The cost of motoring keeps rising these days, with the price of petrol constantly creeping upwards, while insurance premiums stretch closer to the incredible at every renewal. However, a frugally minded motorist can save themselves some motoring money with these ten tips for forward thinking and light-footed driving.
Plan your route
We don’t just mean taking the road of least-traffic-resistance for your journey, but to plan out how you’ll use your car in the coming years.
Cars are major investments for most of us and planning can save you money. Calculate how many miles you think you’ll cover every year and buy the right car to cover the distance.
If you’re going to cover over 10,000 miles per year then a new or newly new diesel car – perhaps via a PCP car financing scheme – would make a lot of sense. The latest diesel engines are by far the most economical and a new or nearly new car will cost you less in servicing over the long run.
However, if lower mileages will be on your odometer over the year, then an older, higher mileage car could suit you. Sure, they will probably need more servicing attention than a new car, and there will be the yearly MOT, but if you’re only driving 2,000 miles a year the car is getting less wear and tear.
Get the right spec
Whenever you’re thinking of getting a new car, always research the trim structure of that model to see what standard equipment came with what trim level.
You might find that certain models came with sat-nav, air-con or leather seats, items that are all desirable come sale time. Also watch out for cars that have been heavily modified from standard, as these may be hard to sell on.
Drive the savings
Regardless of the car you own, if you put a focus on your eco-driving skills you can really shave some big chunks off your fuel bill.
Accelerate gently and only brake when your anticipation of the road conditions ahead tells you to, and you’ll start saving fuel right away. Use your car’s in-dash mpg readout as an eco-drill-sergeant who must be beaten on every journey!
Save on service
Get your green ‘n’ serene eco-driving skills sharpened and you should see longer term savings on servicing, as well as fuel. Braking less, accelerating gently and generally driving your car in a more conservative manner will wear out your brakes and tyres less, meaning fewer replacements.
The vast majority of car insurance quotes are obtained through price comparison websites these days, and if you’re not online come insurance time, you could pay the (higher) price.
Even if your car is rare, specialist or high performance, make sure you run the details through a multi-insurer comparison site to check for value coverage.
Only insure what you need
Consider your car’s use and cover that risk only. If you plan to travel 2,000 miles in a year, will never use your car to commute to work and always park it in a high security garage, make sure your insurer knows, as lower risks attract lower premiums.
Keep it clean
It might sound obvious, but neglect your car all winter with no washing and waxing and come summer when you want to spruce it up in the sun, you might find the paint is dull and wheels are flaking. You’ve just wiped a huge chunk of value off your car.
Keep your car in good condition year-round and when it comes time to sell it, you’ll be looking at top dollar, not bargain basement.
Service with a smile
Beauty is only skin deep and gleaming paintwork only tells half the maintenance story. A car with plenty of relevant service history will sell much quicker than a car with no receipts and a shady past.
Also, a car that’s low on oil, has dull sparkplugs and sludge in the radiator will use more fuel for every revolution of the engine, costing you more per mile. Too flat tyres will also sap fuel economy.