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How to Cut The Cost of Motoring

Owning and running a car can be an expensive business. You don’t just have to consider the initial purchase cost of your car, but also the ongoing costs.

It can all mount up, but luckily there are several ways in which you can cut the costs of your motoring.

Cut The Cost of Motoring: eAskme
Cut The Cost of Motoring: eAskme

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Insurance

One of the biggest annual costs for any car owner is insurance.

The amount you will pay for your car insurance will depend on a range of factors including your age, driving history and post code.

Drivers under the age of 20 face the highest premiums, with costs often exceeding £1000.

The lowest prices are for drivers in their 40s or 50s.

The good news is that as you gain experience in driving and build up your no claims bonus, your premium should go down.

There are however some other ways to reduce the cost of insurance.

The golden rule when buying any type of insurance is to shop around.

Prices can vary hugely between insurers and a couple of hours checking out comparison websites and going direct to the insurer online can save you substantial sums.

The same theory is true when it comes to your annual renewal time.

Don’t just accept the renewal quote from your current insurer. Shop around again then go back to your current insurer to see if they will match the lowest quote.

Fuel

Fuel prices are constantly rising and as your car won’t work without petrol or diesel, it’s another cost you can’t avoid.

However, there are ways of reducing the costs.

Supermarkets often compete heavily on price, so it’s worth keeping your eye out for deals locally.

Supermarkets may also offer you a discount on fuel when you do your shopping in store. 5p per litre might not sound very much, but it’s £2.50 off an average tank. If you’re filling the car weekly, it could be an extra £130 per year in your pocket.

Your driving style also affects the amount of fuel your car uses.

Things like choosing the right gear, driving smoothly rather than braking and accelerating sharply and keeping your types at the right pressure can all affect fuel economy.

Don’t carry around heavy things in your boot, and remove the roof rack or roof box when not in use.

Car Tax

This money, also known as Road Fund License, is paid directly to the government as a direct cost of motoring.

It used to be money which went into a fund specifically for the upkeep of the road network, but now just goes into the general taxation pot.

Having car tax is a legal requirement, and if you drive around in an untaxed car, you risk a fine and points on your license.

Untaxed cars can also be seized and crushed. If you’re not sure whether your car is taxed or not, you can check online.

All you need to do is enter the car’s registration number and the results page will show both the tax and MOT status.

The website will also indicate the tax band which applies to your car. This is a relatively complex system which is based on how polluting the engine of your car is. Hybrids and electric vehicles don’t pay any tax at all, and neither do owners of vehicles over 30 years old.

If you’re considering switching cars soon, choosing a less polluting vehicle could send you substantial amounts on your tax going forward.

MOT

Another annual cost for owners of cars which are over 3 years old is the MOT test.

There are two elements of cost to this; the test fee itself, and any repairs that are required to get your car’s pass certificate.

The test fee is capped by the government, so you’re free to shop around and see if any local garages are doing special offers.

You can check online to see when your car’s current MOT certificate expires.

You can have your car’s next MOT done at any time, but if it’s done four weeks or less before the current certificate expires, the certificate will be extended for a full year from the expiry date.

As far as repairs are concerned, the best advice is usually to get your car in the best shape possible before presenting it for a formal test.

Do some research online and check things like tires, windscreen wipers, lights, brakes and other elements which are common reasons for failures.

Remember that you are free to haggle with the garage over the cost of the repairs should anything
need done.

If the car fails on faults which are not marked as dangerous, you can take it away and have it fixed elsewhere.

Servicing

One of the best ways of ensuring your car sails through its MOT without needing expensive repairs is to keep up to date with the servicing and maintenance throughout the year.

Not all cars need to have a major service annually.

Each manufacturer sets out its own service program, and the length of time between services will depend on mileage, age of vehicle and type of engine.

All of this information should be clearly stated in your car’s manual and service log.

Many owners think they have to get their car serviced at a main dealer, especially if it is under warranty.

This isn’t necessarily the case.

Most warranties which you are given with a new or second hand car state that you have to get your car serviced at a “reputable” garage.

This doesn’t mean a main dealer, which might be a lot more expensive than a local trader. Choosing a garage which is also accredited as a MOT testing station is a good start. Ask friends and family to recommend a good local mechanic or search online.

Remember to get your car’s service history stamped and signed by the dealer on the day the work is done which will prove for warranty purposes that you’ve kept up with the dealer’s recommended servicing intervals.


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