30 tips to drive down the cost of motoring.
The cost of owning and driving a car has risen dramatically in recent years, with rising fuel prices and bloated insurance premiums. I share my top 30 tips to help drive down your motoring costs.
1. DON’T risk buying Part-Worn Tyres.
Although part-worn tyres seem like a cheap option, potential safety issues and other problems such as damaged sidewalls/rims or patches of cracking rubber could end up costing you more in the long run.
2. DO consider downshifting your tyre brand.
Check like-for-like quotations for the tyre brand you are replacing. In some cases, compatible tyres from alternative tyre manufacturers can be just as good as premium brands, but much cheaper.
3. DO shop around for tyres.
When you need a new tyre, don’t just pop to your local tyre dealer: shop around. Go online and check out tyre price comparison websites and seek out special offers.
Online tyre companies like Point S offer a range of tyres at discounted prices which means buying premium, long-lasting and even specialist tyres is possible on a budget. Just place an order online and have your tyres fitted at a time convenient for you.
4. DO select the Right Speed Rating.
The speed rating is the final letter of the tyre code on the side of your tyre. Generally, the higher the speed rating for a particular brand and model of tyre, the higher the price. Tyres rated N are good for speeds up to 87mph so are perfect for UK roads. However, if you buy V-rated tyres, for example, they are rated for speeds of 149mph. Why pay for a higher rating than you actually need?
5. DO compare the cost of car insurance by using price comparison websites.
When it’s time to renew your car insurance it’s important to shop around. There are lots of online price comparison sites to choose from including: Gocompare.com, Comparethemarket.com, Confused.com. These websites don’t all compare the same insurance companies, so it’s worth getting quotes from two or three of them.
6. DON’T automatically renew your car insurance policy.
Always shop around for cheaper car insurance quotes and check your company isn’t offering a better deal to new customers. If you find a cheaper deal elsewhere, see if they will match/beat the other quote so you can save the hassle of moving to another insurance provider.
7. DON’T pay for your car insurance in monthly instalments.
Paying monthly for car insurance usually cost more than making a single annual payment, because it’s essentially a hidden loan. If you need to spread the cost of your car insurance premiums, consider using a 0% credit card instead.
8. DO consider multi-car insurance policies if you have more than one car in the household.
Multi-car policies can save you money but they aren’t included in the insurance premiums on price comparison websites (you have to check manually). Once you have your list of car insurance quotes, it’s worth checking whether any of these companies offer a multi-car policy to see if you can save even more money.
9. DO select your job description carefully as it could knock £100’s off your car insurance premium.
By legitimately tweaking your job description, you can cut the cost of your car insurance premium. For example, a PA may be cheaper than a secretary and a hairdresser cheaper than a barber. Visit Money Saving Expert’s Car Insurance Job Picker tool (here) to see if you can save.
10. DO check to see if adding another person to your car insurance reduces the premium.
Adding more drivers (such as parents and grandparents) to a policy, especially for young drivers, can cut the cost of your insurance premium because it lowers the risk average.
11. DO use cashback websites to buy your car insurance.
You can save up to £70 if you buy your car insurance via cashback websites such as Quidco and Topcashback. They even have their own price comparison tools so you can make sure you are getting the cheapest deals.
12. DO shop around for breakdown cover.
The AA and the RAC may be the best-known breakdown cover providers, but they aren’t necessarily the cheapest. For the latest prices, visit Money Saving Expert’s Cheap Breakdown cover page: HERE.
13. DON’T renew your breakdown cover without haggling.
Threatening to leave can knock £’s off the price of your breakdown cover renewal quote, so it’s always worth haggling for a better deal. Don’t forget to shop around first so you can challenge them to beat the best quote.
FILLING UP YOUR CAR.
14. DO find the cheapest petrol and diesel prices.
The cost of petrol and diesel can vary enormously, not just across the country but even in the same town or suburb. Visit Petrolprices.com and find out where the cheapest fuel is in your area.
15. DO pay using a petrol cashback credit card.
Cashback credit cards give you a percentage cashback on your purchases. However, in the case of cashback on fuel, some cards are better than others. For more information on the best fuel cashback cards, click HERE.
16. DO use loyalty schemes.
Many petrol stations (including supermarkets) offer loyalty schemes/cards which give you a little bit back in the way of points, gifts or cash every time you fill up.
17. DON’T fill your tank.
To make your fuel go further, don’t fill your tank. A full tank adds extra weight, which in turn reduces fuel efficiency.
18. DO inflate your tyres properly.
Making sure your tyres are inflated properly and in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations and payload will increase fuel economy.
19. DO remove your roof rack.
Roof racks increase drag and make the engine work harder. The RAC estimates a roof rack can reduce your fuel efficiency by 10%!
20. DO lighten the load.
Removing clutter and unnecessary items from your car saves you money because your engine doesn’t have to work as hard to accelerate, thus reducing fuel consumption.
21. DO turn off air-conditioning.
Air conditioning uses a lot of fuel, so unless you really need it, turn it off.
22. DO keep moving if you can.
Stopping and starting uses more fuel, so if you can roll slowly up to lights without stopping it will save money.
23. DO slow down naturally instead of braking.
Braking ‘burns’ your fuel money by turning the energy into heat. Slowing down gently, improved fuel efficiency.
24. DO keep revs below 3000 and avoid speeding up or slowing down quickly.
Every time you press down on the accelerator pedal you are using fuel, so if you keep a steady speed and avoid over-revving your engine, you’ll save money.
25. DO change up gears quickly.
Driving in the highest gear possible without labouring the engine will reduce fuel consumption so try and move up through the gears as soon as possible.
OTHER WAYS TO CUT THE COST OF DRIVING.
26. DO use Council-run MOT centres and check your car for issues before it’s tested.
Because council run MOT centres aren’t repair centres they are less likely to recommend unnecessary repairs. Before your MOT, remember to check your windscreen wipers aren’t damaged, your tyre treads are legal and all of your lights are working.
27. DO fight unfair council parking tickets and private parking tickets.
If you feel you have received an unfair parking fine from the council, challenge it. Even if you have to take your complaint all the way to a tribunal, there’s an estimated 50% chance of success. Likewise, Private Parking companies have no right to fine you, so challenge them too.
28. DO claim if your car is damaged by a pothole.
Britain’s highway authorities and agencies are legally obliged to maintain roads to a safe standard, this includes fixing potholes. If your vehicle is damaged by a pothole and the authority responsible for the road failed to maintain it properly, you can claim for damages.
29. DO check your photo driving licence.
Photo driving licences need to be renewed every 10 years. If they expire, or if your name or address is wrong, you could be fined £1,000.
30. DO share the driving to cut your costs.
You can save money by driving less. This may simply mean walking or using your bike more regularly. Alternatively, you can car share, either informally with friends or work colleagues or by registering with car sharing communities like LiftShare or BlaBlaCar.
Over to you.
How thrifty are you when it comes to the cost of driving? Do you have any tips for saving money on driving? As always, I’d love to hear from you.
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Disclosure – please note that this is a collaborative post in association with Point S Tyres, the online tyre retailer, but all words are my own.
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