Express & Star

The best ways to keep running costs down on your car

Running and owning a car has never been more expensive and with Ulez zones and congestion charges, the annual costs for cars are forever increasing.

Easter getaway

Here in the UK, we love cars. They’re seen as something which provides personal mobility and freedom, giving the ability to travel to thousands of people each year.

With over 33.5 million vehicles on our roads, the transport network is the largest it has ever been.

However, that doesn’t mean that running and owning a car has become cheaper – in fact, it has become quite the opposite.

When you take into consideration tax, insurance, maintenance and repairs bills, keeping a car isn’t a cheap endeavour – so we’ve compiled a list of things that can help you manage your costs and finances when it comes to running a vehicle.

Take out a service plan

A mechanic working on a car
A proposed relaxation of MOT rules has been dropped by the Government (Alamy/PA)

All cars need servicing. Whether they have one-year intervals or two, every car will be due a service at some point and depending on what type of work needs to be carried out, can see repairs costs be anything from £250 to £1000.

If you don’t service your car, it can lead to reliability issues and will land you with some unexpected surprises along the way.

If you service your car with the manufacturer, you can take out a service plan which enables you to manage those repair bills by doing a direct debit monthly instead of coughing up a large annual sum. The monthly repayments can be as little as £20 a month to help pay the cost of an intermediate or major service your car will need.

Repair any issues when they occur

Car Tyre Stock
A mechanic works on a car tyre

As your car ages, so do its mechanical components, so if any issues begin to occur, it’s better to repair them immediately. If you choose not to, then that could be a recipe for financial disaster later down the line if the problem worsens.

When you take your car for its MOT, you may notice that there are ‘advisories’ on the sheet produced at the end. We’d always recommend getting these fixed right away as it gives you peace of mind that your vehicle is mechanically up to speed and ensures that no hefty bills are coming your way – in the immediate future, anyway.

Try and insure your car on a multi-car policy

Getting insurance can be stressful for anyone, especially if you’re young or older. And, in the last year, a hike in car theft and parts shortages has caused insurance prices to go through the roof yet again.

A tip to take note is that if you’re a household that owns more than one car, you can insure your vehicles through a multi-car policy which can help to lower bills. If this isn’t viable, then it’s worth being as accurate as possible with your mileage – over-estimating it can cause you to pay more than you need to. Remember to never let your cover auto-renew, either; make sure you shop around before renewing to get the best price beforehand.

Buy decent tyres

Tyre shop
Different tyres carry different usage types (Land sail)

We always suggest buying decent rubber for your car. Good quality tyres will last longer than budget ones, meaning you’ll be forking out less to replace them. Furthermore, from a safety aspect, budget tyres will not have the same grip or performance to help you if you find yourself in a troublesome situation.

Better rubber helps with rolling resistance, but it can all be undone if you don’t inflate your tyres correctly. Under-inflated tyres can have a catastrophic impact on fuel efficiency, so check the recommended pressures for your car – usually found in the vehicle handbook or behind the fuel filler door – and inflate them correctly to make sure that you’re rolling as efficiently as possible.

Turn off unnecessary electrical equipment

Air conditioning
(GEM Motoring Assist)

Driving along with accessories such as the air-conditioning can all affect your car’s efficiency. Even features like heated seats and steering wheels will cause your fuel consumption to drop as an engine needs to use more fuel to work the electrical components. Our advice would be to only put these devices on when you really need to.

When it’s warm outside, lower your windows to cool down the interior of the car when you’re travelling at slower speeds. Once you’re on motorways or high-speed roads put them back again, as the aerodynamic drawbacks of having the windows open at such speeds outweigh the savings made by having them open instead of the air conditioning.

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.