Whether you prefer to buy a new or used vehicle, a car is a huge investment. You want to get the most for your money and keep your vehicle running smoothly for many years. Being a responsible car owner requires dedication to your vehicle, but in return for your efforts, you get a vehicle that can carry you over many miles. Here are three things that every responsible car owner needs.

1. Insurance

Although auto insurance can take a big chunk out of your budget each month, it is a necessary expense. Insurance is important because it helps pay for damage to your vehicle if it is ever involved in an accident. Driving without insurance is illegal and could cost you a jail sentence of up to 12 months in addition to a fine of up to $1,000, so auto insurance is a non-negotiable expense.

However, there are several things you can do to make auto insurance an affordable part of your monthly budget. Shop around to find the insurance company with the best rates. You can also speak with your agent to see if you qualify for any discounts. Visit websites such as Quote Inspector for more ideas on how to find an insurance policy that fits your budget.

2. A Go-To Mechanic

Whenever parts of your vehicle start to malfunction, it is important to make repairs quickly to keep minor issues from spiraling into major problems. It takes time to find a mechanic that you trust to take care of your vehicle, so if you wait until a mechanic is necessary, you may not be able to use your car for a few days. It’s best to find a reputable mechanic before you need one. Develop a working relationship with your mechanic and let him or her perform routine maintenance on your vehicle. The better the mechanic knows your car, the more likely it is that he or she can make repairs quickly when necessary. Having a regular mechanic also ensures that you know who to call if your car ever breaks down so you don’t have to waste time looking for a mechanic.

3. Shelter

While many people opt to park their vehicles in their driveways, this habit isn’t always best. Not only does it leave your car vulnerable to burglars, but it also exposes your vehicle to the elements. A falling tree could crush your vehicle, or blowing debris could scratch the exterior of your ride and diminish its value. The best way to keep your vehicle safe is to keep it in an enclosed garage. If you don’t have access to a garage, a metal carport can often protect your car from the elements.

A vehicle is a big investment, so you don’t want to waste your money by not taking good care of it. There is much more to being a responsible cat owner than just practicing good driving habits. It takes time and energy to take care of your vehicle properly, but make sure you have these three things and ou can help your car last for many years.