Reduce your monthly motoring costs
January can be a tough month, Christmas is over once again and many of us are carrying a little extra holiday weight. On top of that, our purse strings are feeling a little tighter and pay day seems a long distance away.
At this point we start to evaluate our spending and start to budget for the year ahead.
Owning a car, although an essential for most of us, doesn’t always have to cost an arm and a leg.
Here are some top tips for reducing your costs, from changing your driving style to shopping around for those motoring extras.
Car maintenance – DIY can save you money
Regular car maintenance is essential, so make sure you have your car serviced regularly, especially during the winter months. In between services, there are things you can check to ensure it runs efficiently and avoids any unwanted trips to the garage.
Tyre pressure – Low pressure causes tyres to have uneven contact with the road. Not only does this affect the tyres performance, but it will cause your tyres to wear out quicker. It also reduces fuel efficiency and increases C02 emissions. Therefore, it’ll be costing you more in fuel and potentially for a new set of tyres.
Fluid levels – This includes oil, brake fluid, coolant, power-steering fluid and transmission fluid. Topping these up can improve engine life and road safety.
Filters – Relatively inexpensive, changing these can improve engine life, increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.
Improve your driving style
Did you know the way you handle and drive your car can save you money and the environment? Most modern cars are well-equipped with technology that reduces fuel consumption and C02 emissions, but making sure your car is well maintained and handled with the right driving style can ensure you get the most mileage from your fuel.
Extra weight – Do you have a roof rack or tend to store a lot in your boot? Roof racks can affect the car’s aerodynamics which cause it to use up more fuel. So, take it off when it’s not needed and remove any extra weight.
When you’re driving – Unnecessary accelerating and braking can cost you in fuel. Try to keep your revs low (between 2000 and 3000), drive in top gear from around 30 MPH and avoid warming the engine no longer than 30 seconds at a standstill. It will warm up faster being driven. Your engine burns fuel whilst idling, so if your car comes with Start/Stop technology – use it.
Shop around to reduce your costs
Fuel – The choice of petrol station can come down to convenience more than anything, but if you have the time to shop around it can pay off. Many of them also offer loyalty schemes with money off vouchers or supermarket vouchers.
Car Insurance – Again shopping around for car insurance guarantees you’ll get the best deal, so take the time to do so. Check the level of cover is suitable for you and relative to the value of your car.
Could you increase the excess or add an experienced driver to the policy? Both of these could reduce the cost. Paying monthly can reduce outgoings but could also cost you in the long run. It’s also worth asking your current provider for any discounts if you’ve been with them for a while.
Parking – Are you paying a lot for parking? Make sure you compare other car parks near you, and expand your search that little bit further. If it means walking an extra 5 minutes or using Park and Ride facilities, it could save you in the long run.
You could also save money by looking at long-term parking or paying monthly. Also consider car sharing with a work colleague to split the cost.