11 Signs You Can Downsize Your Vehicle and Save Money Right Now

Discover how downsizing your vehicle could lead to bigger savings and greater adventures.
Updated April 11, 2024
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If you want to eliminate some money stress, it might be time to look for a new vehicle that can save you some cash.

There are plenty of affordable options if you do your research. Here are some signs that it might be time to downsize.

You’re spending too much on gas

rh2010/Adobe Woman using phone to pay for gas

Larger vehicles usually require more gas, which could drain your wallet.

Instead, consider a smaller version of whatever vehicle you are driving now. If you want to keep a big vehicle, look for models of SUVs or trucks that are more fuel-efficient.

You don’t need the extra space

AS Photo Family/Adobe Man standing next to SUV

You might have bought a large vehicle anticipating that you would need the extra space — such as filling the back of your SUV with sports equipment or furniture.

But if these situations are rare, you might be paying for a bigger vehicle than you need.

Your car insurance is expensive

pololia/Adobe Man shocked while reviewing bill

Car insurance costs can vary from model to model, meaning you could be overspending simply because you own a particular vehicle.

Downsizing to a smaller vehicle or a less expensive model can be a way to save money on car insurance.

Your current vehicle is hard to maneuver

nikolaborovic88/Adobe Someone reversing car

Have you struggled to find a parking spot that fits your car? It might be time to switch to a smaller vehicle.

Not only will you save money, but you might find the driving experience more pleasant.

The maintenance is expensive

Gorodenkoff/Adobe An auto mechanic looking at car

Every vehicle needs regular maintenance, such as oil changes and tire rotations. But maintenance costs vary depending on the vehicle.

Research how much regular maintenance on different models might cost so you can rule out some vehicles and go with models that are easier and cheaper to maintain.

Repairs are costly

chartphoto/Adobe Mechanic inspecting car from below

As with maintenance, repairs can cost more depending on the size and model of your vehicle.

With a bigger vehicle, the cost to replace certain parts might be higher than it would be if you downsize to something more modest.

You can make a profit on your resale

igorkol_ter/Adobe Woman paying money for car keys

Find out how much your current car will likely fetch on the resale market. If you're lucky, you might even be able to sell your bigger used car for a higher amount than what you plan to spend on a smaller new car.

And if you make a profit on the sale, take the profits and put them toward a financial goal such as a down payment on a home or paying off debt.

You worry about emissions

Nady/Adobe Car pollution in traffic

If you worry about your carbon footprint in a big vehicle, it might be time to downsize. A smaller car or electric vehicle might be a better option to not only save money but to cut down on pollution.

You want other features

deagreez/Adobe Couple in a car

Perhaps you want upgraded safety features or other cutting-edge technology. If so, selling your current car and getting something smaller with better features might be an option.

Perhaps you’ll prefer a smaller, more affordable car with a better sound system than a big car with subpar speakers.

You're an empty nester

K Davis/peopleimages.com/Adobe Senior couple hugging at home

Maybe you bought a big car to get kids to after-school activities such as sports or music. But do you need space for three kids and a tuba if your children are grown?

If you don’t need that space in your vehicle anymore, downsize and save a little money.

You can’t park your vehicle in the garage

Felix Mizioznikov/Adobe Lincoln Corsair SUV on the streets

Do you live in a home with a small garage? If so, you may struggle to find the room to park your larger vehicle.

Switching to a smaller vehicle can eliminate the need to call a contractor to build a bigger garage.

Bottom line

Andrii Zastrozhnov/Adobe Woman driver doing thumbs up

There are plenty of reasons to downsize your vehicle, so make a checklist before shopping to see if a smaller vehicle is a better option.

A smaller vehicle might be a better fit than something larger. You might even save enough money to retire early or pursue another financial goal.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.

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