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Everyone is searching for ways to cut expenses during these trying economic times. One major expense for many people is their car. Though most people are not able to completely forgo the auto for other means of transportation, you can significantly cut down on car expenses with these five guaranteed ways to save.

1    Try car pooling to save money

Though car pooling is not available to everyone, many people can car pool to save the cost of fuel and reduce wear and tear on their car. If your children attend the same school as the neighborhood children, discuss a possible car pool with the other neighborhood parents. If the children belong to after school clubs or stay late for activities, pair up with other parents in the neighborhood and alternate drop-offs and pickups.

Car pooling to work is a bit trickier. However, you can be creative and find solutions to save gas. For example, if you live far away from the workplace, find a co-worker who lives about 1/2 way to the workplace. Arrange to drive to the co-worker’s home and ride the rest of the way into work with them. Offer to cover part of the cost of gas. As fuel prices continue to rise, every little bit of savings helps.

2    Arrange to work from home one or more days per week

Although not everyone is able to perform their job duties from home, many office workers can do it. As the workforce becomes more mobile, offices are more likely to offer VPN or other form of secured access to those who must connect to the office from a remote location.

If you are able to remotely access your office network from home, half the battle is won. Next, you simply need to remember to bring everything you need for the day home with you the night before your work-from-home day.

3    Have your car regularly tuned up and keep your tires inflated

If you simply must drive your car most days, you can take steps to increase your gas mileage by making sure your car is tuned up and the tires are inflated to their proper level. Check your car’s owners manual for the proper inflation level for your make and model. For example, Ford Falcon tires will likely require a different level of inflation pressure than a Chevy Volt. Making sure your tires are properly inflated will have a positive impact on your gas mileage. A tuned engine will also increase your gas mileage. If you have no choice but to drive your car, take steps to get the most out of your fuel.

4    Hold onto your car instead of upgrading every few years

Take care of your car and hold onto the car to save money on car payments and insurance. If you can hold onto your car for 15 years, studies show that you can save more than $20,000 in car payments and other auto-related expenses. If you purchase a new car, the car drastically depreciates as soon as you drive it off the lot. Though many people favor the idea of getting a new car every three to five years, you will save a considerable amount of money by keeping your older car.

5    Raise your insurance deductible (excess)

One way to experience near immediate savings on the cost of having a car is to increase your insurance deductible (excess amount). Many insurance policies automatically set the deductible for their customers at $500. Raise your deductible to $1000 to save a considerable amount on your insurance premiums. However, keep in mind that your deductible is the amount of money that you will be responsible for covering should you ever need to file an insurance claim. Make sure that you can afford to pay the first $1000 if your car is totaled or stolen. If you can afford the cost, increase your deductible and save money on the cost of driving your car.

Every bit of savings helps during these trying economic times. These tips are just a few ways you can cut car expenses. However, if you brainstorm, you will likely find several more ways to save on car and fuel expenses.

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