Ways to keep down car running costs

Posted on July 13, 2012 by Guest Writer
Couple driving a car

Driving is an essential part of life for most of us, but with fuel prices rising many people are looking for ways to drive down their motoring costs in other ways (if this is for car insurance, Staysure may be able to help). With this in mind, we thought we’d share a few of our top tips for keeping car running costs low.

Think long and hard before choosing a car

The process of making sure your motoring costs stay low starts right at the very beginning – you must choose your car wisely. Investing in a CO2-efficient car will lessen the amount of road tax you pay as well as the fuel you consume – two things that can make a massive difference when it comes to finances.

Another way to reduce road tax costs is to opt for a diesel engine rather than a petrol one. Road tax is based on the amount of CO2 emitted by the car, and diesel cars produce less than their petrol counterparts as they are more efficient.

New cars are ideal, as maintenance costs can be sky high, but even with older cars it is essential to ensure they are well looked after before buying or you could end up out of pocket down the road.

Maintain your motor

Many people neglect their car maintenance duties only to be landed with a large bill when something finally does go wrong. Taking the car for regular check-ups and repairs as they are needed will make it much less likely that something huge will go wrong with the car, which will leave it in need of substantial and costly repairs.

While part of maintaining your motor is attending regular MOTs and heading straight for the garage if you feel that anything is wrong, there are little jobs that you can do yourself.

One of these things is to regularly check tyre pressure. If tyres have deflated a bit, the car is likely to be using up more petrol than it needs to be, thereby adding unnecessary financial strain on the driver. What’s more, deflated tyres are more likely to become damaged and need replacing, meaning you’re cutting short their lifespan and wasting money.

Before you get in the car…

Firstly, consider whether you actually need to make the journey. If you’re just popping round to a friend’s house or to a nearby shop, walking can be a much better alternative. Not only will walking more help you when it comes to petrol money, it will also improve your fitness. People who are really into ditching the car for short journeys could also invest in a bicycle.

Additionally, shed any extra weight from the vehicle. We all know how easy it is to let miscellaneous objects collect in the boot of the car or on the backseats. Think about how often you actually need these items, because all those spare clothes, gadgets and papers are actually weighing down your car, thus causing extra petrol consumption. Just having a monthly clear out of all the rubbish in the boot could work wonders for the amount of fuel you need to buy.

When you’re driving…

When it’s hot out, the tempting thing to do is to click the air conditioning switch and enjoy a cooler drive, but this can deplete the car’s energy. All motorists really need to do on a humid day is to roll down the window and enjoy some fresh air. After all, what is better than enjoying a journey during the summer with the radio on and the windows rolled down. Having said that, it is advisable to switch on the air condition every now and then to keep the motor ticking over.

It is also important to keep the car in a high gear, as this will lower petrol consumption as well as being good for the environment.

How to keep your car running costs down