4 Ways to Save When You Don’t Drive Much

Consider car maintenance, insurance, carpooling and even using your ride to make extra cash

Girl in parking lot with no car

Where, when, how and how much you drive your car may vary widely from other drivers. Some folks might commute 100 miles round trip each day or take frequent lengthy road trips, while others use their vehicles for a shorter commute, errands, and the occasional longer outing. If you fall in the latter camp and keep your car use to a minimum, your vehicle may thank you. However, certain expenses

Our friends at Metromile, which offers pay-per-mile insurance, shared their tips on how to keep costs low if you don’t put car through the ringer on a regular basis.

How to Reduce Costs and Keep Your Car in Good Shape When You Don’t Drive Much

  1. Keep up with basic car maintenance to avoid costly repairs. Know how to change a flat tire and keep your tires properly inflated. Change your oil on a regular basis to keep your car running smoothly and extend the life of the vehicle. Lastly, fix your brakes if they get squeaky because that likely means the lining is wearing thin.
  2. Consider how and where you park your car. If you don’t drive your car for long stretches of time, park in a garage to prevent potential theft and protect it against the elements (even summer sun can do damage). Garage parking can be expensive, especially in cities, so if you don’t need frequent access to your car you should shop around for the cheapest garage space instead of paying a premium to park in the closest garage. If the most viable option is keeping it outside, consider purchasing waterproof car cover to keep it clean to save on long-term costs of wear and tear.
  3. Use that thing to MAKE money! We’re sure you already know you could work for ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft to put your car to use (and check out Quoted’s coverage of the Metromile and Uber partnership), but there are other ways to turn a buck with your car, too. Consider Getaround, which says that car owners can earn $10,000 per year by renting their car through their community – that’s an extra $800 a month for sharing a car that you’re barely using!
  4. Re-shop your insurance. Especially if you’ve recently changed your habits and gone from using your car for your job and driving 25,000 miles per year to using it for pleasure and putting on 7,500 miles per year, you’ll want that reflected in your insurance rates. Check out The Zebra to compare over 200 insurance companies and consider pay-per-mile insurance, especially if you drive fewer than 10,000 miles per year (around 200 each week).

Red neon park sign

Plus: When to Skip Driving Altogether And Opt for Carpooling

Some folks who have few occasions to drive may opt to share a car with others (who likely also seldom drive). While perhaps a wallet-savvy and “green” approach, there may be times you’re SOL. Again, ride-sharing services can definitely help here, but you might also want to consider carpooling for more regular transportation needs. Metromile shares a few options:

Scoop allows you to schedule morning and afternoon commutes and will customize trips for you based on your route, schedule and traffic. You can also choose to drive a carpool for more cash in your pocket. Scoop even guarantees you a ride home, so you’ll never have to worry about being stuck at work.

Hitch A Ride helps you connect with colleagues to see who lives nearby – and opens the floor to discuss carpool destinations. Payment terms are negotiated between you and the driver, meaning you can either pay a flat rate or pay them in a morning coffee-and-bagel. You can even connect with your social networks to see where your friends are travelling – and hop in for the ride!

UberPOOL matches riders heading in the same direction, and the trip costs up to 50% less than UberX. If you find yourself frequently hopping in a rideshare to save time on your commute, this is a great alternative. It only adds a few minutes to your ride, and you could meet a new friend.

friends in car

Riding with a friend or coworker? Follow these tips to make sure it’s a smooth ride:

  • Discuss the pickup point. Is the driver picking everyone up at home? Are you meeting at a convenient location for everyone?
  • If everyone is going to take turns driving, create a schedule that you all agree on. Be flexible if there is a day when someone needs to switch drivers.
  • Decide on payment terms based on mileage and fuel cost. If everyone is taking turns driving equally, you may not need to exchange cash.
  • Make some ground rules and be respectful of them. How long will the driver wait if someone is late? When will you exchange payment? Is talking on cell phones okay?

Thanks to Metromile for sharing their excellent tips!