The Savvy Motorist – Smart Ways To Save Money On Your Car Running Costs
Car Running Costs: How Drivers Can Save Money
There are more cars on the road than ever before and it seems like no one can live their daily lives without their vehicle. Yet, cars are also expensive to run and if you are a driver in the UK, we hate to tell you that this is one of the most expensive places to be a driver. The average cost of running a car here is really going to put a dent in your savings!
Fortunately, we are going to show you some of the smartest ways you can save money on your motoring costs without having to give up your beloved car.
Look at all Insurance Options
Third party insurance used to be considered the cheapest option when it came to driving. But, you will find that fully comprehensive policies are actually proving to be lower in cost and better value for money in today’s insurance market. So, instead of automatically looking at insurance that only covers damage to persons and another vehicle, examine other policies that also cover fire and theft. Get a quote before you buy. Shopping around is worth your time and the best way to find affordable car insurance is by using price comparison websites.
Use a MOT Centre
Regular MOTs are important to make sure that your vehicle is safe and in working order. But, a lot of popular garages can charge hefty prices to fix your car and this can really affect your bank balance. A lot of the time their repairs are overpriced or they may even be trying to scam you knowing that you have to pay it. There is a way you can avoid getting ripped off and still get your vehicle up to speed. You can use the council-run MOT centres in your city. While not a lot of people know about them, it is a way to have your vehicle serviced and you have a better chance of passing without a big bill at the end.
Avoid Premium Fuel
While premium fuel options always look enticing at the petrol station, most drivers really don’t need it. If you have a standard car, you are not going to notice the difference with premium fuel despite its claims that you will see an improvement in performance and more mileage. So, unless you have a sports car or a model that you have been advised to use premium fuel for, simply pass by and choose regular petrol or diesel.
Drive More Efficiently
A lot of people walk instead of driving to save some cash. But, sometimes there are places you have to go by car because of the distance, time constraints or just for convenience. The good news is that there are ways you can save money on your car running costs just by adjusting your driving habits. For example, try to accelerate your vehicle gradually rather than revving. Every time you press hard on the accelerator, more fuel flows to the engine, which means that you use up more petrol and literally burn away your money. The cost per mile to drive your car becomes absolutely insane. In addition, be sure to drive in the correct gear so that your car doesn’t have to work so hard.
Consider a Black Box
A lot of car insurance companies are now offering the opportunity to get a black box installed in your vehicle, which monitors the speeds and the way that you drive. In exchange, you can receive a lower premium. This can be a particularly good option for young drivers and you will notice a real difference in your insurance rates for simply obeying the speed limits like you would do anyway.
Check your Tyres Regularly
The last thing that you want when you have somewhere to go is a breakdown. Of course, this can also hit your wallet hard, as you will need car breakdown services to come out and help. One of the most common reasons that drivers experience breakdowns is due to bad tyres and this is particularly true in the winter. You can prevent this from happening by checking your tyres on a regular basis. The legal minimum tread depth is 1.6 mm but in winter conditions, the AA recommend that your tyres should be at least 3 mm to deal with the snow and ice. To check your tread, place a 20p into the grooves and if you can see the outer band of the coin, then you need to change your tyres.
It is also important to check your tyre pressure on a regular basis. Having your tyres properly inflated means that you can enjoy higher fuel efficiency. Most petrol stations have a machine that can check your pressure for only a couple of pounds and it only takes a few minutes to do.
Take Down the Roof Rack
If you are going on a road trip, you are bound to need your roof rack for bikes or storage. But, if you are just driving to work or the shops then it is time to take it down. Of course, this isn’t for aesthetic, it is because roof racks create wind resistance and this means that your engine has to work harder and use more fuel. It is said that you can improve fuel efficiency by up to 10 percent just by removing your roof rack. Also, be sure to empty your boot and remove any extra junk that is adding weight to your vehicle.
Add a Second Driver to Insurance
If you are classed as a high-risk driver, you will find that your car insurance is sky high. But, if you add a second driver to your vehicle, this can lower your premiums. A second driver should genuinely be someone that will drive your car. This tip doesn’t mean you should cheat to save money. For example, you should not put yourself as the main driver for someone else’s vehicle. This is known as ‘fronting’, which is against the law and insurance companies will see through this.
Turn off Air Conditioning
We know it is tempting to have your air conditioning on all the time when you are driving, but the reality is that it is costing you more money that you realise. Air conditioning uses a lot of fuel and by simply turning it off, you can improve fuel efficiency by up to 10 percent. Of course, we don’t mean that you should be uncomfortable and boiling in your car when the sun is shining; just be careful when you use it. For example, if you are driving at low speeds, it is better to drive with the windows down and get fresh air. But, roll the windows up when you are driving fast to ensure there is less drag and use the air conditioning.
Earn Cashback on your Fuel
When you use your car a lot, your petrol cost per mile soon adds up. One of the best ways to earn a little back every time to pay for fuel is by choosing credit cards or stores that offer cashback. For example, American Express and Tesco are companies that you can use to earn up to five percent cashback on your fuel. You will be surprised how much you can save and enjoy throughout the year!
Pay Road Tax Annually
A lot of people are reluctant to pay their road tax annually and all in one go. After all, we all have so many bills to pay and monthly expenses to budget for that it seems too much money to pay out all at once. But it actually works out cheaper than paying monthly! So, look at it this way; you know it’s paid and can relax, as well as save some money too.
Shop Around for Petrol
Unless you tank is almost empty or you have places to be, you have time to shop around for petrol or diesel. Since the most frequent expense for your car is fuel, you can go on the hunt for the local garages that are going to save you money per litre. You may think that a few pennies are not worth the hassle but it adds up over the year. In fact, saving around 5p every time you fill up could amount to savings of £100 annually! Some supermarkets will also have loyalty cards with points that you can collect to save money in other ways. Just make sure you are not driving miles to get the cheap fuel, as this is counterproductive!
Appeal Parking Charge Notices
When people receive a parking ticket, they often pay it without putting up a fight, even when it was received unfairly in the first place. But, it can be worth appealing your ticket since 56 percent of motorists have been successful and did not have to pay the penalty afterwards. So, if you think that you did not deserve the parking ticket that you received, take photos at the time. There should be clear warning signs that you can see and take a notice of all the details for your appeal. But, if you did deserve the parking ticket, it is best to pay within the time limit specified and this can reduce the amount that you have to pay by 50 percent.
Get Car Parts Yourself
If your car needs repairs and you already know what the problem is, you can buy car parts yourself to save money. All you have to do is source the parts that you need and choose the cheapest option and then you can ask a local garage to fit it for you. A lot of mechanics will be happy to do this for you and you will save money and time by finding the parts by yourself, and only having to pay for the service at the garage.