How to cut your driving costs

September 11th, 2014 - Posted by in Blog, Saving Money

driving costs

These days, the expenditure associated with driving seems never to end. Of course, there is the capital cost of vehicles to consider and – in many ways – car manufacturers have made great strides in providing the road going public with better and better cars for less outlay. Nevertheless, car finance, lease deals, tax, insurance, fuel and parts all seem to get more expensive with every subsequent year. Running a car costs thousands of pounds per annum for an average motorist. However, there are some measures that every car owner can take to reduce their expenditure when driving about. Indeed, a good many of these measures are also suited to van owners, bikers and owners of commercial vehicles, too.

Financial Outlay

Many car owners think about their car’s cost as a fixed monthly expenditure, rather than a single lump sum. This is because a great many of us choose to purchase our vehicles on finance. However, far too many people are seduced by the car dealer’s finance package rather than choosing to shop around. Zero percent financing – for the initial period of a loan, at least – have caused many otherwise financially savvy people I know to opt for these sorts of shop front deals. Instead, independent car financing can often work out cheaper over the longer term. Once a car has been found, these financial products can often compete very well with anything you might find on the forecourt. They are best suited to people who are used to managing their own finances well and who have a good credit history, however. Better still, pay for the car from savings and avoid a finance deal altogether.

Buy Second Hand

For some, it is the allure of a new car that appeals, but it is simply cheaper to buy a used car than a brand new one. Even with sweeteners like the latest license plate and new car warranty deals, buying second hand means less depreciation. Simply put, used vehicles drop in value at a slower rate on average compared with new ones. This can mean that the cost of motoring year-on-year become significantly cheaper.

Run Your Car Efficiently

Over the last decade, fuel costs have been the most important aspect of car expenditure. The price we pay at the pumps these days by far exceeds what previous generations of car owners had to pay and the bad news is that it is not going to drop any time soon. According to the RAC, the price of petrol rose by 23 per cent in the last two years alone and the cost increase of diesel outstripped even that woeful figure.

Having your tyres properly inflated and with the correct balancing, will have a significant effect on your car’s fuel efficiency. If you run your car with under-inflated tyres, for instance, then a proportion of the energy generated by the engine is simply lost in unwanted friction. Poor tyres mean that you waste money at the pumps and. Instead of wasting money at the pumps, you can book an online appointment with UK Tyre’s dealer Point S and keep your tyres properly inflated and balanced. If you are replenishing your car more often than you would like, it becomes harder to pick and choose your time to fill up, meaning that you can all too easily miss out on supermarket petrol deals and temporary fluctuations in the price of fuel at your local station.

Lower Your Insurance Costs

Most of us buy our car insurance policies annually and don’t spend much time checking on the market in the interim. Indeed, many of my friends simply renew with the same insurer year on year. This is a big mistake, even if the price of your policy has fallen a little since the year before for whatever reason. Always use price comparison sites to compare multiple insurers in one go. Using an insurance broker is another good way of checking several underwriters in one go, but you will expect to have to pay for the service, usually included in the price quoted to you.

If you have others included on your insurance policy, then consider if they really need to be on it. Younger drivers, in particular, tend to cost more to insure so it may well be worth taking them off your policy. According to the AA, one in five drivers have a road accident during their first year on the road, so experience is what matters for many insurers. Like inexperienced drivers, anyone with a recent driving conviction will probably make the annual cost of your insurance shoot up. If they need to use the car from time to time, then explore the possibility of insuring them on a per-day or per-week basis instead. Many big brands in the insurance market now offer this kind of insure-as-you-drive service and it is not the niche industry that once it was.

Mechanical Costs

Buying an extended warranty for your car’s parts can be done privately as well as through the dealer where you bought the vehicle. Like financial products, such as loans and leases, the best advice is to shop around. Of course, it could save you a great deal of money if work is required on your car, but a parts warranty is something that many car owners choose not to have, because it is a motoring expense which is non-essential. Nonetheless, keeping your car in good mechanical condition, with regular oil changes for example, can mean that you don’t face unwelcome news when in comes to your MOT test. Finding a reputable mechanic that you trust can be invaluable when reducing motoring costs, so ask friends and family for recommendations rather than opting immediately for a local garage because it is simply convenient.

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