Ways to save money on gas, car maintenance, fines, car repairs, help for low-income families, and more. A guide for Twin Cities drivers who want to save money on car expenses.
Where are the cheapest gas stations in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and around the Twin Cities? TwinCitiesGasPrices.com
is a user-updated website showing the current cheapest places to buy gas in the Twin Cities.
All cars need preventive maintenance, oil changes, tire balancing, air filter changes, and the like, and most experts agree that a few dollars spend now can prevent bigger bills in the future.
Residents of snowy Minnesota should add one more thing to their list: getting the underside of their cars sprayed to remove corrosive salt during the winter. Car washes like the Downtowner in St. Paul charge around $5 to spray the bottom of a car.
Choosing the right garage and mechanic is vital for getting the best price on car repairs. Recommending mechanics is impossible, but you can get a little help with user reviews of area garages, and add your own opinion, at CarTalk.com.
Low income families may be able to use the Newgate School's Fix It For Families program, where trainee auto mechanics repair cars for free, charging just the cost of the parts used.
Programs to Help Low-Income Families Buy a Car
As well as helping low-income families with car repairs, the Newgate School
in Minneapolis runs the Wheels for Women program, which donates used cars to women referred to them from women's shelters and other women's service agencies.
Opportunity Cars has a directory of other organizations who distribute cars to low income families and individuals in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and the Twin Cities metro area.
HOURCAR is a car sharing program for the Twin Cities. The program can save money for families and individuals who don't use their car that much. The premise of the program is that instead of maintaining a car, it can be cheaper for many people to share a car. Members of the HOURCAR program pay a monthly fee and then an usage fee to borrow a car. HOURCAR deals with all the car maintaince and insurance costs.
Depending on how much you drive, and how convenient the nearest HOURCAR location is to you, this program can save money.
Mix with Public Transit, Walking and Cycling
Save money and improve your fitness by combining walking and cycling with driving. You won't be alone, about 4 percent of Minneapolis residents commute to work by bike.
Public transit in Minneapolis and St. Paul serves the cities reasonably well, and while it can be more expensive than gas for shorter trips, it is often better value to use Metro Transit if your destination is one of the downtowns, or anywhere else where you'll be paying for parking.
A puncture in a tire is often a easy fix to a tire dealer. Discount Tire
, with several stores in the Twin Cities metro area, will repair small punctures for free. You may need to specifically ask for the free offer, and only simple repairs are free.
The dealer from who the tires were bought from often perform simple repairs for free too.
Save Money On Speeding Tickets
Speeding tickets and other moving violations don't necessarily cost the fine shown on the ticket. Court officials can reduce the amount of the fine if you can convince them your circumstances warrant it, and arrange payment plans.
And there is a way to keep speeding tickets off your record to avoid the likely associated rise in car insurance.
More money saving tips from About.com's guide to financial planning. Ways to save money on buying a car, insurance, maintenance, and more.