How to cut your motoring costs

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Nobody wants to spend more money than they have to – whether it’s on music, booze or transport.

While we can’t give you any tips on slashing your booze or music bills (well, we could, but…), we can offer a few pointers on how to cut your motoring costs. Here’s a stack of ways to reduce your motoring costs; some will be practical and others won’t. Pick and choose between them and see which ones you can adopt; add them all together and you could trim your annual motoring budget by hundreds of pounds. 

Keeping your car properly serviced doesn’t have to cost a fortune

Buying

  • Depreciation is one of your biggest running costs; buy a new car and in the first year its value will plummet. Because it’s a hidden cost (at least until you come to sell the car), it’s often overlooked. Don’t fall into the same trap; do the sums before buying new.

  • Diesel cars cost more than petrol ones to buy, so don’t pay a hefty premium for a diesel supermini if you cover just few miles each year. A petrol-powered small car will be economical and as a result it’ll take forever to recoup the extra cash you’ve laid out.

  • If you’re buying the car on finance, shop around to get the best deal. Websites such as moneysupermarket.com and moneyexpert.com allow you to compare all the deals available, to make sure you’re getting the best one.

  • Don’t buy a used car too readily; check it out thoroughly to avoid costly hassle in the future. Check out our full guide on how to buy a used car.

Selling 

  • If you’re selling your car, pitch its asking price at the right level. Too high and the phone won’t ring; too low and you’ll be out of pocket. Look at autotrader.co.uk to see what other cars like yours are going for.

  • Prepare your car properly before selling it. Check out our guide to car cleaning to see how you could increase your car’s value by hundreds of pounds, with minimal effort, plus our advice section on how best to sell your car

Owning 

  • Keeping your car properly serviced doesn’t have to cost a fortune – especially if you do at least the basics yourself. Why pay somebody £50 an hour or more just to change a light bulb or top up the radiator? They’re very simple jobs that you can do yourself; if you’re not convinced, buy a Haynes manual for less than £20 and start saving with the first task. See haynes.co.uk for more.

  • Unless you’re fairly committed, you won’t be able to do a lot of the jobs on your car so you’ll need to call in the professionals. You don’t have to go to a franchised dealer though; use an independent garage recommended by friends, as the bills will be lower.

  • If your car needs new parts, you don’t have to opt for genuine items in the manufacturer’s box. Pattern parts are usually just as good, often made by the same company that makes the official bits, and almost always the cost is much lower.

  • As you can read in our insurance section, saving a packet on cover is possible, just by shopping around. Don’t lie to get cover though, and don’t insure your car in your mum’s name because it’s dishonest and illegal.

  • Drive more economically (check out our tips on eco driving).