Car ownership can be a drain on your finances, and right now we’re all looking for a few ways to save. While it may appear to save you cash in the short term, there are some false economies to avoid, for example:
- Putting off servicing and maintenance – small problems can often be fixed quickly and cheaply, but leaving them can lead to longer term wear or damage that’s more serious.
- Having inadequate breakdown cover – finding yourself on the hard shoulder can lead to all kinds of unexpected expenses if you aren’t covered, so it pays to plan ahead and have peace of mind. Have a look at breakdown cover from the AA for some market-leading offers.
- ‘Forgetting’ to clean and tidy the car – cleaning the car regularly can help you pick up problems early, and there’ll be less wasted fuel and work for the engine if unnecessary items are removed from the interior and the boot.
- Filling the petrol tank to the maximum limit and keeping it topped up – while it’s good to take advantage of cheap petrol deals, the car also has to drag that big heavy tank around and this burns extra fuel.
Insurance needs a mention here too, although of course driving without insurance is breaking the law rather than a false economy. One of the biggest savings motorists can make is to shop around for their car insurance, and to never accept renewal quotes that they’re initially offered. Read the small print about payments too, as it’s usually much better value to pay annually rather than monthly if you can.
Other ways to save:
- Buy second hand – a new car loses a substantial proportion of its value the moment it’s driven off the forecourt.
- Although there’s an initial outlay, a cheap car maintenance weekend or evening course at your local college will help you keep your vehicle in shape for very little.
- Your local council’s MOT centre will give your car a check up at low cost, and they don’t make money from repairs so there’s no vested interest in failing your car if nothing’s wrong with it.
- Keeping tyres correctly inflated can save a lot of wasted fuel.
- Safe drivers pay lower insurance premiums. There’s plenty of car safety information at RoSPA.