Are you getting the most from your car? Money saving motoring tips

Getting the most from your car, while simultaneously keeping vehicle running costs minimised, is of course something we’d all love to achieve. But how many of us actually think about money saving motoring? It’s not all about fuel economy, so what else can you do?

The weeks fly by, as do the months; and, before you know it, another year has passed – 12 months of being reliant on a car (not being able to function without one, in fact!), but never really pausing to consider questions like these:

  • How much money could I save if I switched car insurance provider?
  • What reduction could I achieve in fuel consumption if I planned my routes better and only used my vehicle when trips out are not within walking distance?
  • Do I know anyone (a work colleague, for example) whom I could perhaps car-share with, to save on money and lessen my weekly mileage?
  • Am I paying too much for breakdown and roadside recovery cover? Could I get exactly the same type of cover but with a cheaper provider?
  • Am I even driving the most suitable car to meet my (and my family’s) needs each week, or would it be worth considering selling the one I’ve got and buying something else, or part-exchanging it for another model that would be a better choice, and more economical to run?

And crucially:

  • Is my driving style actually costing me money? That is, if I was more mindful of how I drive, would that lessen the prospect of me needing to shell out at some point in the near future for a new gearbox, clutch or brakes? Perhaps if I take more care of my car, it’ll take more care of me

That last point is an interesting one. Charlotte in Steveage’s claim to fame is that she has worn out more clutches than her three older brothers put together!

Avoid braking hard and sudden accelerations

“It’s true!” says Charlotte, who works in property. “To keep my job at a local Estate Agents, I have had to purchase my own car, after wearing out two company cars through simply being a dreadful driver. Well, it’s not that I am careless on the roads, as such; I just seem to be heavy-handed (and footed!) and can’t seem to drive in a kind of fluid and controlled way; at least, I couldn’t until I took some extra driving tuition, paid for by my dad earlier in the year. He – as well as other family members and friends – have noticed some improvement in my driving, although my mum suspects that I look after my car much better these days, simply because I own it, and it is not a company vehicle.

Charlotte may have incurred a considerable expense in purchasing a vehicle, but her new, lighter-handed driving style (minus the hard braking and sudden accelerations!) will at least mean that she avoids high wear and tear costs each year.

What about fuel consumption?

A lighter car is a more fuel efficient one. Fact.

How can you make fewer trips to petrol stations, yet still enjoy the freedom that having a car brings?

By making a few simple changes,” explains Jack in Wembly, “I reduced the need to visit our local petrol station each week. In fact, now my fuel consumption has been reduced by at least 20 per cent. I did this by doing things like using the air con less, and simply opening the windows more! Many people don’t know that air con involves fuel use, just as a car heater does. I also got rid of the roof rack and some heavy boxes of bathroom tiles that had been sitting in the boot for ages. This reduced the ‘drag’ on my car, saving on power.

Let’s bust the “warm up the engine” myth RIGHT NOW

One other tip Jack gives is not to buy into this “make sure you warm up your engine in a stationary position before setting off on a journey” rubbish that so many ‘car experts’ impart. It’s just not true of modern fuel-injected cars. With most vehicles these days you can simply hop in, turn the key in the ignition, and you’re good to go. By driving off immediately, instead of sitting there for a few minutes before pulling away from the kerb, you could save a considerable amount of money on fuel each year.

Hit the road, Jack!