Our car is like our weekly supermarket shop: A necessary, but often painful, family expense. But there are some simple tricks and tips that can help shave off some of the cost of running a car.
MyFamilyClub’s Gemma Johnson visits Alice and her family to share the secret.
1. Check your tyre pressure
Incorrectly inflated tyres can increase fuel consumption by 5%. Take the time to find the correct tyre pressure from your car’s handbook, or check the sticker that some cars have on the driver’s door or fuel flap to indicate. Getting into a habit of checking the air pressure not only saves you money in fuel but maximises the life of your tyres.
2. Simple checks and maintenance
To keep your car running right, simple checks and maintenance are essential and will mean your car works at an optimum efficiency – saving money in the long run. Things like making sure the oil and filter are changed, the air-filter is cleaned and replaced regularly, and having a full car service can make a real difference.
The more aerodynamic your car is, the less power and fuel is required, and the more money you save. Take off roof boxes and racks unless you really need them, keep windows shut on the move and have a full set of wheel trims.
4. Avoid using air con
During the summer months we may all be tempted by the cool breeze of the icy air-con in the car, but blasting out the air conditioning can really eat up fuel, so it’s best to avoid it if you can.
5. De-junk your boot
Less weight means less power required to get going and can save on fuel, so ditch anything you don’t need.
6. Drive more smoothly
Fuel-optimise your driving by avoiding harsh braking, and changing your speed gradually. 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.
7. Drive slower!
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. If you tend to cruise on the motorway at around 80mph – remember you could be using up to 25% more fuel than if you stuck to the 70mph limit.
8. Switch off the engine
Stuck in traffic for a long period? Switch off the engine. That alone can save 5% on fuel consumption.
9. Compare your car insurance
Before renewal time approaches shop around as it could really save you money. Look at how many miles you drive and whether you can remove extra named drivers from the policy. Also lower your premiums by keeping your car safer, such as on a driveway or in a garage, or by investing in an immobiliser.
10. Take advantage of special offers
From time to time supermarkets incentivise shoppers by offering money off fuel when they spend a certain amount. Keep your eyes open for deals and offers of petrol!
11. Shop around
Find the best price for your fuel by checking on websites such as PetrolPrices.com that let you see where the best price is in your local area.