There’s no denying it, owning a car can be a real drain on your finances. But for many people, a car is an essential part of life and something that isn’t negotiable. If your wheels are emptying your bank account on a regular basis, check out these ideas for motoring on less money…
Move in on the Maintenance
The regular ongoing maintenance involved in car ownership is where many people have difficulties. The problem with this, is that a car that doesn’t receive regular maintenance checks will inevitably be visiting the garage more frequently than one that is kept ticking over nicely by frequent care and attention from a savvy owner.
Regular maintenance like changing the oil, oil filter and air filter isn’t rocket science and if you do it yourself, you will save money. Why pay a garage mechanic to do something you can do yourself? It might take a little longer and you’ll need a good soak in the bath afterwards – but think of the sweet satisfaction you’ll feel. Get familiar with your car’s user manual and if necessary invest in an additional maintenance manual for your car’s year, make and model – it will pay for itself in no time when you realise all the fixes and maintenance you’ll be able to attend to yourself.
Getting fresh tyres on a regular basis can put the squeeze on an already tight budget, especially when unexpected punctures occur. But don’t assume a car tyre with a puncture is no longer viable. New techniques mean the lives of punctured tyres can be extended. Depending on where the damage is on the tread and the conditions at the time of the puncture, many tyres previously consigned to the rubbish heap can now be successfully repaired. If your tyre is damaged, but you’re not sure whether or not it will respond to specialist treatment, call in a service that undertakes mobile puncture repairs. They will be able to come to you, assess the puncture and act accordingly. The beauty of mobile puncture repairs is that they fix tyres if they can – but when they can’t, they are still able to fit a new replacement tyre, keeping you on the road.
Another tyre tip to remember is to keep them operating at their optimum pressure (you should be able to find this information either in the car’s manual, manufacturer’s website or even printed on the interior of the car somewhere). You get best performance from your car when the tyres are pumped correctly, so check pressures with the air line at the petrol station when you fill up.
Jump in the Car Pool
Do you drive to work or college? Why not consider sharing the journey everyday with a fellow work colleague or student? Ask them to contribute to fuel costs and see your expenses cut considerably. Obviously, the more passengers you transport, the more you can charge – but remember the heavier the load, the higher the fuel consumption!
Shop Around for Insurance
Car insurance is a competitive and volatile business where rates and conditions are ever-changing. It pays to shop around because deals vary enormously. Cars with smaller engines attract lower premiums and if you can park it off road or even better in a garage, you should get a better deal. Equally, if you only drive a limited number of miles annually, you can chip away at your premiums. Keep an open mind and don’t just look at the biggest companies on the price comparison websites, be prepared to go off-piste and approach niche companies directly – when it comes to car insurance savings, research and tenacity pays off.
Ditch Bad Habits
Change your driving habits and over time you can save on fuel. If you are one of those drivers who likes to rev their engines for effect, stop doing it now! Not only is it really annoying, it wastes fuel. The more smooth your driving style, the better your fuel consumption. Selecting the correct gear for the conditions, accelerating and braking smoothly and driving more slowly in general, will all push down fuel costs as well as extend the long term life of the engine.
There’s no getting around the fact, a car can be expensive. But there are simple and straightforward ways of working on that motoring bill, so that you still have enough to eat at the end of the month. If you have the appetite for saving money, then the car you drive is a smart place to start…