It’s no secret that cars are expensive to run. From the initial purchase price to the ongoing running costs of insurance, fuel and maintenance, it isn’t easy to keep a car on the road. Not to mention the unexpected breakdowns and costly fixes often coming as a surprise.
The good news is that new technologies have provided us with a whole slew of different ways to manage our car expenses, and a few examples are explained below. It might be a good idea to give each of them a try and to see what works for you.
Managing car expenses more efficiently
Telematics devices are like little black boxes that you fit to your car and whichmonitor the way in which you use your vehicle. While this might sound a bit Orwellian in the beginning, such a telematics device can actually be a good thing because it allows insurers to get a more realistic picture of how likely you are to have an accident. As long as you’re a safe driver, this will carry across in the metrics and you’ll be charged a lower premium.
Blockchain isn’t necessarily consumer-facing, but it does go under the bonnet of some of the most innovative insurance providers and car dealerships of the 21st century.
The idea is to create a decentralised database that can be accessed equally by different companies, opening up the sharing of data and allowing insurers and other providers to provide better premiums. It could also be used to store detailed histories on vehicles so that you can get a better idea of what you’re buying.
3. Machine learning
Machine learning is a relative of artificial intelligence in which an algorithm is able to “learn” by processing huge amounts of data. For example, it’s used by Netflix to power its recommendations, mining huge amounts of data and identifying what other, similar users have enjoyed.
Again, insurers could use this to improve the accuracy of their algorithms, but it’s also used by route-planning apps and other tools to help you to keep journeys as short and efficient as possible.
4. Smartphone apps
There are plenty of smartphone apps out there which are designed to help you to better manage your vehicle’s expenses, and they can save you a ton of money over time. Some apps to consider include Repair Pal (for vehicle maintenance), Gas Buddy (to find the cheapest fuel in town), aCar (to monitor mileage and more over time) and Fuelly (a bit like a combination between GasBuddy and aCar).
Carrying out proactive maintenance (and perhaps tracking it in one of the apps that we talked about) can save you money over time by maintaining the value of your car and stopping more serious problems from happening.
It’s better to spend $100 now than $1,000 down the line, so be sure to find yourself a reputable mechanic, preferably one who doesn’t charge you an arm and a leg. And be always on the lookout for new technologies which are constantly improved to better maintain vehicles.
6. EVs and hybrids
EVs and hybrids are often cheaper to run than gas guzzlers, but that’s not their only advantage. Many authorities offer tax breaks and other incentives, and some cities also waive congestion charges or offer free parking to EVs at charge points. All of these incentives can help you to save a lot of money even though electric cars don’t necessarily come very cheap.
7. Connected vehicles
Connected vehicles are currently a major trend amongst automotive manufacturers, and it won’t be long before the average used car is also connected.
If you’re lucky enough to own a connected car, the data that it provides you can help to keep it in peak condition while cutting down on expenses through driving fuel efficiencies and even potentially by reducing the likelihood of accidents.
8. Minimising your usage
This strategy has been around for years but some innovative elements can make it more efficient. For example, you can use time tracking apps to see just how much time you’re spending in your car and then work on ways to reduce that usage. This works particularly well when you couple it with telematics, because if insurers see that you’re using your vehicle less, they’ll charge you lower premiums as a result.
Now that you’re aware of new ways to manage your car’s expenses more efficiently, it’s time for you to put it into practice. Get started by downloading a few of the apps or checking out a few of the tools that we’ve talked about, and remember that you can dip your toes in the water with one or two approaches to begin with before you fully commit yourself.
Giles Kirkland is a dedicated car expert with a passion for all things automotive. He enjoys commenting on new technologies and the financial aspects of the car industry. Giles willingly shares his knowledge with other car and technology enthusiasts. You can see his articles on Twitter.