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Saving money on motoring expenses

"Cutting corners on car costs."

Reducing your monthly car running costs can add up to significant saving over the course of a year.

High running costs can seriously harm your finances, follow our tips to save money on your motoring expenses.

In this article we will look at the following topics.

  1. Change your driving style & save fuel
  2. Avoid depreciation
  3. Essential maintenance
  4. DIY servicing
  5. Choosing the right car

Don't bankrupt yourself with high motoring expenses. Follow our tips to save some serious money right now.

Driving style

Depending on your annual mileage, fuel can be one of the biggest motoring costs. Fuel prices are increasing making it well worth putting a little bit of effort into saving fuel.

You don't have to drive like a snail to reduce fuel consumption, but altering your driving style can dramatically increase your fuel economy. 

  • Avoid braking. No, we don't mean just drive into things, but braking wastes forward momentum. Try to improve your anticipation. A lot of the time you should be able to keep the car rolling by easing off the throttle and letting the car decelerate naturally.
  • Heavy acceleration wastes fuel. Most cars give 80% of their optimum power at a 25% throttle position. It's just not worth wasting the extra fuel.
  • Hard cornering puts a lot of extra wear on the tires, and good tires aren't cheap.
  • Short journeys are real engine killers. The acids that build up and extra fuel burned during the warm up phase are very detrimental. It all adds up to extra running costs.

Avoid depreciation

gangstaFor many motorists their biggest expense is depreciation. This is the amount of the car's value lost during your ownership. For cars purchased from new you are generally looking at a loss of 50% of the car's purchase price! Even older cars can lose a significant percentage of their value each year.

Knowing when to buy and sell can significantly reduce depreciation. Savvy shoppers know you get great bargains buying things out of season. The same is true with cars, buy out of season and sell in season. So buy 4x4s in summer time and sell them in the middle of winter. The opposite is true of sports cars and convertibles where you are better off buying them in the winter and selling them in the summer time.

Older cars depreciate less. Think of depreciation as a percentage of the car's value, so the lower the purchase price the less you will lose in depreciation.

Classic cars and rare cars can buck the trend and increase in value or hold their value well. If you can predict when a car will make the transition from being simply old to being a classic then you'll be laughing all the way to the bank.

Some new cars with very long waiting lists can hold their value really well if sold within 6 months. This is always a gamble as most car makers will look to meet the demand with supply.

When selling and buying follow our tips to maximize your profit.

Essential maintenance

battery-chargeSkimping on essential servicing is a false economy. For example, putting off replacing brake pads can lead to wear to the brake disks which costs even more to repair.

Oil changes are fairly cheap and if carried out every 6 months you can minimize engine wear and tear. Even seemingly small things such as failing to top up the engine oil can drastically reduce the life of your engine.

Regular servicing will keep your car running at peak efficiency.

There are a few things you can do to make your car more efficient. An engine remap can save fuel. Converting the engine to run on LPG can also lower your running costs.

DIY servicing

Doing your own car servicing can save a lot of money on garage bills. 

It often pays to buy two lots of regular servicing items and negotiate a discount on them. You'll typically need a set of spark plugs, an air filter, an oil filter, a sump washer, engine oil and sometimes a pollen filter.

The key is getting the right tools for the job. Buying the tools is a one time investment but you will likely still save compared to the average garage servicing bill on your first DIY service.

Choosing the right car

Don't spend 10,000's to save 100's on your annual fuel costs. Otherwise the depreciation on the car will vastly outweigh any fuel savings you are likely to make.

We don't recommend changing a car just to save fuel. You should only change your car if the current running costs are too high.

Remember, the costs of brakes and tires all add up. Some cars get through tires much faster than others and a set of tires can set you back a month or two's wages! Clutch, cambelt and other major expenses come round every 5-7 years, so it's worth buying a car after these are done and selling before they are due to be done again.

Check out our MPG comparison tool to compare the annual fuel costs of two cars. Please note that it is rare to actually achieve the manufacturers quoted MPG figures in day to day driving.

Buying an older car with lower mileage can give you reliability without having to worry too much about depreciation.

Do your research carefully. Factor in a set of tires, brake pads and brake disks every 2 years when you work out your ownership costs. Find out the annual fuel consumption and costs using our MPG calculator

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