Car Buying Guidelines To Help You Save Money On Auto Ownership

Not only does purchasing a car cost money, but owning a car also requires funding for maintenance and insurance and other costs. If you are selective about the type of car you buy, however, you can save yourself money on ownership costs down the road. Here are some things to look for and consider when buying a new vehicle. 

Registration Costs

One of the yearly costs that come with car ownership is paying to renew the registration for the vehicle. A lot of factors determine how much you'll have to pay for registration, but generally, older, smaller cars are less costly to register. If you are looking for a reliable vehicle, you should look at older cars that have fewer miles. This way, you still get the benefit of a car with a few years of reliable driving left, but you don't have to pay as much to register the car. Many state registrations will also charge more for trucks and SUVs. Registration may be a certain percent of the purchase price with an additional dollar value for every pound of vehicle. If you don't need a larger vehicle, shopping small can save you money at the DMV.


Insurance rates are determined by statistics. The company will factor in risk assessment based on your age, gender, martial status, accident record, and how long you've been driving. Then they will look at your vehicle. Safety features in cars reduce the risk of injury, so you might see reduced insurance because of increased safety ratings. On the other hand, luxury interiors and fancy features make a car more costly to replace, which increases insurance. Also, many cars have a safe track record, while others are more likely to be in accidents.

Contrary to popular belief however, the color of your car does not affect your insurance rates. The design of your car, on the other hand, will. Sporty cars and coupes will be more costly than a basic four door sedan. However, custom paint colors will affect rates simply because they are harder to match and replace after your car has body damage in an accident. 

Check for a list of cars that insurance companies prefer before making your choice. 

Fuel Economy

Fuel economy can save you hundreds of dollars each year. If you do opt for a newer car (even with the increased registration price), you should factor the fuel savings against the increased insurance and registration fees. Sometimes, the better fuel economy will more than make up for these costs, especially for small sedans. SUVs and minivans aren't as fuel efficient, and this is when buying a little bit older makes more sense. 

Replacement Parts and Maintenance

Finally, you need to factor in the availability of replacement parts and ease of maintenance. Sometimes for example, you might be better off choosing a Ford over a Chevy simply because there's a Ford mechanic in your town, making it easier and cheaper to get parts in case you need them. Some brands of vehicles, especially luxury brands, have more expensive parts, or they require a specialty mechanic to work on the engine. Some cars are easier to take apart and put back together again, reducing mechanic labor costs. 

You should also factor in basic maintenance. You'll need to replace your tires every few years on your car. Larger tires costs significantly more than smaller tires, making replacing all four at once a big financial hit if you have large truck or even a larger SUV. 

For more information about renewing your registration, contact a local DMV. You can also find information specific to your state on how registration fees are determined.