Whether you’ve put down the first deposit or paid the full price in cash, finally getting your hands on a new car is a great feeling. It’s one of the biggest transactions most people ever make, second only to buying a house.
Unfortunately, the expenses don’t stop when you buy the car. Large repair and maintenance costs seem to creep up around every corner, often putting a major dent in your budget.
The good news is that there are many ways to cut down on your car expenses. Some will help you shave off a few pounds here and there, while others can easily add up to thousands of pounds in savings in the long run. Let’s take a look at six simple and effective ways to save money on your car.
Save on Maintenance
Performing frequent oil changes is one of the most important factors in extending the life of your vehicle. It’s recommended that you change the oil and oil filter every 3,000 miles. This also applies to your air filter, as dirty filters can reduce your mileage by an average of 10%.
Another way to save on maintenance is to perform a tune-up on your car. This can help you save between 25% and 33% on fuel. Getting your tyres balanced will help you save up to £200 per year and prevent damage to your suspension system. Be sure to also check brake, clutch, coolant and transmission fluid levels to save up to £250 per year in expenses.
Reduce Insurance Costs
Since car insurance is a legal requirement in the UK, there’s no way to avoid paying for it. However, you can reduce this cost in a number of ways. For example, some insurers will provide discounts on their premiums if a customer installs a dashcam.
This will not only cut down on your insurance payment but could also save you in court if you’re ever in an accident. Another way to save on car insurance is to shop around when your policy is due for renewal instead of accepting your existing provider’s renewal quote. Quotezone.co.uk, for example, will let you compare car insurance quotes from over 100 different providers in just a few minutes, making it much more likely you’ll save money on your policy.
This probably goes without saying, but avoiding traffic violations and speeding tickets is another easy way to save money because driving convictions can not only result in fines and penalties, they also push up the cost of your insurance.
On most public roads, driving aggressively ultimately won’t get you to your destination any faster. Avoid speeding, hard braking and rapid acceleration to save an average of 5% in fuel expenses in town and up to 33% on highways. Set your cruise control to 50mph instead of driving 60mph to save an average of £162 in yearly fuel costs.
Even turning the air conditioner off can save you money, because research suggests that keeping it running can cost you up to 25% more in fuel expenses. In summer, open your windows when driving at slow speeds to let hot air out. When you’re on the highway, it would be better to keep your windows closed to reduce drag.
Consider taking public transport, cycling or walking to nearby destinations whenever possible. For your work commute, you can save a significant amount of money by carpooling. This will save you on fuel costs, as well as wear and tear. Alternatively, consider being the driver and helping out your colleagues with a lift for some extra cash.
Develop Fuel-Saving Habits
Being more mindful of your driving habits can go a long way in reducing your fuel costs and potentially saving you from being involved in costly accidents. For instance, keep an eye on traffic to anticipate stops and slow-downs. When approaching slower traffic, coast instead of hitting the brakes.
Maintaining a steady speed on the highway is also a great way to save money. If your car has cruise control, make the most of it and set your speed to go with the flow of traffic. On multi-lane highways, avoid getting stuck behind slow cars when it means having to slow down and speed up again to perform an overtake.
Read the Owner’s Manual
Most drivers don’t take the time to read the owner’s manual for their car, but there’s often a wealth of information in it that will help you save money. Being knowledgeable about your car can help you avoid being overcharged by your service centre for unnecessary repairs and replacements.
You can easily save thousands of pounds on your car every year by simply being more mindful of the way you use it. Keep a steady pace, brush up on your mechanical knowledge, perform frequent maintenance and take a look at your insurance premiums to make a huge difference in your vehicle’s running costs.