7 Ways to Make (and Save) Money on a Car You Barely Drive

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This content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide financial advice.

Do you have a vehicle lying around collecting dust? Maybe in pre-COVID times, it was your daily commuter, but now you’re working from home. As long as it sits there, each time you pay car insurance for a car you rarely drive will certainly sting.

Let’s look into ways to not only save you some money but to maybe make some extra cash in the process.

#1 – Save Money on Car Insurance

What costs are involved in a car that doesn’t get driven? Primarily your vehicle’s loan payments (which we’ll discuss later on) and your car’s monthly insurance.

Vehicle insurance will be the easiest place to cut costs. There are a ton of competitive and specialized options. Getting the best deal out of your car insurance policy isn’t rocket science, either. It comes down to the type of insurance you require and the vehicle you are covering.

Typically, liability-only insurance is the most affordable type of car coverage because it only covers you against the cost of damage or injuries you are at fault for. This means it wouldn’t cover the cost of damage or injuries to you, leaving you exposed. But if this vehicle is rarely driven, maybe that’s a risk you’re willing to take.

Another type of vehicle insurance that can reduce your premiums on a rarely used car is pay-per-mile insurance, which charges you depending on how far you drive.

#2 – Research Renting Your Vehicle Out

Several companies will allow you to rent your own vehicle out. Of course, there are significant risks involved for your vehicle, but putting your vehicle to work for you might be worth it.

There are multiple types of renters to cater to. One company called Turo allows you to rent out your vehicle for recreational use. Meanwhile, companies like HyreCar are meant to support rideshare drivers. According to HyreCar’s website, by renting out your car through their services, you could make up to $9,000 per year.

Regardless of the company you choose to work with, they all will serve as online marketplaces for renting out your vehicle. Which option is best for you will depend on your location, demand, and each company’s pay scale.

#3 – Refocus Energy on Paying It Off

Obviously, one of the best ways to save money on your vehicle is to stop paying interest on your vehicle’s loan. Of course, that is easier said than done. But maybe looking at your vehicle parked outside is the encouragement you need to get serious about paying it off or putting more toward the vehicle’s principal.

The average auto loan in America forces buyers to pay an additional 13% (or more) on top of the original loan amount just in interest payments. That ends up being thousands of dollars over the life of your loan. If you’re looking to save money in the long term, start paying attention to the interest on your loans.

#4 – Is it time to sell?

Thanks to the coronavirus and supply chain issues, your used vehicle might be worth more than ever before. According to ABC News, the average used vehicle’s value increased by 27.9% in 2021.

Does that mean that rather than a vehicle sitting outside, it’s actually a pile of cash? Obviously, that depends on its year, make, and model. But if you could go without it and are strapped for cash, there’s never been a better time to sell a used car.

The perfect scenario would be to sell high and buy low. Some economists predict a crash in these vehicle values, which would mean now could be the perfect time to sell.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that there is a crash coming, and these values could hypothetically rise forever. But either way, your used vehicle’s value has continued to increase over the last two years, and you should at least be aware of that.

#5 – The Truth About Changing Your Oil

If your vehicle has been sitting around undriven, do you still need to abide by your oil change sticker’s change date? This is actually a pretty controversial question.

Experts say it’s important to get it changed at least twice a year or every 5,000 miles. Regardless of how often it’s driven, your vehicle’s oil will degrade and that could directly impact your engine’s condition.

When in doubt, check your vehicle’s handbook for exact vehicle specifications. But don’t let a technician push you into unneeded extra oil changes because they want to make a quick buck.

#6 – Time for a Side Hustle

If you have free time and an available vehicle, now could also be the time to find a new side hustle. We’re all familiar with food delivery services and rideshare opportunities, so what’s stopping you from leveraging your vehicle access into a couple of extra bucks a week?

Many people say Doordash is the best part-time job out there. But the story is similar between different opportunities: a fairly similar sign-up process, consistent work, and flexible hours.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention employee complaints about these companies and their pay structures. These part-time side hustles aren’t for everyone. Make sure you do your research before committing to one service over another.

#7 – Protect It From the Elements

Lastly, a penny saved is a penny earned. If you live in an area with intense weather, protect your vehicle from unattended damage. You don’t have to be driving your vehicle for it to be at risk.

A car cover can be extremely inexpensive and purchased anywhere from Amazon to Walmart. This small investment could mean a ton for your vehicle’s health. Some of the leading causes of outdoor damage include snow, hail, rain, dirt, dust, or various forms of storms and wind damage.

Beyond naturally caused damage, you should consider random acts of human-caused harm. This could mean a child’s skateboard or bike running straight into your beloved car’s door. It could also be more significant damage, like a hit-and-run.

If you know your vehicle will be sitting around for a while, we recommend throwing on a car cover and moving it off of the streets. At the very least, move your vehicle away from any corners or high-risk areas. The more traffic or chance for impact, the worse its odds are.

Luke Williams writes and researches for the car insurance comparison site, CarInsuranceCompanies.com. His passions include best practices for insurance and other ways people can drive with peace of mind.


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