5 ways to save on car costs

U.S. & World

(CNN) – For most of us, having a car is a necessity, one that is not only a major purchase, but one that can keep draining your bank account throughout its lifetime.

Insurance, gas, oil changes and repairs are just some of the many car costs that can drain your wallet, but there are ways to keep your car’s demands at a minimum.

One tip: Take a defensive driving course. Safe and careful drivers are cheaper to insure.

According to AARP, taking a driver’s ed class could save you up to $200 annually with your insurance company.

Another idea from AARP: Use cruise control. It can reduce highway fuel usage by 7 percent.

Depending on how you drive and how far, you could save as much as $70 per year.

Tip three: Be smart about gas. Gassing up likely eats up much of your car budget. So, find the cheapest prices in your area by downloading apps like Gas Buddy or Waze.

And several grocery stores or credit cards offer loyalty points that can be used at gas stations.

Tip four: Keep your tires properly inflated. The EPA says driving with properly inflated tires can improve your gas mileage up to 3 percent.

And the final tip: Take good care of your car.

That means keeping up with regular oil changes, air filter replacements and even something as simple as new wiper blades can keep those engines revving longer.

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