Your Car

Your car is one of the most important and expensive things to maintain.  Here are some things you can do to save money:

Insurance

Compare insurance providers: get at least 5 quotes from different companies, even some weird ones.  After hearing about it from a coworker, I now use Farm Bureau – incredibly cheap and comprehensive insurance marketed towards agricultural clients. I now get a newsletter with discounts on tractors and feed, but I pay less than $90 per month for excellent coverage for my car, so whatever.

Be a defensive driver: if you take the 6-hour online class, you can save around 10% on your insurance for up to 3 years.  Many of the classes are terrible, but I took an online comedy defensive driving class (narrated by a cartoon Christopher Walken), and it was not so bad. Don’t forget to look for a coupon before you register!

Bundle your services:  combining your renters insurance with your car insurance might save you some money.

Ask for discounts: your fraternity membership, employer, credit card or professional organization might entitle you to a discount. Check out your organization’s website or ask your insurance company – I save another 10% on my renters insurance because I was in Delta Sigma Pi in college.

Maintenance

The best thing to do is to find a local garage (yay supporting small businesses) and have them do everything from oil changes to major repairs.  That relationship, continued business, and business that you bring in through word of mouth will generally make it so you won’t get taken for a ride as much as you normally would.

Ask for a price match.  There are 4 Hyundai dealerships near me, and I bookmarked each of their websites.  Under the “Specials” tab, there are usually coupons that I can use at the service center.  If I need to have something done to my car, I will go to the most convenient dealer and ask them to match the price of the other dealer.  One place offers a 10% “Ladies Day” discount on Thursdays, but I ask for the discount whenever I go in and they have never said no.

Beware of where you go.  I went to Just Brakes a few years ago for their $99 deal, and found out that almost no one actually walks out of there paying $99.  They wanted almost $400 (which I stupidly paid) and when I went back to get the pads and shoes replaced (which is free under their lifetime warranty) they tried to charge me another $400 for something. When they were done with the inspection, they tightened my bolts too tight and one of them snapped on my way to a second opinion.  I was speaking to a coworker about this, and it turned out that he actually restored cards – he looked at my brakes and confirmed that the pads needed to be replaced but that there was nothing wrong with my rotors.  Just Brakes is pretty much a scam.  Lesson learned.

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