Owning and driving a car can be one of the most costly parts of your life. But you can save significant amounts of money by cutting your motoring costs if you know how.
This guide takes you through the best ways to save money on the costs of driving a car by using some simple tips that you might not have realised you could do.
Our Ultimate Guide to Extending the Life of your Car shows you how to maintain your car to save you needing to buy a new car or keep repairing it in the future. Just making sure your car is maintained properly can mean you won't have to pay hefty repair bills when it fails on you. If you want to sell your car, you will also have a vehicle that is higher value than it would have been if it hadn't been properly looked after.
There are methods to finding cheaper car insurance, they are listed below. Never be tempted not to tell the truth when you apply for cover. It will only make your policy invalid if you come to make a claim, and could cost you far more in the long term.
Comprehensive cover might be best - It's a myth that 3rd party insurance will always be cheaper than fully comprehensive cover. In fact 3rd party insurance might actually be more expensive than fully comprehensive. Insurers sometimes see people who take out 3rd party cover as more of a risk than other drivers just because they choose to buy the cover.
It has been found that when a driver gets to 40 3rd party insurance becomes roughly the same price as comprehensive. Insurers discovered that young drivers were opting for 3rd party cover because it lowered their high insurance costs, but the insurers put an end to this because comprehensive cover protects both the driver and the insurer and it is a better type of cover for young people to have.
3rd party insurance is where you are covered for damage to other people's property but not your own. It is legally required for you to be able to drive on public roads.
Young drivers - Increase your chances of finding a cheaper deal - If you are a young driver in your twenties and under, consider using an insurance broker to find you the best deal. This may open the door to specific policies for young drivers such as schemes where you can pay as you drive. This is where a tracking system is fitted into the car and tracks how the car is driven. The better the driver, the cheaper the insurance will be.
Young drivers - choose a cheap car to insure - Young drivers can reduce their insurance costs by buying a car that doesn't have a large engine and isn't modified. These are signs for the insurer that the driver will be a risk and so the premium will be higher.
Young drivers - pay yearly - Paying for car insurance monthly can increase costs over paying yearly because insurers add interest rates to monthly payments. With an already expensive payment, saving that bit of extra cash can help.
Don't just use one comparison site - Not all insurance comparison websites have the same insurers and some insurers are not on any comparison website. Check three or four of the main sites before you make your decision.
Fuel is generally the number one expense for motorists. In recent months the price of fuel has decreased from the highs we have seen over the last few years. The long term trend is for these costs to keep rising. Petrol is a non-renewable fossil fuel, it will eventually run out, and before that happens prices will rise again.
Search around for the best fuel prices in your area. Not all petrol stations have the same prices, if you consistently visit a garage that has more expensive fuel, those extra costs will add up.
Your style of driving can affect your car. If you drive aggressively you will use more fuel, and you will cause more wear and tear to the car. Your car will be more likely to need repairs a lot faster if it is driven aggressively.
You will use more petrol if your tyres aren't properly inflated. Check tyre pressure often so that they are within the car manufacturers recommended limits. You might be surprised how much under-inflated tyres can add to your fuel bill.
The more you have your air conditioning on, the more fuel you will use. Try to reduce the amount of time you have the air conditioning on for if you can. If it is unnecessary because it isn't a particularly hot day, turn it off and it will help your fuel efficiency, saving you money.
A heavier car will use more fuel and cost you more in the long term. If you are carrying around unnecessary belongings take them out and you could make a considerable saving.
Having an expert look over your car can cut your motoring costs because they will be able to tell if your car is running properly. A car that is not functioning as it should can use more fuel, degrade quicker and cost you more in the long term.
A little known tip is that there are council run MOT centres around the UK. They will MOT your car at a similar price to commercial garages, but there is no incentive for them to fail the car in order for you use them to make repairs. You are sometimes at risk of this happening by going to smaller independent garages. That is not to say that all independent garages are bad, just that you should be careful. This resource has lots of ways to save money on your MOT.
If you don't drive often, consider car sharing with someone else, especially if you have the same commute as a colleague. There are also car clubs you can join that allow you to use a car when you need it, on a pay as you go basis. Do the sums and work out if anything like this will be cheaper for you than owning a car.
Of course, sometimes you might not mind paying slightly more to have the convenience of your own car.
There are plenty of ways to save money on the costs of motoring. Sometimes it's about doing research to find cheaper providers and other times it's about looking after your car and treating it well.