There’s no getting around the fact that cars are expensive – even “cheap” cars can cause a considerable drain on your resources. The issue is that using public transport might not be appropriate for your circumstances, or with the amount you travel may not work out being any cheaper. As such, there’s still many good reasons to stick with your car for personal transport – but there are things you can do to make it cheaper.
Here are four key areas of motoring where you can make surprising money savings.
Car insurance is always a considerable cost, but it’s a necessary one. There are things you can do to save money, however. Something many people do is they overestimate the value of their car when they’re getting a quote. When they see a question asking the car’s value, they put what they paid for it. That’s not the right thing to do, as that’s not a true representation of your car’s real value. What you should do is use a free valuation tool to get a more accurate valuation for your car – this can have a considerable impact on the quote you’re given, making it much more affordable.
Something else people often overestimate is their mileage. It’s best to err on the side of caution, but if you claim you do 10,000 miles a year and you actually only do 5,000 miles a year, you could stand to save a lot of money by re-evaluating your state mileage limits. Other things you might consider include a black box and regularly shopping around for a new policy quote. Ask your insurance provider what specific options they have for lowering your policy cost.
Fuel is another essential cost, but there are things you can do to considerably mitigate how expensive it is. The first thing to do involves lightening the load on your car by taking unnecessary weight out of it. It’s an easy habit to fill your car’s boot with all manner of junk that you don’t really need – but this can have an effect on your fuel economy. Another tip for saving money on fuel is to modify your driving style – being lighter on the throttle, especially when the car’s cold, and changing up into a higher gear earlier can all have an impact. Brake as little as safely possible, to keep your forward momentum going.
It’s also worth regularly checking on the fuel stations in your area to see which of them can offer you the best prices. If you use supermarket fuel stations you can often get cash back or other loyalty bonuses. If you have a normal car, it’s also never really worth paying for premium fuel.
MOT & servicing
Getting involved with your vehicle’s maintenance is a great way to save money if you’re mechanically minded. Servicing your car yourself can save you considerably on garage labour costs – but only do it if you’re confident in your abilities, or you’re willing to learn. It’s also always worth doing a pre-MOT inspection on your vehicle to ensure the bulbs, tyres, wipers, and seatbelts are all in proper working order – these are common fail items.
It’s also worth investing in getting minor issues repaired as quickly as possible. This is spending money, but you’re actually saving money in the long-run because you’re preventing the issue from getting worse over time. You can even order parts yourself for the garage to fit if you’re confident in what you’re doing.
Buying the cheapest tyres is not always the wisest financial decision – you may be costing yourself more in fuel consumption. It’s always worth investing in good quality fuel-saving tyres from a reputable brand, rather than getting the cheapest ones you can find. It’s also worth regularly ensuring they’re inflated to the correct PSI rating, and that there’s no tread wear. You can check with a 20p piece, or a very cheap tread depth gauge for more accurate readings.
Something else to consider is where you park your car. Try and park where there are no parking charges, which may involve a little bit more of a walk if you have to park outside the city centres, but it can mean considerably fuel savings. You might also want to think about volunteering your car for a car share service, or simply taking friends/family members with you for a contribution to your fuel costs. This can help save money as well as limit the number of cars on the road.
Be mindful when driving to avoid potholes and to avoid curbing your car if possible, this can all put extra stress on your tyres and your wheels/suspension, which may require them to be replaced or repaired sooner than is strictly necessary. Preventing any damage to your car is much easier and cheaper than repairing it.