Whether it’s a necessity or a luxury, owning a car doesn’t necessarily mean breaking the bank. There is no need for you to seek professional help or read through difficult technical terms to manage the cost of owning a car. Driving is fun, but it can also be expensive, so keep reading to find out the best ways to reduce the cost of your car.
1. Do The Maths
Our first piece of advice? Do it yourself.
First things first, you should work out what you actually spend money on for your car. This will help you gain a better understanding of how much you spend on a monthly basis.
Having a monthly expenditure report allows you to flag any unnecessary costs that you are incurring. Remember that the less information you gather, the greater your costs will become. 64% of drivers in the UK think owning a car is very expensive, but 65% also admit that they don’t actually know how much they spend on their vehicle each year.
If these opinions are familiar to you, take yourself out of that percentage and review exactly what it is that you pay for! Calculate your expenses on gas, repairs, services, loans and insurance, and you’ll soon be able to reduce - or even eliminate - expenses you weren’t previously tracking or aware of.
2. Invest In Good Service and Repairs
Although there are great advances in technology that cause cars to now include electronics, they are still by and large mechanical vehicles. This means that cars get worn down over time due to usage, leading to repairs and maintenance. Therefore, the best way to invest in your vehicle is to service the car as much as you can. Preferably, use the agency where you first acquired the car. If this is not possible, go for an independent contractor that has good reviews or recognised brand servicing.
Why should you do this? Well, of course there is an associated cost, but it doesn’t even compare to a major repair due to negligence. A periodic inspection of technical aspects of your car should include looking at the engine, electrical circuits, suspension, brakes, wheel alignment, fluid levels and filters requiring professional tuning.
3. Personal Maintenance
Remember that this doesn’t make you a know-it-all mechanic, it just saves you money in the long run. You have to be very attentive with the oil level in your car. In this video you will learn everything you need to know about oil changes, the type of oil needed, filters and tools.
It is also crucial to keep an eye on your tyres. Without the adequate air pressure, you can actually use more fuel each time you drive. This means more money spent on gas and, eventually, replacement of the tyres. It’s also very dangerous to drive with old tyres - less grip means that accidents are more likely to happen, costing a fortune or even worse - lives.
Here you can see how to check and inflate car tyres, and here you can learn when your car needs a tyre change.
4. Empty The Boot
Having a lot of extra weight in your car increases the cost of petrol. The best thing to do is to get rid of any unnecessary weight.
An unused baby chair, bags, clothes, bike racks, roof racks, etc. can add an extra 10-30kg. Driving around with that kind of unnecessary weight will cost you more in terms of fuel and general car usage.
5. Control your Air Conditioning
Use your air conditioning only if absolutely necessary. Every time you turn on the air conditioner, there can be a 20% increase in fuel consumption when driving.
It would therefore be best to have the windows open on summer days, and put on some extra layers when winter arrives. Twenty percent may sound low, but in the long run it does add up.
6. Manage Fuel Consumption
Some credit and debit cards offer cashback of up to 5% when you buy petrol, including Tesco and American Express cards. Based on statistics from Kwik Fit, the average UK motorist spends up to £800 per year on petrol, meaning that getting up to 5% cashback could save around £40 per year.
Another good piece of advice is to search the area you live in and compare the prices between different petrol stations. Prices can vary from one location to another, and you could benefit from lower prices or even discounts at stations that could be closer than you think.
7. Get The Car Loan That Suits Your Needs
You need to establish some financial security so that you don’t struggle with payments, which means first calculating how much you can actually afford to spend on a car.
There are many different tools to know this, even if you don’t have the best credit. Your first port of call should be to use a finance calculator to decide the length of loan you will need based on monthly payments that you will be comfortable with. And then all you have to do next is to apply for a loan at that specific amount to see if you will be accepted and driving away with your ideal car in days!