Seven ways to cut down the costs of running your car

Mary N

The cost of living has been rising lately and everyone is feeling it in the pocket. One of those costs that seems to be constantly on the up is running your car.

As life continues to feel more expensive experts at Wessex Fleet have come up with seven ways you can reduce your bills. Particularly handy with National Insurance contributions and energy bills having shot up in April.

Tips range from swapping your car to an electric vehicle to save pennies. All the way up to a simple change you can make on your insurance.

1. Tweaking your job title on your insurance

Insurance companies assess your policy on a wide range of ‘risk’ factors when calculating how much your premium will cost. This includes what your job title is and how much risk is associated with it.

Tweaking your job title, while still remaining accurate, can save you money. MoneySavingExpert said one user saved £100 by using “software” rather than “computer games” in their title.

2. Leasing a car rather than buying one outright

If you’re considering buying a new car, you might not be able to afford one outright. Leasing a car with a finance company can be a great way to rent one with lower months payments over a set period of time.

At the end of the agreement you can usually choose to keep it or give it back. You can choose between hire purchase (HP) and personal contract purchase (PCP) to decide which is best for you and your financial situation.

Car finance options usually have a warranty for a few years so any repairs or maintenance will be covered. This could end up leaving you less unexpected payments.

3. Keep your tyres inflated

Petrol prices have been on the rise, and even with the 5p fuel duty cut announced in the Spring Statement, are still higher than they were six months ago. While your demand for fuel can depend on uncontrollable circumstances like travelling for work, there are several tips you can follow to reduce fuel consumption.

Keeping your tyres inflated to their recommended capacity can help save pennies. Low tyre pressure can increase the drag on your car, which uses more fuel.

While keeping car clutter to a minimum and removing anything not needed can also help. It’s also good to drive economically and shop around for your fuel.

4. Add Experienced Drivers to your car’s insurance

Did you know that insurance companies reduce their prices if you add a driver with experience and a clean driving licence? This is because insurance companies assume you’ll spend less time driving and therefore have less chance of having an accident as you are sharing the vehicle. With their permission, you should experiment by adding different friends or family members to your policy.

5. Shop Around for Car Insurance to Save £264 on Average

Depending on your age, driving history, the car you drive and even your job, your car insurance can get pretty expensive. Even if it’s lower than others, it is still an important outgoing to consider when budgeting. The best way to save on your car insurance is by comparing prices online.

Using comparison websites can show you the best possible deals considering your information, which can save you up to £264 on average. If you’re a young or new driver, you could consider getting a black box installed to keep costs down.

Just make sure the cheapest option you’d prefer has the best cover for you – you might even get freebies by using particular providers, so have a shop around before you buy an insurance product.

6. Save £182 By Washing Your Car at Home

Depending on the type of car wash you visit, you can save a solid amount of money by doing the job yourself at home instead. As experts suggest you should wash your car every two weeks to stop dirt and grime building up on the bodywork, it could end up costing you £182 a year if you visit an Automatic Wash and Dry at a BP or Shell garage every fortnight, at £7 per time.

This cost will rise significantly if you get your car valeted each time to clean both the interior and exterior, including polishing and waxing, with the average cost of a full valet in London coming to £45. Using the same fortnightly example, this would cost £1,170 across the space of a year.

Washing your car at home instead is a very straightforward task. The shampoo and wax you’ll need is also very cheap, in comparison to visiting automatic or hand car wash locations on a regular basis.

7. Transition to an EV and Save £1,038 Per Year

Although it will cost more in the short term to buy an EV if you decide to go with an outright purchase, you can save a lot of money in the long run by switching to an electric vehicle (EV). It has been estimated that you can save around 11p per mile by driving an EV as opposed to a petrol alternative.

On the basis of the average British driver travelling 7,600 miles per year, a saving of around £858 on fuel costs can be made by swapping to an EV. If you then charged your EV at home, the annual electricity cost would be averaged at £342, while the equivalent in petrol costs would be £1,200.

To add to this, you can also save on vehicle tax, as zero-emissions electric cars do not pay any road tax – saving £180 in the first year and £150 each year after that, compared to most petrol and diesel cars. Therefore, with fuel and tax savings considered, you could see yourself with a saving of over £1,000 per year.

You can also receive a government grant of £1,500 to help reduce the price when buying a new EV if you meet the requirements, such as the car costing £32,000 or less and having CO2 emissions of less than 50g/km.

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