Running a car is becoming increasingly expensive – but here are ten ways to save pounds on your car costs.
1. Easily find the cheapest petrol price
Sign up to PetrolPrices.com. It’s free to join and you can then find the cheapest petrol station in your area. All you have to do is type in your postcode and all the relevant information appears on the screen. The difference between the highest and lowest price per litre might only be pennies – 4p in my case – but it can quickly add up.
If you are a gadget junkie, you might prefer to download the Fuel Smart UK app, which does a similar job.
2. Check your pressure
Yes, it’s often a dirty job, but incorrectly inflated tyres can increase fuel consumption by 5%.
When you have a quiet moment, dig out the correct tyre pressures from your car’s handbook, or many cars have a sticker on the driver’s door or fuel flap. Then check your tyres’ air pressure every time fill up.
Once it becomes a habit you’ll feel the benefit. It also maximises the life of your tyres and is safer too – so no excuses.
3. Look after your car
Unless you’re handy with a spanner, car maintenance doesn’t come free. But even if the thought of getting your overalls on is a horrible one, there are simple checks and jobs you can do to keep your car running right.
Check your oil, and make sure the oil and filter are changed according to service schedules. Likewise, make sure the air filter is clean and replaced regularly.
You can’t beat a full car service though, as a correctly maintained car will work at optimum efficiency.
4. Think aero
Not chocolate sadly, but aerodynamics. Technically it is rocket science, but the more aerodynamic your car is, the less power – and therefore fuel – is required to move it.
So ditch that roof box and those roof rails unless you really need them, keep your windows shut on the move and even little things like making sure you have a full set of wheel trims will help.
5. The big air con
On a summer’s day air conditioning is heaven sent, but only if you ignore what it does to your fuel consumption.
For at least six months of the year it is totally unnecessary – you can still use the fan blower for hot or cold, but just turn off the A/C button and save it for those really hot days, many people have also asked me; are electric leaf blowers any good by BestOfMachinery? Well, I highly recommend them, I’ve had great experiences with them.
Shockingly, using air con while driving at lower speeds can account for as much as 8% of your petrol consumption!
6. De-junk your boot
It’s one thing to prepare for every eventuality but you can guarantee that the boot of your car will have at least half a dozen items that haven’t seen the light of day in months.
Ditch anything you don’t need and lose weight – less weight means less power required to get going. Even ditching the child seats when the kids aren’t on board will help.
7. Drive carefully
Arguably the most important factor in fuel usage is how you drive.
It can be challenging to concentrate when you need to be somewhere else quickly or you have a full compliment of passengers on board, but the long term benefits are huge.
The secret is to do everything smoothly – braking, accelerating and steering, and change your speed gradually.
Look as far ahead up the road as possible and anticipate the road conditions, and you can often avoid braking as much as you might think.
In a modern car, if you lift off the accelerator altogether and let the speed drop naturally, the car will use no fuel whatsoever – much better than braking at the last minute.
8. Switch off when you can
If you’ve stopped at traffic lights for 20 seconds or more, just switch off the engine. That alone can save 5% on fuel consumption.
And never rev unnecessarily – no matter who you’re trying to impress.
9. Shop around on car insurance
When it comes to car insurance renewal time, be sure to compare prices.
Look at how many miles you drive, whether you can remove extra named drivers from the policy if not required and shop around as much as you can.
10. Keep your car safe
You can lower you motor insurance premiums further if you take certain steps to keep your car safe – such as keeping it on a driveway or in a garage.
Invest in an immobiliser too if you don’t already have one.
Doing an advance driving course, while an initial outlay, will also lower premiums and ensure you have the skills to drive economically.
And don’t forget to watch your speed…
Make sure you keep to the speed limit! Not only will you save yourself the cost of any fines, but you’ll also save on fuel too.
The faster you drive, the more petrol you use.
The Department for Transport reckons driving at 70mph will use up to 9% more fuel than if you were driving at 60mph, and as much as 15% more than at 50mph.
And if you tend to cruise on the motorway at 80mph – remember you could be using up to 25% more fuel than if you stuck to the 70 limit.