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If you’re like most of us in the United States, you rely on your car to get around. Cars are great. they’re comfortable, easy to drive, and thanks to advances in technology, they’re getting safer all the time. There’s also nothing like driving your car on a sunny day with the windows down and your favorite song on the radio. The worst thing about cars. Costs: After buying a car, you still have to spend a lot of money on gas, repairs, and general maintenance and upkeep. You can’t ignore these costs because they are necessary to keep your car running. The good news is that there are some things you can do to keep those costs down. Check out these easy, money-saving tricks to help lower your out-of-pocket car expenses so you can feel good about sipping that iced coffee on your next drive.

Reduce insurance premiums.

The average car insurance policy costs $1,771 per year. But if you’re 50 or older, you can save 5 to 20 percent without sacrificing coverage or raising your deductible simply by taking a defensive driving course. This easy-to-follow class is available online or in person and typically takes 4 to 6 hours to complete. After you graduate, most major auto insurance companies (Allstate, Farmers, Geico, and Nationwide) reward you with a lower rate because they want to help longtime drivers familiarize themselves with the new driving laws, understand the effects of common drugs on driving, and update themselves. skills, making accidents less likely. Just call your insurance company to find out which courses are eligible.

Reduce tire prices.

If you’ve ever had to change a car tire, you know that they can cost up to $300 each. To reduce the cost of each tire, buy them online and then ship them to an auto repair shop for installation for free. So you can compare prices to find the lowest, avoiding the tire markup that comes with buying them through a mechanic. Visit SimpleTire.com, TireRack.com or Walmart.com to start shopping. Or log on to Amazon.com for free shipping on select tires or most tires if you’re an Amazon Prime member. Enter the make, model and year of your vehicle, buy the tires and send them to the nearest installer, then show up at the appointed time and pay only for the installation.

Save on repairs.

According to AAA, the average repair cost per car is between $500 and $600. But you can lower the price of your next car fix by calling repair shops and asking one question. “What is your hourly rate?” The biggest cost for each repair is labor, but this rate varies greatly from shop to shop, so their answer will tell you how much money you’ll save. Also smart. ask if the shop uses aftermarket parts (the generic versions of your original auto parts) because they cost as much as 60 percent less than OEM parts (your car manufacturer’s aftermarket version), saving you a bundle;

Pay less at the pump.

On average, most drivers spend $131 on gas every month. Fortunately, credit card issuers offer you ways to save on fuel without annual fees. For example, the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature gives you 5X points for every dollar you spend on gas, and the Citi Custom Cash Card gives you 5% cash back on fuel up to $500 per billing cycle. For more top-up deals, visit CreditCards.com or NerdWallet.com.

Bust Scams!

Get financing from a car dealership. Some dealers agree to a small down payment and a low interest rate, but then call days after you drive off the lot claiming your financing fell through and you have to pay more to keep your car. To avoid. Ask if the down payment and interest rate are “final” (no changes can be made) or “notional” (they can ask for more) and don’t sign a contract with blank fields. Or avoid it by getting a pre-approved loan from an independent lender.

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

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