The cost of owning a car has never been more expensive, fuel prices are at an all time high, finding cheap car insurance is becoming more and more difficult (the average policy is increasing by 44p per day) and the increase in VAT to 20% has added to the cost of maintenance and repair.
The recent budget announcements did little to ease the burden for UK car owners; with a 1p per litre fuel duty cut and plans to scrap the next fuel duty rise, many feel that this is simply not enough to generate any real saving on fuel costs and that a substantial reduction is needed.
So what can you do to drive down the cost of owning your car?
Money Saving Tips
Get the cheapest fuel: It’s worth shopping round when you fill up on fuel, the price per litre can vary by as much as 6-8p even in your local area, and let’s face it; every penny counts when it comes to running a car these days.
To save you the legwork, make use of a website such as petrolprices.com or similar, this will send you regular updates as to which is the cheapest petrol station in your area (based on the postcode you feed in).
Share a lift to work: It might seem obvious but, do you have a work colleague who lives nearby? If the answer is yes then get in touch to see whether they’d be happy to lift share.
This will cut your fuel consumption in half but why not go one better and bike to work instead?
Shop around for your insurance: Every year, millions of motorists in the UK forget to look for a cheaper car insurance policy and let their policy auto renew; costing them billions in overpayments in the process.
Make sure you get quotes from at least 3-4 companies to allow you to find a policy that offers the cover level you need at an affordable price. Comparison websites can do this for you so it is a good idea to run a quote on both a comparison website and with a couple of direct insurers to get the best spread of quotes.
Keep your mileage low: When your insurer calculates the price of your premium they take your mileage into account. Put simply, the higher your annual estimated mileage, the higher your insurance premium.
Therefore, it is important that you report this figure as accurately to ensure your car insurance is accurately priced. It might be tempting to report an artificially low mileage in order to shave money off the price of your policy, but this will void your cover should the insurer find out.
Keep your servicing up to date: If you make sure your car is serviced regularly, you will ensure that the engine operates at its maximum efficiency. In particular, you should carry out a regular oil change and renew the oil and air filters as this will have the biggest impact on fuel economy (and should extend the life of your vehicles engine).
Improve your security: If you can improve the security of your car by adding an immobiliser or alarm, store it in a garage overnight, etc, you can report this to your insurer to receive a discount off your insurance policy.
The discount you receive will vary on how greatly improved the security of your vehicle is but you can usually secure a bigger discount by making sure the alarm system you fit is Thatcham approved.
Inflate your tyres: Running your vehicle with under inflated tyres is one sure-fire way of using more fuel and wearing them out much more quickly. Ensuring tyres are inflated to manufacturers recommended pressures will help you to achieve maximum MPG (miles per gallon) when you drive your vehicle carefully and whilst avoiding harsh acceleration, etc.