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Seven ways to save thousands on the cost of owning a car

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The cost of getting around is increasing at twice the rate of inflation, according to new research from the Australian Automobile Association.

The average Aussie metro household spends $18,221 a year on transport, up $736 from a year ago.

Sydneysiders are paying the most for transport, forking out $432 a week.

Cars are one of the biggest expenses we have and when you look at all the outgoings like registration, fuel, insurance, tolls and depreciation, they quickly become a huge financial burden.

tyre pressure car costs transport

Here are seven ways easy ways to cut back on car expenses.

1. Save on fuel

Aussies who own their own car outright spend an average of $71.50 a week on fuel. That's more than $3700 a year.

To get maximum bang for your petrol buck make sure to maintain your car's recommended tyre pressure (the manual will tell you what it should be).

Under-inflated tyres increase the friction between road and wheel, also known as 'drag'. Keeping tyres inflated at the recommended pressure can increase fuel mileage by up to 3%.

Make sure to clear out the boot. If you're one for carrying around unnecessary clutter, it's time to wise-up; a heavy load will be a drain on your fuel tank. On average, fuel consumption increases by 2% for every extra 50kg.

2. Buy tyres online

A lot of people are buying their car tyres online, as you can get cheaper deals by cutting out the middleman.

A common type of deal is four tyres for the price of three offer. Quite often you won't get these offers in-store but just make sure you do your research because the cheapest tyres are not necessarily the best and make sure you buy from a reputable dealer.

3. Consider buying an older vehicle

It's easy to become seduced by a shiny new car in the showroom, but consider this: new cars lose their value a lot faster. As a general rule, new cars lose as much as 20% of their value in the first year and will be worth just 10% of their original value after 10 years.

Nab a great deal on a well-maintained, older car and you'll stand a better chance of getting more of your money back on resale.

4. Find the right insurance deal

The average weekly spend on rego, CTP and licence for households in major cities around Australia is $31.41. There are ways to bring down those premiums, including shopping around to make sure you're getting the best deal.

If you're a careful driver and haven't made any previous claims, consider increasing your excess, which will result in lower premiums. If you drive infrequently and travel shorter than average distances, you may be able to lower your premiums with a drive-less-pay-less policy.

5. Repay your car loan as fast as you can

If a car loan is necessary, go through your finances with a fine tooth-comb and consider how you can maximise those repayments to reduce the extra outlay that comes with a lengthy loan.

6. Make life easy with maintenance

Check the air filters regularly to keep the engine in top notch condition; watch out for oil levels; and carry out minor repairs yourself such as replacing wiper blades and addressing any rust. If you catch a minor issue early you can avoid a bigger problem - and bill - later on.

7. Share your car

Renting your car out when you're not using it is an easy way to cut back on ownership expenses. Users can pay from $5 an hour or $35 a day, meaning owners can make thousands of dollars by renting out their vehicle when it's not in use.

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