The average annual costs of owning and maintaining a typical sedan in the U.S. was $9,122, or about $0.608 per mile based on 15,000 miles driven, according to the 2013 AAA Your Driving Costs study. That number represents a 2 percent increase from the previous year.
Some automotive-related expenses are unavoidable, but proper maintenance and due diligence can cut costs significantly. Download these five apps to start saving money immediately:
It’s difficult to find a more comprehensive app that offers a fully functional free version. Once you install aCar, enter all your vehicle information including make, model, and year. You can then track gas mileage by entering your odometer reading at the time of fill-up, along with the number of gallons and price of the gas. The app also keeps records of all maintenance and repairs to determine the total costs to keep your car on the road, and whether it may be time for a new one.
The aCar app is Android and Blackberry compatible. The free version is adequate for most car owners. The $5.99 Pro version allows data import and export, and has multiple language options.
Flat Tire Help
For those who do not have roadside assistance and technical expertise for these types of emergencies, Flat Tire Help is the app for you. It gives simple step-by-step instructions, complete with detailed images, for changing a tire on any type of vehicle. Flat Tire Help will save you towing fees and help get you to the nearest shop to determine if the tire is salvageable or new tires are necessary.
Flat Tire Help is available for Android devices for $0.99.
The average price of a gallon of gas across the U.S. on October 11 ($3.25) was the lowest recorded since 2010, according to AAA. Missouri had the cheapest gas in the country that day, but the range between stations was substantial. A Conoco in South St. Louis had $2.65 gas, while a West St. Louis BP was selling gas at $2.93. That is why the GasBuddy app is so invaluable.
Simply enter your city, state, and zip code, and GasBuddy does the rest. Prices are updated throughout the day by the app’s community of users to ensure accuracy. Those who report prices accurately receive rewards points that enter them in prize giveaways.
GasBuddy is free and compatible with Android, Blackberry, and iOS devices.
Car & Auto Insurance Quote Finder
Auto insurance premiums vary greatly by state, age, and several other factors. But the National Association of Insurance Commissioners placed the average yearly costs at $797 for 2011, the most recent data available. That means insurance can represent upwards of 15 percent of annual expenses for some car owners.
Car & Auto Insurance Quote Finder allows you to compare several quotes from multiple companies to find the best deal. It acts as a virtual marketplace that puts all the quotes in one place and saves you from surfing the web from site to site.
The app is available for all iOS 5.0 or later devices.
Automotive technicians hook your car up to fancy diagnostic machines to determine a repair and maintenance schedule. Of course it will cost you upwards of $200 for this service. The Torque Pro app can do all that and more for you for a fraction of the price.
You’ll first need to get a Bluetooth on-board diagnostic tools, which costs about $15. The other caveat is that your car must be a 2000 model or later, as older vehicles do not have the port to plug the adapter in below the steering wheel. Once you sync the adapter and your phone, it sends emission, fuel economy, torque, and other data depending on the vehicle. Mechanics and other car geeks rave about its accuracy and overall usefulness.
The total investment for the app ($4.95) and Bluetooth adapter will pay for itself the first time you use it.