Car Care Made Easy
Home   |   Articles   |   Product Reviews   |   DVD   |   Book   |   Links   |   About   |   Contact

I've made a DVD!

This year's biggest blockbuster that you haven't heard of yet...

'Car Care for Learners' - The Best Way to Learn Basic Maintenance.

'So good, a BAFTA would be an insult'. May Dup - The Daily Deceiver.

Take a look >

 


  15 ways to run your car for less money

Running a car only gets more expensive each year so here are some ways to run any car for less money.

Save money on running your car

 

  1. Pump up the tyres
  2. Wheel alignment
  3. Don't skimp on servicing
  4. Never auto-renew your insurance
  5. Reduce your speed
  6. Master smooth driving
  7. Ditch that junk
  8. Get a deal on your MOT
  9. Shop around for parts
  10. Streamline your car
  11. Better Breakdown
  12. Kill the air-con
  13. Check your fluids
  14. Brim your tank
  15. Fill up locally

 

1. Pump up the tyres

Keeping your tyres topped up is possibly the easiest and fastest way to save money. Under-inflation creates greater resistance between the tyres and the road, so keeping your tyres at the recommended pressure reduces the work the engine has to do to keep the car rolling. Not only that, but under-inflated tyres will wear unevenly, so you could end up needing to replace them sooner than you otherwise would.

2. Wheel alignment

Premature tyre wear caused by poor alignment (also called tracking) can eat a tyre up in less than half the time it should. Tyres wearing more on the inner or outer edges are an easy symptom to spot. Potholes or bumping the kerbs when you park are two common causes for alignment going wonky. Given that UK roads have more pot-holes than they do smooth tarmac and with wheel alignment starting at around £30, getting it done every 12-18 months depending on your mileage, could save you money on those black rubber doughnuts in the long run.

If you also tend to clump the kerbs when parking, regular wheel balancing will help avoid uneven tyre wear. Balancing involves adding small weights to the wheels to stop any unwanted vibration that can also put extra stress on the steering and suspension components. Vibration through the steering wheel at certain speeds is one symptom but it may not always be so obvious. Even if you park with greater accuracy than Russ Swift, balancing is still a worthwhile investment as natural wear during the life of the tyre can cause the balance of the wheel and tyre assembly to change.

3. Don't skimp on servicing

A well serviced car is less likely to go wrong and leave you stranded but will also improve fuel economy. Regular oil and filter changes will improve emissions and fuel consumption, with other preventative maintenance helping you avoid larger bills for major work down the line.
For example, having your air conditioning re-gassed might cost you £60 every couple of years, but a seized air conditioning pump could run into four figures to get fixed. Even if it doesn’t bother you, it will affect the value of the car when you try to sell it on. Regular stamps in the service book with the accompanying paperwork will also add value when trying to sell.

4. Never auto-renew your insurance

We’ve all heard the stories about rising car insurance costs, but don’t assume that’s why your renewal price has jumped up. The insurance company is more than likely praying on your laziness.

Last year my insurance auto renewal figure was £220 more than what I ended up paying. The previous year I paid around £300 yet the auto renewal price was £550, an 83% jump despite earning a year’s extra no claims bonus. Just going online and getting a new quote with the same insurance companyas a new customer would have saved me over £150. So the moral is, don’t auto renew, even if you end up back with the same company.

But wait! You can save even more by using price comparison sites to do some quick research. Repeating the same information over and over again is tedious to say the least but these sites will save you some of that hassle. This year I went to Confused and Compare the Market as a starting point. It will give you an idea of who the cheapest will be for you. Now instead of just taking the best offer available, take the top two or three insurers and go direct to their website.
I saved a further £25 doing so this, my hunch being that the insurer builds in the referral fee they pay to the price comparison site, but I could be wrong. Either way, further savings can be made for a little extra work. (Although I can’t guaranteed it will always be the case!)

One final point, don’t assume third party is cheaper than fully comprehensive. In my experience it often isn’t or the price difference is so small, it’s not worth taking the lower cover.

5. Reduce your speed

It makes sense that higher speeds use more fuel because the engine needs to produce more power to push the car forward. The important thing to know here is that to double your speed you need more than double the power. So driving at 80mph requires more than double the power from the engine than driving at 40mph. (FYI I’m not suggesting you drive at 40mph on the motorway.)

One major reason for this is increased wind resistance; the air simply can’t get out of the way of the car fast enough at higher speeds, so the engine has to work even harder to overcome it. To take an extreme example, the ‘standard’ Bugatti Veyron has 1001 horsepower and has a top speed of 253mph. The Veyron Super Sport has 1200 horsepower and a top speed of 267mph. That’s a 200hp (a whole Golf GTi engine) increase for an extra 14mph! Or in other words a 20% increase in engine power for a 5% increase in speed.

So back to the point, slow down; you’ll save a bunch of money on fuel and probably some on tyre wear too.

6. Master smooth driving

We’ve all seen them on the motorway; the drivers who like to steam up behind you at warp speed like your somehow going to vaporise as they approach. Then, when you don’t, they’re forced to throw out the anchor because you’re passing a lorry and have nowhere else to go. You pull in and they bury the throttle pedal into the carpet again until they reach the next obstacle on their way to inconsiderate and inefficient driver of the year award.

On a smaller scale, stop-start driving around town where cars jostle bumper to bumper causes a similar effect of accelerating and decelerating and wasting fuel. Leaving a bigger gap means that you can keep rolling along and is far more efficient. The same goes for racing up to queue behind a car at a junction, rather than slowing down in advance and the junction being clear when you arrive. Not only will you save fuel but your passengers will thank you for not jolting them backwards and forwards like a fairground ride.

7. Ditch that junk

When was the last time you used the four umbrellas, six pairs of shoes and the fold out picnic table you have rolling around in the boot? All that junk is just extra weight and work for the engine to accelerate and that uses more fuel. Get rid of it and start saving straight away.

8. Get a deal on your MOT

There are always offers around on MOTs, with many garages and especially the larger chains, running promotions at loss in order to secure your servicing business or in the hope they’ll get any repair work. (That doesn’t mean you have to give it to them.)Offers of 50% off are common, with even better available when combined with a service.The standard MOT price is £55 so you could save yourself enough for half a tank of fuel or four dozen Krispy Kreme Doughnuts.

9. Shop around for parts

Buying basic items like bulbs and wiper blades can be much cheaper from a Motor Factor than more well-known chains like Halfords. Motor Factors tend not to be as well sign posted, but they are worth seeking out, especially if you plan on fitting the parts yourself. Top-up fluids like oil and coolant, car batteries and other service items can also prove quite a bit cheaper. For cleaning products however, you may be better off in the more consumer orientated stores, as they are more likely to be running buy-one-get-one-free type offers.

10. Streamline your car

If you’re riding round with a roof rack on your car without a load or a roof box with no luggage, you could be increasing your fuel consumption by up to 10% for no reason. Having the windows down also increases the drag on the car, using more fuel but sometimes that just can’t be helped. (We’re not  suggesting you ‘sweat to save’.)

11. Better breakdown

Like insurance, auto renewing your breakdown cover is a faster way to waste money than food shopping when you’re hungry. As there are only a few suppliers in the market, it’s easy to phone around and see if they can beat your renewal quote. Unlike car insurance, they don’t need half as many details, making the process a lot faster. It doesn’t take long to see who’s cheapest and save yourself some dough. Finally, look out for deals from main dealers when you service your car. For instance, my local Nissan dealer offers free annual breakdown cover with servicing.

12. Kill the air-con

This isn’t another ‘sweat and save’ idea but there are times when you can switch off, such as winter, when engine heat is enough to warm the car. (Use the air-con to demist though, as the air is drier and will clear the screen faster.) Most air conditioning pumps are belt driven by the engine, putting extra load on the car when in use and burning up more fuel as a result. When the air-con is switched off, the pump disengages and ‘free wheels’, reducing the work load of the engine.

13. Check your fluids

As well as looking after the health and wellbeing of your car, checking fluids on a regular basis will help you spot the early warning signs of bigger problems.


For instance, the brake fluid level will go down over time as the brake pads wear, but if you’re needing to top-up large amounts on an ever increasing basis, that’s a sure sign something else is wrong. The same goes for oil; if you’ve been checking the level regularly and know it rarely changes, a sudden large drop could give you an early alert to a bigger problem.


Of course, screen wash doing a disappearing act is not a great surprise or concern. However, if you’ve ever tried clearing a dry and dirty screen with wipers and no wash, you’ll know it’s a sure fire way to destroy your blades in no time, so top-up!

14. Brim your tank

Putting £10 in the tank every week might be a good way to budget, but if the petrol station is the other side of town, it’s not a great way to save money. You could easily be spending £2 a week of that £10 just on your journey to the petrol station. If you popped in £40 once a month, you’d instantly save 3 journeys of fuel, in this case £6.

15. Fill up locally

Here's the scenario: your nearest petrol station is half a mile away but is 3p a litre more expensive than the petrol station 2.5 miles away. You need to fill up the tank, so you travel the 5 mile round trip to save 3p a litre, instead of filling up at the closer, but more expensive petrol station. Does it really save you money?

The following is based on the assumption that you make a specific return journey to fill up.

 

 

PETROL STATION CHOICE

 

Close but
expensive

Further but
cheaper

  Cost per litre

£1.36

£1.33

  Cost of 40 litre fill up

£54.40

£53.20

  Saving

£0.00

£1.20

 

 

 

  Distance to petrol station (miles)

0.5

2.5

  Car achieves 30 mpg
average on trip

30

30

  Cost of 1 gallon of fuel

£6.19

£6.05

  Cost of 1 mile of fuel

£0.21

£0.20

  Cost of return journey to
petrol station

£0.21

£1.01

 

 

 

  Saving on fuel

£0.00

£1.20

  Fuel cost of round trip to
petrol station

£0.21

£1.01

  Net cost of journey / saving

-£0.21

£0.19

 

So the net saving for your extra time and effort to save 3p per litre is a grand total of 19 pence. Of course, this scenario is based on the assumption you are going out specifically to get fuel; if you were passing by the cheaper petrol station any way, then it’s a no brainer. Equally, the bigger the fill up the more you save by travelling.

 

 

© Car Care Made Easy   |   Website Terms & Conditions

Car Care Made Easy on Facebook
Follow Car Care Made Easy on Twitter
Car Care Made Easy Youtube Channel
Car Care Made Easy the Book on Amazon.co.uk


SHAMELESS PLUG



Read a review