5 Hacks to Cut the Cost of Car Ownership

5 Hacks to Cut the Cost of Car Ownership

Petrol Pump

According to the Money Advice Service, the average cost of running a mid-range car such as a Mini Cooper or a Ford Focus is around £3000 per year. Go for a larger, more expensive car and you’ll be facing higher annual fees. That’s without even considering an extra vehicle. 

£3000 is a considerable amount of money for the typical UK household. In times of low expendable income, running a car can be a major drain on your finances. But fees don’t have to be this high. Through careful planning and financial strategy, you can reduce the costs of car ownership. In this article, we look at five simple hacks that cut costs.

1. Buy Car Parts Yourself

Amateurs aren’t always able to complete all repairs, and it is never recommended that you attempt major maintenance without the help of a professional. However, you can sometimes perform repairs yourself if the job is small and simple. You may also be able to cut the price of major repairs by buying car parts online. It’s important to reiterate that you should never perform a car repair task you aren’t confident you can do properly, though. A poorly done job on the cheap will cost you a lot more in the long run. If our first tip to cut the costs of car ownership is to buy car parts yourself, our bonus tip is never to perform a bodge job with those car parts. Take your vehicle to a certified garage instead and they will be able to source the parts and replace them for you.

2. Be Clever with Your Car Insurance

The BBC reports that over 8 million people across the UK don’t search around for car insurance deals for their car. Instead, they just let it auto-renew every year. If you are one of these people, you could be losing a serious amount of cash to car ownership. The same BBC article highlights how auto-renew car insurance costs can increase the price of your insurance by 200% when compared to finding a new offer. Shopping around before your annual renewal can lower your car running costs dramatically. There are no extra fees for terminating your contract once your full term is up, and there are also no additional fees for starting a new contract with a different provider. You’ll almost always save money by finding a new deal. If you can’t find a better deal, then you can still auto-renew. It’s a good idea to shop around a few weeks before your renewal date to make sure you don’t miss the deadline. 

3. Learn Your Car’s MPG

Every engine has an MPG sweet spot. This is where gear placement, revolution range and speed harmonise to create the most economical form of momentum for the car. Driving in this configuration as often as possible will burn less fuel on the go, saving you money day after day for the entire duration of your car ownership. There is no “one-size-fits-all” answer to the question of what is the best way to maximise car MPG. Every car has its own optimised zone, based on things like age, weight and engine performance. To find the best MPG for your car, experiment with the onboard computer displays that inform you of your current MPG. It’s not an exact science, and it will vary depending on the roads you travel, speed limit restrictions and other factors like the number of people in the vehicle. But by being mindful of your MPG and learning how your car runs, you can optimise performance to cut costs. 

4. Hunt for Cheaper Fuel

Fuel prices are not universal and instead, vary from location to location. Often, when fuel is running low, you’ll pull into the nearest service station or supermarket and fill up — but that isn’t cost-effective. Instead, to reduce the costs of car ownership, it’s a good idea to create a fuel purchasing strategy. Find out where your nearest, cheapest fuel suppliers are and make sure you always fill up at these places. Some service stops — especially those on major roadways and near cities — can raise the price of fuel by as much as 50p for a litre! Don’t make the mistake of massively overpaying. Plan your fuel stops. If you live in the UK, Confused.com has a handy and updatable tool to locate the cheapest fuel. 

5. Be Proactive, Not Reactive with Car Repairs

When a car has an engine or parts failure, it can sometimes mean more than the cost of replacement and repair. The failure may cause damage to your vehicle in other ways, or take it out of action for a long period. These situations can incur extra costs, or leave you immobile. Sometimes, problems are unforeseeable, but often there are predictors. Your manual will tell you at what mileage certain vehicle parts need to be checked and replaced, and browsing ownership web forums of your car make and model might provide insight into other well-known issues. If you know something might go wrong; it’s better to be proactive and get in sorted before it becomes a problem. Proactive costs are always going to be cheaper than reactive ones. Aware that your power steering is prone to failure at 60,000 miles? Get it replaced at 55,000.