Reducing the costs of running a car is something we all strive to achieve. After all, car ownership requires a significant level of budgeting to cover monthly repayments, maintenance, fuel and insurance. Then there are the ad hoc expenses for repairs and replacements. So what can you do to ensure running costs are kept to a minimum?
The age of your car, the type of fuel it takes, whether it has a warranty – all of these factors are worth considering before you purchase. After all, they are things that can’t be altered once money has changed hands. Buying an older car may be cheaper at the time of purchase, but it’s likely to bring with it more repair costs in the long run as parts wear out.
The type of fuel the vehicle uses and the emissions also affects running costs. Diesel is typically more expensive to purchase than petrol, and different emissions levels incur different rates of tax. Picking a car with a good warranty will also cover you should any car repairs or routine maintenance be necessary.
Although regular servicing may seem like an unnecessary expense if your car appears to be running well, it can in fact save you from huge costs further down the line. Servicing gives your car the best chance of racking up the mileage without serious issues. Simple tasks like transmission and brake fluid changes, as well as filter replacements, can keep things in optimum condition and extend the engine life.
There are also a few things you can do yourself. For example, keeping tyres at the correct pressure will prolong their life and ensuring there is always enough oil in the engine will help to avoid major engine problems. Many cars nowadays have a warning light that notifies you if oil levels need topping up.
Insurance is one of the biggest costs of running a car. Premiums are based on the level of risk that providers associate with the vehicle and include factors such as age and driving habits of the driver and how secure the car is considered to be.
To reduce your premium, add an experienced named driver to the policy. It’s preferable to add one who hasn’t had any recent accidents and has a clean licence. You can also increase the voluntary excess to lower the premium – this indicates you are prepared to cover a little more of the cost if you need to make a claim. Lastly, you can have extra security features such as an alarm or tracker installed. This will make the car seem less at risk of being stolen.
Your driving habits can have an impact on running costs too. Keeping to speed limits, for instance, will save on fuel: according to the AA, reducing your speed from 80mph to 70mph can save as much as 25% on fuel. You can also try car sharing with a colleague a couple of days a week or, when running errands, do them in one trip rather than separate ones.