Keeping a car on the road can cost drivers thousands each year, so along with safety and reliability, running costs are often a top consideration for many when choosing a car.
We’ve teamed up with Warranty Direct to put together a guide to the most expensive outgoings that come with owning a car and how to keep them as low as possible…
Begin with your insurance
In the UK, it is illegal to drive without insurance and if get caught you could face an unlimited fine and disqualification from driving.
Prices for car insurance can vary massively with insurance companies basing prices on different risk factors. Not all factors can be changed, but there are things you can do to help keep premiums down:
- Keep the vehicle in a secure location
- Add an experienced driver to your policy
- Watch your annual mileage (more miles = higher insurance as there is greater chance of an incident)
Comparing quotes from different insurers could end up saving you hundreds a year, so make sure you shop around to get the best possible deal.
Invest in a comprehensive warranty
Taking out a warranty is the best way for someone on a budget to monitor their expenditure when it comes to cars, claims Warranty Direct.
There is nothing worse than paying out for an unexpected hefty repair bill if something goes wrong. With an extended warranty this stress is removed should the worst happen, as you are covered financially.
A fixed monthly cost that can be worked into your monthly budget will be more cost-effective than paying out for one large bill per repair.
Shop around for fuel
Saving just 5p a litre on the price of petrol or diesel could save £100 a year for the average driver.
Pump prices vary around the country and there are even different forecourts in the same town – so it pays to get to know the cheapest in your area.
Motorway fuel stations tend to be more expensive, so if you are planning a long journey it’s worth filling up beforehand to avoid potentially paying £8 a tank more.
Supermarkets will often give you a discount at their petrol pumps when you spend a minimum amount in store, so kill two birds with one stone and fill up after doing your weekly shop.
Efficiency is essential
Eco-driving saves an average of 15% in fuel costs, so small everyday things to improve your fuel efficiency can have a big impact.
Drive smoothly and change gear as soon as possible without revving the engine too much – ideally before 2,500 revs in a petrol car and 2,000 in a diesel. You should also change to a lower gear when the engine speed drops below 1500 rpm.
Stick to 70mph on the motorway. By travelling at 80–85mph, fuel costs can increase by 25% or more – (oh, and it’s illegal too!)
Essential car maintenance
The average cost of maintenance on a used car is £472 a year. However, through regular upkeep you may be able to reduce these costs and keep your car on the road for extra miles too.
Here’s Warranty Direct’s top do-it-yourself maintenance tips:
- Check and change the oil every 5,000 miles or every six months, whichever comes first
- Check fluids – keeping coolant, brake, power-steering and transmission fluids topped up is essential to safety and extended engine life
- Check tyre pressure – correct pressure improves your car’s safety, fuel efficiency and makes them last longer
- Change the filters – it’s an inexpensive, quick fix which prolongs engine life, increases efficiency and reduces emissions