Want to know how to pay less for running your car?
Tips from Logbook Loans about running your car more cheaply….
Summer is here and it’s a great time to get out and about in your car. But unfortunately, running a car can be very expensive. In fact your car is likely to be one of your major ongoing expenses.
So are there ways that we can cut down the amount of money we spend each month on keeping our cars on the road? Let’s take a look.
1. Is your journey really necessary?
This may seem like an odd place to start but one easy way to save money on your monthly motoring costs is to double check the need for each journey. It can become all too easy to start using our cars when we don’t really need to. This can cause costs to rise without them really needing to.
So always question your need to take a car. Could you walk or cycle where are going, or use public transport or get a lift? Also plan your itinerary so that you can accomplish various things in one journey rather than going in and out all day in separate journeys.
Could you change your working patterns for example to work from home more and to use online meeting facilities rather than face to face?
There is a lot that can be done to cut down non-essential use of the car, giving you more money to enjoy the times that you do use it.
2. Car sharing
Leading on from the above, if you do need to use your car regularly for work then another option to explore is car sharing. This could either be with someone you know, such as a neighbour or colleague, or there are various websites around such as Car Share – where you may be able to find others doing a similar journey to you.
Car sharing – even on an occasional basis – could enable you to keep the convenience of using your car for work but reduce both costs and the wear and tear on the car.
Fuel is one of the highest costs of running a car, so it makes sense to economise wherever possible. The first thing to do is to be careful where you buy your fuel and check carefully the type of fuel you are buying, as it is easy to end up buying premium fuel without realising. Do shop around for fuel as supermarkets often have special promotions which can be a good deal.
Also be aware about other factors that can affect your fuel consumption. For example, air conditioning and additional weight in the car can all increase fuel consumption. Also try to drive smoothly and avoid hard braking as lots of accelerating and braking can drain fuel.
Remember to keep an eye on the development of electric cars as they can be much more economical. Check out our article Petrol vs Electric Cars for more information.
It’s really important to keep your car regularly serviced and well maintained. Our recent article on Car Maintenance – all you need to know can provide more help and advice on this. But the better you maintain your car, the more efficiently it will run and this will save you money. It is good to learn basic car maintenance skills yourself but also try to find an expert that you can trust for when more difficult issues arise. It can be tempting to ignore signs that something is wrong with your car but the longer you leave such things, the more difficult they will be to fix.
If your car is over 3 years old it will need to have a valid MOT certificate otherwise you could be fined up to £1,000 or even prosecuted. If you maintain your car well then it should hopefully pass the MOT. One thing you could do is to carry out some pre-MOT checks yourself before the test itself to make sure you are not going to fail on something simple. You can see the list of MOT Inspection Checks here.
Also be careful where you get the MOT done. Many councils have MOT test centres for council vehicles that are also open to the public. Check your nearest Council MOT testing centre here. Also check out service centres such as Kwikfit and Halfords that provide MOTs as a one-off service.
It is good to keep your car clean, not just so that it looks better but so that it is in the best possible condition and you can check that everything is undamaged and is working as effectively as it should.
But don’t throw money away at car washes or car hand valet services. It is cheap and easy to wash and vacuum your car yourself and if you put in the initial effort to do this regularly it should soon become an ingrained habit rather than a major chore. Take a look at our articles about how to clean your car properly both inside and out.
Car insurance is one of the biggest expenses of running a car. So you need to make sure that you are getting a good deal. Every time your insurance is due for renewal it is worth doing some research to see whether it would pay to change insurers.
Use car insurance comparison websites and also look at other companies that do not appear on these websites. It’s also a good idea to ask around to find recommendations from family and friends.
When taking out car insurance, have a clear idea beforehand of what your needs are so that you are not paying for things that you do not need. Though most people now choose to take out comprehensive cover rather than either third party or third party, fire and theft.
It can also be worth opting for a slightly higher excess as this usually saves you money on your premium – and hopefully you won’t need to use it anyway.
There are also a few ways of reducing your insurance with some insures through additional devices, like dashcams, or optional schemes like the Aviva Drive App.
One of the hidden costs of running a car is parking charges. These can really mount up if you are not careful. Driving to work – or even to the station – on a regular basis can mean you forking out a lot of money without realising.
So think carefully about other options – for example those mentioned in Tips 1 and 2 above. If it is essential for you to drive then try to buy a parking permit or pass if at all possible as this could save you money. Also take a look at websites such as Parkopedia, Just Park and Park on My Drive and that can be invaluable in finding good value parking in difficult areas.
9. Road taxes and tolls
All car owners in the UK pay road tax. This can vary according to the type of car but in general is £145 per year. But in addition, there are an increasing number of toll roads and other more localised types of charges such as the London Congestion Charge. Where possible try to plan your journey to avoid the areas and times where charges apply, unless this will lead to significantly increased time or fuel consumption which could cancel out any savings that you do actually make.
Last but not least, it can be quite easy to pick up fines without realising. Whether it’s for parking or speeding or driving in a bus lane at the wrong time you can end up having to pay a lot of money that you had not anticipated. So always be vigilant to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
If you follow the above tips you should be able to keep your car on the road and in good condition, whilst still managing to be careful with your money. We wish you hours of safe and happy driving this summer.
Remember to check back here soon for more financial and lifestyle tips from Logbook Loans.