collision.” Technically, they are two separate types of coverage, though they are often coupled, and they extend beyond state minimum liability insurance requirements (which cover the other driver in a collision).

When you finance a vehicle, you are required to carry both comprehensive and collision coverage, and this is normally when you will be told that you need a “full coverage” policy. Lenders require this coverage in addition to the state minimum because it will cover your vehicle against damage due to accidents (collision coverage) and many scenarios other than accidents (comprehensive coverage), which is important to those lenders since you don’t yet own the car outright.

Comprehensive coverage is a catch-all for incidents that aren’t considered “accidents” like hail, flooding, or vandalism damage. When getting an insurance quote, you will need to choose a deductible amount. If you are financing your vehicle, then you will want to confirm what deductible option you are required to carry based on your loan paperwork. The option you select is the amount that you agree to cover (read: pay) if you have to file a claim. Once your deductible has been paid, then the insurance company will fix the remaining amount of damage.

The Art of Selecting Your Deductible

Most people who have comprehensive and collision on their policy will carry $500 deductibles, but there are many other deductible options which typically range from $250-$1,000. The total cost of an insurance policy is often largely dependent on the deductible selected. The lower the deductible, the more expensive the policy, but also the less you will have to pay if something happens to your car. Most agents will let you know what the difference in premium looks like among the options so you can decide which one makes the most sense for your situation.

Did you know that a number of insurance companies (including Metromile) also allow you to select individual deductible options for comprehensive and collision? Generally speaking, collision coverage is much more expensive than comprehensive, so you may consider having a $500 deductible for collision but select a $250 option for comprehensive and only see a slight difference in your premium. The important thing to keep in mind is that you have options. Editor’s note: If you are considering switching to Metromile, our licensed agents are happy to help determine the best coverage and deductibles for your needs!