Reduce servicing costs
Although garage servicing costs are high, you can save a considerable amount on servicing just by shopping around. But this doesn’t mean avoiding getting your car serviced. Minor repairs left to get worse will become very expensive to repair.
Also, stick to the servicing intervals recommended by the car manufacturer and always keep a full service history to help maintain the value of your car.
Take care of your tyres
You can prolong your tyres’ life by taking proper care of them:
- Ensure that they are correctly inflated as over or under-inflated tyres aren’t only dangerous, they will wear out more quickly and will increase your fuel consumption.
- Check the tread for any foreign matter such as stones and chips that might have lodged there.
- Have your wheels aligned; badly aligned wheels can double tyre wear rate.
While it’ll save you money to make your tyres last, you must never drive on damaged tyres. Tyres must not have less than the legal minimum tread depth of 1.6 mm across the central three quarters of the width of the tyre, with the AA recommending at least 3 mm for winter driving.
Clear out your car
Many people use their car boots as a dumping ground for all manner of items. The heavier your load, the more fuel you will use – which will make a big difference over time.
Think about your driving style
The way we drive can make a huge difference to fuel consumption. (You can calculate yours here.)
Every car has an optimal fuel efficiency typically around 25 mph to 55 mph. Driving at 70 mph reduces efficiency by 17%, while driving at 80 mph reduces it by a staggering 28%. Keep your speed down and save fuel.
Other ways in which you can improve your fuel efficiency are:
- Drive smoothly, accelerating and decelerate gently.
- Avoid unnecessary braking by keeping a reasonable distance from the car in front and reading the road.
- Avoid unnecessary stopping and starting in queues – try to keep your car rolling but avoid slipping the clutch.
- Change gear sooner but avoid labouring the engine.
- Reduce the amount you use your air conditioning as it can increase your fuel consumption. However, be sure to stick to the manufacturer’s recommendations about running it periodically.
- Electrical loads increase fuel consumption, so turn off your heated rear windscreen, defoggers and headlights. Of course, only if safe to do so.
- If your car is modern and has start-stop technology, make sure it’s activated. This will help reduce fuel consumption when you’re sat in a queue.
Keep your car aerodynamic
Car manufacturers make big efforts to improve the aerodynamics of their design to reduce drag and improve fuel economy. But if you leave roof bars and boxes on when you’re not using them, you won’t be helping your fuel economy.
Reduce CO2 to keep car tax down
If you’re looking to buy a new car, opt for one with low CO2 emissions and you’ll pay a lower first year rate and subsequent annual Vehicle Excise Duty. You’ll find CO2 emissions information on the car’s V5C registration document.
Electric cars are totally exempt from vehicle tax.
The second time the vehicle is taxed, the standard rate is £140 for most cars and £130 for alternative fuel vehicles.
Highest polluting cars could cost up to £2,000 extra in the first year.
Cars costing more than £40,000 are subject to an additional charge of £310 for five years after the first year.
To calculate your vehicle tax rate, use the Vehicle Certification Agency’s calculator.
Winter-proof your car
Autumn and winter are the worst times of year for car breakdowns and insurance claims. So, it's important to ensure that your car is ready to cope with the winter months.
Make sure that lights are clean and working A dirty head light can severely reduce your ability to see the road in front.
It is always dangerous to drive with a dirty windscreen, but even more so with the low winter sun when there is a high risk of being dazzled in the mornings and late afternoons. Keep your windscreen clean at all times and ensure that your screenwash is topped up regularly.
De-ice before you set off. Make sure that you remove ice from your windows and mirrors before you set off, so allow a little extra time for doing so. Keep de-icer and an ice scraper handy.
Car batteries are heavily used in the winter months, so ensure that yours is in good condition. If you haven’t changed it recently, get it checked out and replace it before it lets you down.
- Winter tyres
In the UK it isn’t compulsory to fit winter tyres, though it is in several other European countries. Winter tyres are made using a different compound which gives a better grip in the cold and uses a different tread pattern which is safer when driving on snow. Even though they are not mandatory, they are becoming increasingly popular in the UK, and they are well worth considering.
Remember to always take your time at junctions and keep on the lookout for cyclists, pedestrians and motorcycles which can be difficult to spot after dark.
Choosing the right car insurance will save you money in the long run, and it’s not always best to go for the cheapest premium. Ask yourself these questions:
- Will you need a courtesy car if your car is stolen or written off?
- Will you need cover for legal costs where you’re not to blame for an accident? This could include claiming compensation for loss of income due to personal injury.
If your needs are covered by your insurer then you will save unnecessary expenditure should you need to make a claim.
Find out more about insuring your car with MORE THAN