Top tips for reducing your car running costs

As we all probably know, buying and running a car can be expensive business. Once you have made the initial purchase of the vehicle, you have to maintain it and keep it roadworthy.

This means buying fuel, road tax, insurance, MOT, breakdown cover – the list is endless, and with new research from CompareTheMarket finding the running cost of a car for young drivers has increased by 4.4% this year, it doesn’t look to be getting any cheaper.

However, there are some things all drivers can do to lower the cost of running their cars, which we have taken a look at below:

Drive a newer car

We’ve put this one first as we know it is not an option for everyone out there, but if you are able to drive a newer car it will help with daily running costs. Newer cars tend to be lighter, more aerodynamic and use more efficient engines.

If you are wondering how to sell a car and upgrade to a newer, more efficient model to save money in the long term, our app can help you to get more for your current model, so why not take a look?

Insurance

It’s probably the most common advice out there, but you really should shop around when your insurance renewal comes around. Play around with the mileage and excess as well – think carefully about how many miles you are actually going to do in a year, as a lower annual mileage will generally lower the insurance cost. You should also increase your excess point to the highest mark you are comfortable with, but just make sure you are able to pay it in case anything goes wrong.

You should also rethink your job title. GoCompare found that, on average, a ‘chef’ pays £98 more than ‘kitchen staff’. A bit of trial and error here will help to lower your premium, but make sure you are truthful with your title; being too liberal with the truth could cause your insurance to become void.

Get a council MOT

Another inevitability in the motoring world is having to have an MOT performed on your car. You need it in order to have a valid insurance premium and it could help spot a potentially pricey repair early, meaning it will cost less to repair.

MOT prices vary depending on where you go, and some garages will only charge £30. However, these garages may spot a ‘problem’ that doesn’t exist and charge you for fictional repairs.

If you head to a council-run MOT centre, they have no incentive to carry out unnecessary expensive repairs, meaning you are likely to get a more accurate MOT. It costs around £55, but with many tales of people being handed hefty repair bills post-MOT, only for it to pass first time at a council MOT centre, it may be worth paying that bit more upfront. You can find your nearest centre here.

Tyres

Make sure you check your tyre pressure every two weeks, as driving on the optimum pressure will greatly benefit your car’s fuel economy.

Also, when it comes to MOT time, some garages may suggest that you replace your tyres with part-worn tyres to save on money. However, many safety groups warn against this, saying ‘part worn, part safe’. It may save you a few pounds in the short term, but you should put your safety first.

Fuel

The biggest annual increase to the cost of motoring has been fuel, rising by 12% on last year. Unless you are driving an electric car, you will need to visit the pumps. PetrolPrices.com is a great website for helping you to find the cheapest fuel in your area. Just enter the postcode and it’ll come back with the lowest prices within a certain radius, and it will then email you with the best prices.

If you are really going to be clocking up the mileage (anything over 16,000 miles a year) it’s probably worth opting for a diesel car. Diesel is generally more expensive per litre, but its stronger fuel economy will save you money in the long run.

Car share

Car sharing is a great way to save or receive fuel money, gives you a bit of company on your commute and helps to cut down on your carbon emissions. Check out websites like BlaBlaCar and LiftShare and see if anyone is heading your way!