Most families own a car, some even 2 or 3. Whether it be for commuting purposes or to ferry the children around, it’s a household essential for many. They can prove quite costly to run and maintain so it’s a good idea to try and monitor what you are spending and see if cutbacks can be made. Even the simplest of changes can make a difference. Here are 4 things you can do to reduce the cost of running a car.
Shop around for car insurance
Whilst auto-renewing your insurance when your renewal notification comes through might be tempting, don’t do it! Many companies are aware that people don’t always have time to shop around and therefore inflate their quotations year on year. If you call them and say that you are not continuing your cover, you can be guaranteed they will try and better the quote they sent to you just days before. Give them a ring and find out their best price. It is also a good idea to check online comparison sites to see what offers are available. This will give you a good indication of the typical price you should be paying and may make your decision far easier.
Be mindful that the personal details you enter can also impact on your premium. For example, if you are a stay at home parent and say that you are unemployed you may get a very different result stating that you are a homemaker. If you are a qualified finance director, the premiums may differ if you say that you are an accountant. You must make sure that the details you give are factual but there are many occupational deviations you can make which will make a difference. Another area that can change your premiums is where your car is left overnight. Stating that you leave your car on the driveway overnight will give a different pricing result to saying that your vehicle is kept in a garage. If you are going to save a lot of money over a year, you may want to start using your garage to house your car rather than using it as a storage area.
Buy a newer model
If your car is extremely old you may find that you are regularly shelling out for things to be fixed as well as paying far more in fuel because of its reduced efficiency. If this is the case, consider trading it in for a newer model. Newer cars are far easier on the pocket in terms of fuel consumption as well as maintenance. Visit your local car dealership to see what is available within your budget and compare typical running costs against those of your current car. Your insurance is likely to be lower too. Cars sold via dealerships are usually more expensive. They do however come with a warranty giving you peace of mind that your vehicle has been checked over. If you want to save a bit of money then you could always use websites like Autotrader or Parkers to buy a used car privately. Make sure that you have a qualified mechanic check the vehicle before purchasing it. You don’t want something to go wrong within a week and have no comeback.
If you can’t afford the initial outlay of a newer vehicle then financing may be an option. Car finance allows you to purchase a vehicle and pay it over a set term rather than shelling out the full purchase price in one go. If you have been refused car finance in the past, contact a finance specialist. They can investigate why your application may have been declined and help you to acquire the finance you need.
Maintain your vehicle
Like most things, if you look after your car your maintenance bills are likely to be lower. Make sure that you have it serviced regularly and, if any works are needed, have them carried out straight away. Whilst you might save a bit of money in the short term by waiting to have things fixed, delaying can lead to additional problems occurring.
If buying new tyres for your car, don’t scrimp on the cost. Whilst you don’t have to buy the top of the range, choosing a mid-range option will probably be the most cost-effective over time. Cheap tyres are fine if you aren’t doing many miles over a year but if you tend to use your car daily or are covering a vast area, mid to high-end options are probably your best choice. Buy cheap, buy twice may be the case here.
If your vehicle is within warranty, you may want to have it serviced by a main dealership. Going elsewhere or using unbranded parts can void your warranty so read your warranty details before going ahead. If your car is not within warranty then it’s advisable to go to an independent garage. The cost savings could be huge.
Save money on fuel
Fuel can cost a fortune every month so shopping around may reduce your running costs. Petrol stations located on motorways, for example, will charge far more than a station located in the centre of town so try and be prepared. If you are setting off for a long journey, fuel up before you go. Fuel prices are constantly fluctuating throughout the year so it can be difficult to know where to get the best price. Apps like petrolprices.com are designed to help save you money. They track fuel prices from a huge number of petrol stations across the UK. All you have to do is download the app and enter your postcode. You can choose whether you want diesel or petrol prices as well as choosing a radius for it to search. It will tell you within seconds where the cheapest petrol station nearest to you is as well as the price they currently charge. Shopping around could save you a lot of money in the long run.