With more and more people trying to be frugal in today’s economic climate, one thing that is often overlooked is how much you spend on fuel, car maintenance and general car upkeep. Let’s talk about 5 helpful tips for saving money when motoring.
1. If you drive a manual learn to change gears earlier
Drivers of a manual car have a saving grace when it comes to fuel economy. Let’s talk about basic car mechanics. Changing gear at higher RPMs causes your vehicle to use more fuel, as more fuel equals more power to pull your car along.
The economical way to save on fuel costs is to simply change gears earlier. Many modern cars have built in notification symbols on the dashboard to let you know when to change gear. Older cars may not have this, but a general rule of thumb is to change gear at around 2,000 RPMs to save fuel. You can easily attain those 40-50MPG figures when changing gear conservatively.
2. Use your brakes more efficiently
You may have a habit of braking hard and fast when coming to a stop, but this actually wears your brake pads out far quicker, meaning you’ll need to change them more often. As well as wearing them faster, you’ll also use more fuel if you’re constantly braking in traffic and then speeding up again once the congestion alleviates.
An easy solution to fix this is to simply brake from further away and using more progressive force when coming to a complete stop. This ensures you’re giving your brakes a lighter tap for a longer period rather than a sudden halt.
And for saving more fuel in traffic, simply leave more space between you and the car in front so you can see when traffic further ahead is coming to a stop. This way you can be progressive with your braking and acceleration, rather than constant harsh braking then hard acceleration.
3. Try car leasing & contract hire rather than outright buying a car
Car leasing is currently an extremely popular way to save money and a large majority of cars on UK roads are now leased or financed under PCP deals. Let’s look at an example:
You buy a car outright from a dealership or private sale. It costs you £4,000. You use it for a few months but suddenly a catastrophic engine problem occurs and you need to shell out £1000 to a garage. You then have no vehicle for a few weeks whilst they fix it and you have to use public transport or rely on other people to help you. This can happen with any vehicle, especially with a previous owner that didn’t look after it correctly. We’ve experienced this as we bought a second-hand car last summer and have already spent £2500 in engine and turbo repairs!
The other scenario is you lease a brand-new car costing you £200 per month with a £200 deposit. Per year this is only costing you £2400, less than half the price as how much it cost for the previous car plus the engine to be fixed. But with a brand-new car you don’t have to worry about any problems popping up or previous owner negligence!
Nowadays most contract hire deals are fairly cheap due to fierce competition, you can even get Audi or Volkswagen lease deals below £250 per month! There are plenty of offers as well such as your vehicle tax being paid for by the manufacturer, or free accessories that would otherwise add big bills onto buying a car outright.
If you’re looking for a cheap way to own a vehicle for a few years, vehicle leasing could be worth looking at.
4. Check your tyre pressures
Something that people forget to check is the pressure of their car tyres. Each manufacturer will have a specific set of pressures for all of their models, for both front and back wheels. It’s a proven fact that the wrong tyre pressures will decrease your MPG, as well as make your vehicle unsafe to use.
Make sure you’re checking your tyre pressure at least once a month. You can find the manufacturers settings usually in your car’s manual or via a Google search of your make and model. Most modern cars come with a new technology called Tyre Pressure Monitoring System or TPMS. This tells you if your car tyres have become underinflated after they’ve fallen a significant amount.
5. Avoid paying for petrol at service stations along motorways
It’s very well known that service fuel stations along motorway routes charge more than regular fuel stations as you’re usually desperate to fill up. If you can, avoid having to stop at these by filling up your car to full at a regular station before you attempt a longer journey.
Motorway services don’t just have more expensive fuel, you’ll also be paying extra for food as well; which is a double hit to your wallet! Plan your journey in advance and make sure to stop off at fuel stations closer to urban areas, as these won’t charge a premium.
There are lots of ways to save money when it comes to motoring to ensure you are not paying more than you need to. By saving money on motoring costs you’ll have more money to save or splurge on the things you really want.