Owning a car can be expensive. In fact, it is probably of the largest personal expenses in most people’s lives. While it may be expensive to own a car though, it comes with benefits and pitfalls. One of the major benefits is the freedom it provides; not restricting its owner to public transport and expensive minicabs. Owning and running a vehicle though can be pricey, but there are ways to save sizable amounts of money on your car’s expenses that if adopted, won’t feel like your car is a money eating machine.
Of course, potential savings on your car do depend on each individual case and your financial situation. In addition, the age of the car, its engine size and frequency of use also all come into play. However, this guide aims to point you in the right direction to save money on your car expenses.
Saving on Car Insurance
Just being young, a recently qualified driver or having a poor driving record (perhaps with points for speeding or other motoring infractions), can lead to costs increasing, making your vehicle a potentially major expense. However, even if these factors are not an issue, car insurance can still be very expensive, sometimes even extortionate.
There are a number of things you, as a car owner can do to help bring the price down, both immediately and over time:
- Phone up and ask your insurance company how much money you can save by raising the excess on your insurance.
- There are safety features which mean that you qualify for a discount, so make these known to your insurance provider. These could include automatic seatbelts or air bags. In some cases, non-drinkers may get an additional discount because they are considered less of a risk to the insurers, being less likely to require a pay out
- If you drive an older car, think about dropping collision and comprehensive coverage. Collision coverage is obligatory if you have a car loan. However, for any older cars that you own, weigh the car's ‘book value’ against your collision premium. Your car’s value is what the insurance company would end up paying out to you if your car was totaled [written off]
Saving Money on Petrol
Petrol prices have been on the rise and are not something which is totally predictable. This means that if each month you have a set budget for living expenses, petrol prices can have a profound effect on your finance. However, you can do reduce the cost of your overall petrol expenses somewhat with a few easy tips:
- When you are filling up your car do not fill it to the very top. Some of the petrol may start overflowing when heat, for example from the sun for example, causes it to expand
- Fill up your car at cooler times of day when the petrol hasn’t expanded. This will mean that you will get more petrol for the same amount of money
Car Maintenance Savings
Along with having to purchase a car, pay for its insurance and petrol, there is a lot of upkeep that needs to be done. By simply doing things for the benefit of the maintenance of your car, you will not only extend its overall lifespan and sell-on value, but you are also likely to save further costs along the way in terms of repairs and replacement parts:
- Change the oil and the oil filter at around every 3,000 miles done in your car. Even if the manual says that you do not have to do this until a different set number of miles, the more frequently you change the oil, the more the length of the car engine’s life will be extended. This is far more affordable then paying for repairs
- Check the car’s air filter regularly to ensure the ventilation system works efficiently when used and doesn’t use up unnecessary petrol
- Check tyre pressure regularly. It has been found that you can lose up to 6% of petrol mileage for every pound it is under inflated by
- Have your tires balanced once a year. Improperly balanced tires can wear out the shock absorbers and damage a car’s suspension system. Obviously, this would all lead to further expenses – so nip it in the bud and get it fixed early
- Check the fluid levels frequently. The life of the car’s battery can be shortened by low battery fluid. It is also important to check the coolant, brake fluid levels, clutch fluid and automatic transmission fluid; all of which ensure smooth and efficient running of your vehicle, making for reduced costs