Cars are not cheap. Even if you buy a bargain, there’s the cost of fuel and insurance to consider. To keep your car in good condition you’ll need have it serviced. Then there’s the annual MOT test for cars over three years old, and the cost of wear-and-tear parts like tyres. It soon adds up. If you want the cheapest car running costs, here are our tips…
Think about running costs when you choose a first car
Don’t wait until you have bought a car to start thinking about the cost of running it. Look for a car with a low insurance group rating (they run from 1 to 50, with 1 being the cheapest). Choose a model with good fuel economy too.
Cut insurance costs
Some young drivers end up paying as much to insure the car as it cost to buy. Keep the cost of cover right down by choosing a telematics policy, which is almost always cheaper for newly qualified drivers than regular car insurance.
Don’t get a quote from one company. Shop around to see what different providers will charge. Find out if there are discounts for fitting a dash cam, or a reduction for using extra security like a steering lock.
Drive better, save more
It’s no good having a telematics policy if you drive aggressively. Accelerate and brake smoothly, and obey the speed limit to keep the insurance premium low.
Being a careful driver doesn’t just save on black box insurance bills. Smooth driving means you’ll put less wear on parts like the brakes, clutch, and tyres. The less wear, the better they last. The better they last, the longer it will be before you have to pay for them to be replaced.
Driving well is an easy route to the cheapest car running costs.
Keep on top of basic maintenance
Checking oil levels isn’t difficult. It only takes a few minutes.
If you know the oil is a little low, you’ll be able to top it up before a low oil level causes damage to the engine. That would cost a lot more than the price of a few litres of oil.
Shop around for servicing
You are not obliged to use a main dealer to have your car serviced. You will almost certainly find that a good independent garage will undercut the cost of having your car serviced at a franchised dealer.
Get a few quotes before you decide which garage to go with.