Saving Money Via Your Car – A How-To Guide

how to save money with your car how-to guide

On the whole, a car is likely to be the second biggest purchase of one’s life, after a house or apartment. Sadly, our trusty motor can often exist as a constant hole-in-the pocket burner, with costs such as fuel, insurance, and maintenance taking up most of the expenses and that’s on top of the purchase itself, whether that be a lump sum or on finance. 

However, all is not lost. These common and often unnoticeable expenses don’t have to mean that your life will be subject to public transport for the foreseeable future. Cold wet mornings at the bus shelter or train station aren’t an inevitability, as there are several ways you can reduce the cost of your motoring. 

This article explores a number of ways you can save money on the daily commute without needing to give up your car! 

Making The Purchase 

It goes without saying that most of us would like a brand-new car. The smell of fresh leather and upholstery that has just been unveiled from below the plastic seat covers is nothing shy of delightful. However, it is worth taking a step back and asking yourself — do I really need a new car? The second a car leaves the showroom and those unscathed tyres make contact with the tarmac, depreciation kicks in. Generally, a car will lose half of its residual value in the first three years after its registered on the road. The Fiat Panda 0.9 TwinAir is one of the quickest vehicles on the UK market to depreciate —holding on to 26.7 per cent of its starting price after three years. 

If you purchase your car from a dealer, timing is everything. Remember, like any other sales business, car dealerships and their salespeople have targets to meet. Often these targets will be measured in quarters relating to the business year, meaning the end of March, June, September, and December are a good time to get your hands on a new motor. Salespeople will be more willing to negotiate as they will be attempting to shift more vehicles in a bid to increase their quota. They will also be more likely to offer generous finance deals. 

Along with the ends of business quarters, registration dates can also effect how busy a showroom will be. Try to avoid purchasing a new car at this time, as this is a popular time for buyers. Likewise, take into consideration the class of vehicle you’re going to be buying, with winter offering better deals on a convertible vehicle, as they are considered ‘out-of-season’. 

When deciding what you really need from a car, taking your time to is crucial. The decision you make can impact the money you are going to spend, both in that instance, and in the long term. The larger the vehicle, the more fuel it will use, quite often the higher the insurance premiums will be, and perhaps the road tax will be. 

Choosing The Best Insurance 

This is particularly important for younger drivers, as insurance can be one of the most financially crippling factors when running a car. MoneySavingExpert.com reported in June 2019 that the average driver between the age of 17 and 22 is paying approximately £1,400 in premiums. There are ways to reduce your insurance costs though. Parking your car in a garage is more likely to deter damage and theft reducing the cost of your insurance, for instance. Avoiding speeding convictions will also go a long way in keeping your costs low. The type of car you’re driving will impact the cost of your insurance too. 

However, there are often circumstances where you are restricted to sharing a car with a family member or partner. In the event of this, especially if they are driving a car with a considerably large engine capacity, it is often easier to bring down the cost by keeping them insured on the vehicle, as having a ‘responsible’ second or third driver is deemed better by insurers. 

Though it might appear simplistic, lots of people don’t shop around and often go for the first quote they get. Price comparison sites can be useful and often they will produce a plethora of good deals, but don’t be afraid to get in contact with the insurers directly. Give them a call and get your best bargaining hat on. Even if they don’t reduce the cost of the insurance, they might be able to throw in some complementary breakdown or windscreen cover. 

Furthermore, there’s a common misconception that third party insurance is the cheapest as it offers the least protection in the result of an accident. For the vast majority of occasions this can be the case, however, drivers who opt for third party-only insurance are often deemed high risk. Therefore, opting instead for fully comprehensive insurance can actually be cheaper. 

Maintaining Your Vehicle 

Experiencing a breakdown can be one of the most heartbreaking moments of owning a car, especially when you’re unsure of the extent of the damage. A blown head gasket, a snapped track rod end, or a radiator leak — they are all likely to empty the piggy bank. But there are certain measures you can take to help limit the chances of issues like these from occurring. 

It’s also important not to overlook the smaller components of your car such as new tires and air / oil filters, as they are vital to ensure that your ride is smooth. Every time you change your oil, you should replace your oil filter, helping to protect your engine. Alongside impacting fuel efficiency in a negative manner, a dirty or clogged oil filter will impact the flow of oil around your engine, which can, in turn, lead to engine failure. 

Keeping an eye on your car’s fluid levels is a good habit to have too. Regularly topping up your radiator coolant, your brake fluid, and your clutch fluid, as opposed to simply doing so when your car is heading for its MOT, are all ways of extending the engine’s overall lifespan. Similarly, use a car tyre pump to regularly top up your tyres to the manufacturers recommended PSI. Not only will this increase your fuel economy, it will extend the usable life of your tires. 

As well as the above-mentioned methods of saving money via your car, there are also a number of ways you can cut costs when you’re driving, including accelerating and braking gently. Did you know that it takes 20 per cent more fuel accelerating from a stationary position, than from four-to-five miles per hour? Think smarter when you’re driving and you could be saving yourself hundreds, if not thousands of pounds every single year!

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