Owning a car can make lots of things in your daily life easier: the school run, food shopping, and taking the family out for the day in the holidays. The downside is that it can be an expensive business. With fuel petrol, insurance and maintenance costs to think about, you’ve got to be a savvy saver to know where to look for the best discounts on everything road-related.
Therefore, carrying out effective budgeting and searching for the best deals can help you save serious money on your car costs. That’s where our top vehicle maintenance and budgeting tips will come in handy.
Fill Up For Less
This one is easy: you will often find that petrol stations at big name supermarkets charge less for fuel than other petrol garages. As the likes of ASDA, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco compete against one another, petrol prices become increasingly competitive. So by doing a bit of price comparison research on petrolprices.com before you hit the pumps, you can ensure that you’re paying the least possible money for your petrol or diesel.
Longer Lasting Fuel
It may come as a surprise that the way you drive can greatly affect the amount you spend on fuel each month. A recent survey by the AA suggests that if you drive slightly more economically you could travel between 10% and 33% further on your fuel. Cut costs by reducing engine revs, sharp acceleration and sudden braking. Unload unneeded items from your car; the heavier the vehicle, the more fuel it will consume.
It’s a legal requirement that you get an annual MOT for your car once it’s three years old – or one year old in some cases.
Unless you’re a car mechanic yourself, the likelihood is that you’ve got a limited idea whether your car needs repairs or not. Make sure that you are dealing with a garage that you can really trust only to charge you for the work that genuinely needs to be done to get your MOT.
Our advice is to get an unbiased opinion whenever possible. There are a number of council-run MOT centres across the UK. Since these centres rarely do the repairs themselves, they have no incentive to try to fail your vehicle as there is no profit in it for them.
Reconsider Your Situation
Many households today have multiple vehicles. Whether you are working, retired, or ‘the stay at home’ parent, ask yourself if you could manage without multiple cars. Could you simply communicate better when each of you needs to use the car?
If you are a pensioner, could you just use your bus pass more frequently? Likewise, lift sharing is becoming increasingly popular – either just by dropping off and picking up other person on the way to and from work, or through a service provider like BlaBlaCar. Whilst this may add on a little extra time to your commutes, the money that you will save by selling the second car could be astronomical.
Many people who have sold one of the family cars find that they do more walking and so get the health benefits of more exercise as well as saving money.
Find Your Own Parts
When having repairs done, it can really be worth taking the time and effort to source your own car parts.
Shopping online is generally the best way, as it gives you the freedom to explore all the price options. Ebay and Amazon offer a choice of reasonably priced car parts, as do some independent online retailers.
Keep Emergency Funds for Repairs
Regular servicing and maintenance allows you to catch possible problems early. However, some eventualities are impossible to plan for - but if you keep aside an emergency fund for vehicle repairs and maintenance it can make a huge difference when the time comes.
Warning: Late repayment can cause you serious money problems. For help, go to moneyadviceservice.org.uk