Smart ways to reduce car costs in 2024, including car insurance

Silhouette of a man standing in front of a broken-down car, scratching his head. Dollar signs float above the car.

Despite rising expenses and a cost of living crisis, many Australian drivers surprisingly think it will cost them nearly 28% less to run their cars in 2023 than it did the year prior.

A survey conducted by car subscription service Carbar, in partnership with online pollster YouGov, shows that on average, Aussies believe their annual car expenses dropped from $15,754 in 2022 to $11,369 in 2023. 

This clashes with 2022 figures from an RACV study, which put the actual cost to own a car at around $16,500.

Carbar chief executive Des Hang thinks this highlights a disconnect between perception and reality.

“Generally speaking, Australians may have lost perspective on the actual cost of running their car. They are overestimating some costs, such as registration. And conversely, strongly underestimating others such as repayments and maintenance,” Hang said.

“We’re also noticing a discrepancy across age groups, with younger Australians most astutely recognising the cost of car ownership, while older Australians are strongly underestimating it.” 

Line graph showing the average estimated cost of running a vehicle by age group.
Source: Carbar and YouGov

Smart moves for managing car costs

Navigating car expenses doesn't have to feel like a puzzle. With the right approach, you can keep your costs in check and maybe even save some cash along the way. Here's how:

  • Audit your car expenses. Start with a simple review of what you're spending on your car, including loan repayments, maintenance, petrol and car insurance. Comparing these to what's typical can help you spot where you might be overspending.
  • Shop around for insurance. Insurance can be a big chunk of your car costs. It pays to shop around and compare options yearly to make sure you're getting the best deal. Sometimes, loyalty doesn't save you money.
  • Fuel-efficient driving. Small changes in how you drive can save you a lot on fuel over time. Things like keeping your tyres properly inflated, not overloading your car, and driving smoothly can make your tank last longer.
  • Regular maintenance. Keeping up with your car's maintenance schedule can prevent costly repairs down the line. It might seem like a pain to pay for regular servicing, but catching issues early can save you a lot more.
  • Consider alternative ownership models. Car subscriptions, like those offered by Carbar, can provide a different approach by bundling costs into one monthly fee. It's one option among many, so see if it makes sense for your situation. But also look into car sharing or even going car-free if public transport and rideshares can meet your needs.
  • DIY where you can. For the car-savvy, doing some of your own maintenance or car care can cut costs. Simple tasks like washing your car, changing wipers, or even doing your own oil changes (if you're confident) can reduce expenses.

By taking a closer look at your car-related spending and considering a mix of traditional and newer strategies for managing these costs, you can find ways to ease the financial burden. It's all about finding what works best for you and possibly thinking a bit outside the box to save on those car costs in 2024.

If you’re wanting to reduce your car insurance costs first, our experts do the hard work for you by handpicking some of the best policies on the market. Start comparing below.

Compare car insurance on Mozo - rates updated daily

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  • Comprehensive Car Insurance

    Monthly premiums
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    $300 - $2,550
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    Monthly premiums
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    $500 - $2,200
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    • Online Discount $75
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  • Comprehensive Car Insurance

    Monthly premiums
    Calendar icon
    Yes Costs Extra
    Choice of repairer
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      * Terms, conditions, exclusions, limits and sub-limits may apply to any of the insurance products shown on the Mozo website. These terms, conditions, exclusions, limits and sub-limits could affect the level of benefits and cover available under any of the insurance products shown on the Mozo website. Please refer to the relevant Product Disclosure Statement and the Target Market Determination on the provider's website for further information before making any decisions about an insurance product.

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