When you tally it up, it’s almost cheaper to take Ubers all year round than to run your own car. And taking it for a service can turn out to be even more expensive and less pleasant than unscheduled dental work. Here are our top five car money-saving tips.

1. Lighten up

Firstly, drive like a grown-up. If you accelerate heavily and brake hard, you burn up fuel and reduce the life of your brakes, not to mention your tyres. You may also need a service sooner than planned. Excess weight has the same effect, so better to leave the camping gear, pram and dumbbells at home.

2. Shop around for a service

Don’t believe your authorised dealer when he says he knows your car best. Dealerships have huge overheads and often put their most junior mechanics to work on your car. By law, your car warranty will remain intact as long as it’s serviced by a licensed repairer who follows your logbook schedule.

3. Beware the upsell

Mechanics can try to sell services or parts you really don’t need, so make sure you’ve read and understood your logbook. Wheel alignment. Additives and flushes. Wiper rubbers. Something called a cam shaft. If it’s a piece of machinery you haven’t heard of, you’re in dangerous territory. Get started with this automotive dictionary.

4. Don’t just auto-renew

It’s exhausting to compare car insurance policies and so many of us just stick with what we know. Canstar’s ten ways to cut car insurance costs could save you as much as $350 a year. For example, did you know that if your name was on your parents’ policy, many insurers will recognise your years of ‘no claim bonus’ and adjust your premium?

5. Review your car finance

If you’re considering car finance, MoneySmart offers comprehensive advice for financing your dream car. Be sure you can afford it and also beware of no-interest rate introductory offers. If you already have finance, try to pay off a bit extra every month. Even better, by consolidating your car debt into your mortgage at a much lower interest rate, you can save thousands in interest.

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