Car

14 Ways to Save Money on Car Insurance

14waystosavemoneyoncarinsurance.jpgWhen it comes to car insurance…

Are you paying more than you should?

Many people know the obvious ways to save, like shopping around for the best price or comparing quotes online. But...

Did you know you could save money by:

Want to trim your car insurance costs?

Here are 14 ideas to get you started:

1. Shorten Your Commute

Keep reading » about 14 Ways to Save Money on Car Insurance

5 Ways to Save Money on Airport Parking and Transit

5waystosavemoneyonairportparkingandtransit.jpg

Travel costs can fly high - even on the very first day of your long-awaited vacation.

The one thing that’s often overlooked?

It’s the cost of going between house, airport and hotel.

Paying for parking at the airport adds up after a few days. And yes - it can be expensive. But then again…

I live on the opposite end of the city from the airport so a cab ride is heavy on the wallet as well. When I travel, this is one of the aspects of a trip that requires me to plan ahead.

One strategy I use is to try to stay at hotels that offer a complimentary airport shuttle when we arrive in our destination. But this solution may not be for everyone.

So what are other alternatives?

Consider these 5 ideas...

1) Car Rentals

Keep reading » about 5 Ways to Save Money on Airport Parking and Transit

6 Alternatives to Owning a Car

6_alternatives_to_owning_a_car.jpgThis is no stunning revelation. But vehicles cost a lot of money to maintain.

Things like insurance, fuel, parking, tires, maintenance and repairs can add up at an accelerated rate.

One way to keep your monthly costs low is to find an alternative to owning a vehicle.

When I was in university I owned a vehicle but only had it insured during the summer months. This meant I didn’t have to pay for vehicle costs for about 8 months of the year and was able to save big.

At that time I had no choice - I was a student with little to no income, so I had to cut costs where I could. Even today, after graduating, I still try to drive as little as possible as I know vehicles can be expensive, especially with the rising cost of fuel.

Mr. Money Mustache, a Canadian-born engineer who retired at 30 and now lives in the United States, explains that vehicles are costly for most of us and advocates using a vehicle as little as possible.

6 Alternatives To Cut Your Costs

Keep reading » about 6 Alternatives to Owning a Car

The Best Use Of Petro Points

thebestuseofpetropoints.jpg

Petro-Canada offers the Petro-Points loyalty program. Members can collect points and exchange them for fuel, car repair and store purchases at any of the 1,500 Suncor branded gas stations.

There is no annual membership fee associated with the Petro-Points program. Sign up at a station to receive a card immediately. Signing up online gives the option to print a temporary card until one arrives in the mail. In each instance, an online account will need to be created and the card number registered. Rewards are redeemed using the online account.

Here’s everything you need to know about collecting Petro-points with Petro-Canada.

Earning Petro-Points

Keep reading » about The Best Use Of Petro Points

The Best Bang For Your Esso Extra Points

thebestbangforyouressoextrapoints.jpgEsso Extra is a loyalty program offered by Esso, one of the largest gas retailers in Canada. It offers everyday rewards like car washes, gift cards and fuel to entice drivers to fill up at one of the 1,700 Imperial Oil branded gas stations.

The Esso Extra program is free to join and there are no annual membership fees. You can join online or become a member at any station with your name, a valid email and Canadian address. Once the Esso Extra card has been received, you will need to create an online account to register the card number. The online account is also used for redeeming rewards.

With the current price of regular running about $1.05/L, an average Canadian family that drives 20,000 KM/year in a vehicle with a combined city/hwy fuel economy of 9L/100 KM would pay $1,890 for a year’s worth of fuel. How many points would be accumulated and what would be the best way to use those points? Here’s what you need to know.

Earning Esso Extra Points

Keep reading » about The Best Bang For Your Esso Extra Points

Avoiding The Costly Upsell On Car Repairs

avoidingthecostlyupselloncarrepairs2.jpgI’ve written quite a few articles about saving money on cars and car repairs and even buy my own parts to save up to 90%, but I’m still far from a car expert. Just the other day I was booking an appointment to get my 2013 Santa Fe serviced, when it hit me that I may have succumbed to the upsell many times in the past.

When I called to make the appointment, the friendly lady on the line started giving me all kinds of recommendations. She informed me that my vehicle was due to have the brakes inspected and lubricated to prolong their life, that my tires should be checked for alignment to avoid tire wear, and one other thing that I can’t remember right now.

Luckily I had my wits about me, so I politely inquired about the cost of each of the services she offered me, the benefits of doing the service, and if it was necessary under the regular maintenance required for the warranty.

The brake service itself was $200 and as I started declining the services, she started offering me cheaper options ending with the $25 alignment test.

They Almost Had Me

Keep reading » about Avoiding The Costly Upsell On Car Repairs

Getting The Most Out Of Your New Car Warranty

getthemostoutofyournewcarwarranty.jpgWhen shopping for a new vehicle, people tend to place a lot of emphasis on the warranty always looking for the best possible coverage. As such, car manufacturers compete heavily on warranty, especially foreign manufacturers.

The gold standard for new car warranties used to be 3 years bumper to bumper and after that you were on your own if something went wrong. Now it’s becoming increasingly common to see 4 and 5 year warranties, as is the case with Hyundai and Kia, and many luxury brands. Mitsubishi even goes so far to offer a 10 year powertrain warranty on some of their vehicles with a 5 year warranty on everything else. Here is a handy guide to new car warranties on Cars.com.

Related: How To Make Your New Car Last Forever

However, after having such a large influence over buying decisions, the warranty is often relegated to the back of the buyer’s mind as soon as the purchase is completed only to be thought of again if an obvious problem arises. As with a lot of things in life, it can really pay off to be proactive in your approach to your car warranty to maximize the value you get out of it and ensure the longest possible life out of your new vehicle.

Understand Your Warranty Fully

It’s pretty common for people not to understand their warranty fully, including the important exceptions it contains, and they are then surprised when they discover something they thought was covered isn’t. Bumper to bumper sounds promising doesn’t it?

The truth is there are still a lot of things that aren’t covered or have a shorter coverage period because they are considered to be subject to regular wear and tear. Typically things like brake pads, rotors, tires, cosmetic appearance, wipers, belts, batteries, hoses and certain electronic components have exclusions or exceptions because they are considered to be items that suffer from regular wear and tear.

You’ll want to review your warranty document carefully and jot down any notable exceptions that pop out at you.

Get Early Adjustments Made

During the first year almost anything and everything is covered under your warranty. If there is something you don’t like or are worried about with your new car, simply call the service department and get them to look at it. Have a small rattle that’s annoying you? Covered! Can’t figure out how to operate the fancy technology? They’d be happy to help!

Just be aware that some warranties will only allow you to come in for free adjustments once or a couple of times. If that is the case, make sure you make a comprehensive list of adjustments you’d like before you go in so that you don’t end up regretting it later after you’ve already used up that benefit.

Find Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs) For Your Vehicle

Keep reading » about Getting The Most Out Of Your New Car Warranty

Which Rust Proofing Service Is Best?

whichrustproofingserviceisbest.jpgIf you visit the southern USA, you will see all kinds of late model vehicles on the streets that look like they were just driven off the lot. Unless you garage your vehicle in the winter and only drive it during the summer months, you won’t see that here - snow, salt, and rust make sure of that!

Using good rust protection can prevent thousands of dollars in costly repairs and stop the metal body from wearing out long before the engine and other parts are ready to call it quits.

Want the best rust proofing there is? Download the PDF version of this comparison article.

That’s not just my own anecdotal evidence talking either, of which I have plenty. The Canadian Army has actually commissioned several studies on the benefits of rust proofing their vehicles and equipment. They’ve concluded that rust proofing definitely inhibits rust but the real kicker is that not all rust protection products are created equal, far from it.

My Personal Experience With Rust

My first experience with rust was when I still a young lad and I was standing next to my grandmother’s new-looking first generation Ford Escort hatchback that was more than a decade old. My father carefully explained to me that the reason the car was in such good shape was because it had been Rust Checked every year since it was new. He pointed out all the Rust Check stickers lined up side by side on the back hatch window that proved it.

That lesson stuck with me and I’ve used Rust Check on my vehicles ever since I was a teenager in an uncharacteristic example of brand loyalty on my part.

My First Car (Used)

My very first car was a used 1996 Pontiac Sunfire GT that was a gorgeous metallic blue. Even though it was just a Sunfire, I really loved that car! The lines were pretty, the stock wheels were sharp, and the interiour glowed a very cool looking red in the dark. I took really good care of my new baby and Rust Checked her every year religiously.

I never had much in the way of problems with rust up until I sold it in 2005. I did have one big rust spot form around the opening to the gas tank because I was a bit sloppy when gassing up and let little bits of gas spill on to the nearby paint. Over time the gas ate away at the paint and allowed it to rust. That kind of thing can’t be prevented with Rust Check because it’s the paint’s job to protect all painted surfaces. I shouldn’t have been so careless.

I had that one rust spot fixed and the car still looked practically new when I sold it at almost 10 years old.

Related: How To Make Your New Car Last Forever

My Second Car (New)

Having just scored my dream job at a local software company working for peanuts, I made the classic mistake of feeling like I “deserved” my first brand new car to celebrate. Looking back, that probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do at the time but I graduated without debt and had some savings, so there you have it!

My choice? A brand new 2005 Mazda 3 GS in Carbon Gray Mica with a manual transmission. That car drove like a dream and is the easiest shifting manual I’ve had the pleasure of driving. Zoom zoom!

Rust Check? You betcha!

Rust problems? Actually yes…

The year was 2010, my 3 year bumper to bumper warranty had expired but I happened to notice the car also had a 5 year corrosion warranty. Just before my 5 years was up, I spotted what looked like a barely noticeable paint chip along the wheel well and that’s just what I thought it was, a paint chip. Paint chips obviously aren’t covered by the warranty, but I took it to the dealer anyway knowing my warranty would expire soon.

Related: 11 Tips For Getting The Best New Car Price

To my great surprise, they offered to get it professionally repaired free of charge lickity split, which I later found out was because the rust was due to a known manufacturer’s defect. The wheel well was actually completely rusted out but it was all hidden underneath the paint. That may not seem like a win for Rust Check, but now that I was aware of the problem I saw many other 2005 Mazda 3s that had massive rust spots in several places including much bigger problems with the wheel wells, so mine was clearly rusting significantly slower even given the defect.

When I finally sold the Mazda 3 in 2013, the buyers had their mechanic inspect it and he said it was one of the best looking 2005 vehicles he’d ever seen. I think that is proof enough that the car held up comparatively well over time.

What Rust Protection Is Best?

Keep reading » about Which Rust Proofing Service Is Best?

How To Make Your New Car Last Forever

howtomakeyournewcarlastforever.jpgUp here in the frozen north, the land of salt and snow, it is hard to keep a vehicle on the road for more than 10 years before it becomes a bucket of useless rust and a fountain of endless repair bills!

I often hear about people selling or scrapping their vehicles because they become too expensive to maintain, so they upgrade to something newer and cut their losses. Doing this may sometimes be the best choice, but I think there is a way to lower repair bills and keep cars on the road longer. Yes, even in Canada!

Consider Buying New And Keeping Longer

It has long been the rhetoric of personal finance gurus that you should always buy used because new cars depreciate up to 20% instantly as soon as you drive it off the lot and standard depreciation is about 15 to 20% per year. As a car gets older, 15 to 20% of the then current value of the vehicle gets to be less and less, which is why it is oft-recommended that you should buy used to save money on depreciation.

However, I’ve noticed the rhetoric is starting to change as more and more personal finance pundits are starting to buy brand new vehicles over a used one. This topic could be debated until the sun stops shining and there probably still wouldn’t be a resolution, because both sides would have valid points. Personally, after thinking I would land on the “always buy used” side, I’ve actually ended up in the buy new camp.

Reasons To Buy New Over Used

  • Knowing the vehicle’s history. The biggest reason for me buying new is I know exactly how the car has been driven and cared for. There’s a much lower chance of getting a lemon or a mistreated vehicle and, if you do get a lemon, at least you have the warranty to back you up. People who buy new vehicles every 4 years may not think about doing things to extend the life of their vehicle because they know they will unload it before problems arise - so buyer beware.
  • New prices are falling. Prices of new vehicles have gone down so the spread between new and used isn’t as attractive as it used to be. It’s crazy that brand new vehicles can be purchased for less than $10,000 these days.
  • Worry free driving. With a new car you get years of worry free driving where you usually have both warranty coverage and free roadside assistance should anything happen.
  • Low interest rates. To attract buyers, car companies offer insanely low interest rates and offering to pay cash doesn’t usually sweeten the deal much, believe me I’ve tried. If you can’t pay for the car upfront, then you’ll definitely get a better interest rate buying new. Even if you have the money to pay it all (a good idea), it can make sense to enjoy your 0% interest loan and invest or earn high interest on your cash in the meantime.
  • Keep it longer. If you buy new and take care of it, then you should be able to keep your vehicle for 10 to 15 years and by the end you are really starting to benefit from lower depreciation and cost savings, just like if you had purchased used, but you got to enjoy a significant amount of “new time” as well.
  • Less hassle. By keeping a car longer, you don’t have to go through the hassle of making such a major purchase nearly as often. Less time researching, finding a buyer, fixing it up for sale, having to buy new winter tires because your old ones no longer fit, and so on. Not to mention actually selling a vehicle is a time consuming and often depressing process while you try to find a qualified buyer unless you choose to trade it in at a dealer and lose a bunch of money that way.
  • Fewer fees and taxes. Granted, buying a new car comes with quite a few fees and a hefty tax bill, you’ll have to pay them less often. Every time you buy or sell something, you usually encounter taxes and fees. Sales tax, advertising fees, detailing costs, inspection - they all add up!

Keep Your New Car On The Road Longer, For Less

Keep reading » about How To Make Your New Car Last Forever

Best Credit Cards For Gas Discounts

Best Credit Cards For Gas Discounts

Last week I told you all the ways you can save money on gas that don't involve buying a Tesla or a Smart car. This week I'm going to fill you in on which credit cards give you the best discounts when you buy gas.

This is a great way to ease the heavy burden of going to the pumps these days as prices continue to rise. Can the days of 50 cent gas come back please? Is ANYONE listening??

There's a better chance of the Leafs winning the Stanley Cup than that happening. Even I know that and I don't watch hockey! So you might as well get the best possible card for gas discounts rather than waiting around for prices to fall.

Here are the cards that will help keep your wallet happy:

American Express Gold Rewards Card (5.8% Return)

If you're into collecting Aeroplan miles, this is the best card currently available in terms of overall value. It shines in the gas bonus department as well because it gives you fully double the reward points you would normally earn on gas purchases. That's much better than the 50% bonus or no bonus that most other travel rewards cards offer.

If you read my guide to Aeroplan (link above), you'll see that I value Aeroplan miles at about 2.8 cents each. If you double that because you're earning two per dollar spent at the pumps, then this becomes a 5.8% return on spending. It isn't cash, but that's definitely an attractive return!

Apply Now

Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite (4% Return)

This is one of the best cash back cards in Canada for many reasons - one of the biggest being that it gives you 4% cash back on gas. There is a cap on how much you can earn in a given year, but who spends $25,000 a year on gas anyway? You'd have to run a trucking company or own a super yacht for that! It comes with a $99 annual fee.

There is also the Scotia Momentum Visa ($39 fee - 2% on gas) and Scotia Momentum No Fee Visa (1% on gas) cards that have lower annual fees and lower rewards, but they both still offer a bonus for gas purchases. As long as you have a decent amount of spending, then the Infinite card typically makes the most sense after you do the math.

Apply Now

CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite (4.2% Return)

Keep reading » about Best Credit Cards For Gas Discounts

Pages