Car costs are a common factor in many people’s finances, offering making a considerable part of any budget. After all, a car is a necessity for many people, including for work.
Yet, while having a vehicle itself often isn’t an option, there are ways to help cut down the various costs and make owning a car much easier on your finances. Whether it’s negotiating a better insurance deal, ensuring your car is more fuel efficient or learning some basic maintenance, all of these options are useful, regardless of what car you drive.
Beat Insurance Statistics
Insurance is an annual cost few people look forward to, as providers always seem to have some way of increasing the fees. There are many ways to save money on car insurance, but there are areas few people are aware of.
A lot of your costs often down to statistical averages. Insurance providers have little data on you, but they can match you to average profiles they have collected.
This can include anything from your gender and age to your profession. The best way to beat this, then, is to offer data about your own actual driving. Smartbox policies install telematic recording devices in your vehicle, rewarding you with a more fitting policy in light of your driving. There are many companies willing to provide this, even if your existing provider does not.
Similarly, speed limiters can also bring your policy down. Just like your statistical average, insurance providers look at the car you drive and consider the top speed that you have access to. By capping your own car at the national speed limit, you can turn this in your favour.
Improve Your Car’s Efficiency
Similarly, your car’s fuel usage makes up a big percentage of the running costs. The more frequently you drive, the more fuel you require, so some people may find they are spending quite a lot refilling their tank on a regular basis.
There are many ways to help maintain your fuel economy. When it comes to driving, avoid aggressive braking. Slow down naturally, using less fuel as a result, and be gentle with the brakes. You should also avoid leaving the motor running on idle, as this also wastes fuel (and money) for no good reason.
Similarly, you can modify the car to help improve its efficiency. Remove any roof racks or external items that aren’t needed, as these increase the air resistance. The same can be said for keeping the car light, removing excess belongings from the boot, and even choosing tyres with a low rolling resistance.
Be Smart With Servicing And Maintenance
When your car does need repairs, or something is wrong and you need an inspection, it can be very easy to panic and go to the first garage you find. However, garages are just like any other financial option, so shop around for the deal that makes the most sense.
Likewise, when it comes to simple repairs, there’s nothing wrong with learning some basic car maintenance. This will save you money and keep your car out of the garage for longer. Better yet, a little knowledge of how your car works will prevent mechanics taking advantage of you when you do require their help. Learning to replace an air filter is simple, yet it is something that will benefit you throughout your driving life.
Parts And Repairs
Similarly, when it comes to getting new parts, you should evaluate your wider options. For example, a dealership might try to coerce you into buying original equipment manufacturer’s parts (OEM), which are more expensive due to the brand name. Yet there are numerous aftermarket parts that are just as good and often come with their own warranties.
Find a garage that either stocks a wider range of options, or will allow you to bring your own parts. This latter type of service is ideal, as you’re only paying the service fee and can more readily shop around online for the right components.
Giles Kirkland is a mechanic for Oponeo with a passion for getting the most out of cars. He likes to discuss car improvements from changing car tyres to getting a good financial deal.
Infographic created by Capital Auto Auction