Driving Down Car Costs: Expert Reveals How You Can Save Money on the Cost of Running Your Car

For many Brits, owning a car is a necessity… not a luxury. With public transport fares constantly rising – not to mention the unreliable running of many of these services – people rely on their vehicles to get to work, complete important errands, and manage their families.

A recent report revealed that the average UK car owner spends over £3,000 each year to run their car, which works out to £250 per month. As the nation continues to battle through a cost-of-living crisis, this is a hefty outgoing amount to throw on top of utility bills, rent, and food. Understandably, many people are now desperate for guidance that will save money on running their cars.

Jonathan Such, head of sales at First Response Finance, said: “We know how expensive it is to be a driver in the UK right now. There are so many costs to consider, both before and after you get your vehicle. Buying a used car on finance is one way to reduce the amount of money you pay out at once, and it’s even more valuable if you can find a finance company that doesn’t hit you with hidden fees.”

But what happens once you secure the vehicle? Jonathan has put together his top tips and tricks to help you save money on road tax, insurance, and fuel.

Save money on tax

Car tax is an unavoidable annual outgoing for most UK drivers. The money goes into a government pot which is then used to fund projects such as road works and maintenance. How much a driver will pay per year depends on various factors, but there are a few ways you can try to reduce this cost.

Company car – If your employer offers a company car scheme, it could be a good idea to see whether you qualify or not. If you use a company car for work, the cost of tax may be covered by your employer, thus saving you money.

Older car – Do you prioritise practicality and convenience over having the latest and greatest model? Consider driving an older car, as cars that are over a certain age may be exempt from car tax.

Electric vehicle – Saving money on road tax is great, but not paying it at all? Even better. Electric vehicles are exempt from road tax in England, and they come with further benefits such as being kinder to the environment.

Tax exemptions and reductions: Some circumstances may mean you’re eligible for tax exemptions or reductions. These include your vehicle type, vehicle usage, and driving habits. Rules and regulations can change over time, so it’s always best to check with the UK government’s Department for Transport.

Used vehicle – Second-hand vehicles are often subject to lower road tax fees compared to brand-new vehicles. If you’re looking to upgrade your vehicle, make sure you investigate all available options before committing.

Save money on insurance

It’s mandatory to have motor insurance in order to drive your vehicle on UK roads. Again, while how much you pay is determined by various factors such as age, location, and driving experience, you could save some cash by implementing the tips below.

Shop around for insurance quotes – Don’t accept the first quote you’re given. Instead, compare quotes from multiple companies to find the best rate available.

Bundle policies – Identify whether you can bundle multiple insurance policies into one. For example, combining your home and car insurance could result in valuable discounts. Every penny matters!

Credit score – Maintaining a good credit score can reduce your insurance rates. You can do this by consistently making repayments on time and avoiding multiple credit applications.

Usage-based insurance – It might be worth shopping around to find an insurance company that offers usage-based insurance. This will track your driving habits, adjusting rates where appropriate and potentially lowering the cost.

Clean driving record – Sometimes accidents happen, and they can be no fault of your own. Avoiding accidents and traffic violations can keep insurance rates low, so it’s worth being extra careful while on roads.

Save money on repairs

There’s nothing worse than discovering an issue with your vehicle when you’re on your way to work or facing a to-do list that’s teeming with various errands. If your car needs repairing, there’s little you can do to avoid this. However, here’s how you might be able to save some money.

Regular maintenance – Prevention is better than cure! Ensure you’re taking your car for regular check-ups and oil changes, as this can prevent more expensive repairs later.

Do it yourself – You might be able to carry out simple repairs yourself, such as an oil change or replacement of spark plugs, with the right tools and guidance. This would save money on labour costs; however, it’s important you’re confident in your abilities.

Shop around for parts – If your car requires a new part, you should compare prices from various retailers to guarantee you’re getting the best deal and making the most savings.

Don’t neglect warning signs – All drivers will find themselves guilty of ignoring warning signs at least once in their life. Doing this can result in more expensive repairs down the road, so it’s worth catching the problem early. If you hear a strange noise or notice a warning light, consult a professional!

Get a second opinion – If you’ve been given a repair estimate that seems quite high, you’re well within your rights to get a second or even third opinion from different mechanics. If there’s a saving to be made somewhere, you deserve it.

Save money on fuel

Filling up the vehicle with petrol or diesel can be one of the biggest outgoing costs associated with driving for many Brits. With prices constantly rising and fluctuating in recent times, it can be difficult for drivers to get a handle on how much to budget. What you spend per month will also depend on how much the car is driven, but here are a few things Jonathan insists you need to consider.

  • Regular vehicle maintenance
  • Proper tire pressure
  • Don’t idle while on the roads
  • Use cruise control
  • Combine trips
  • Drive sensibly
  • Invest in fuel-efficient tires
  • Plan your route
  • Reduce air conditioning usage
  • Remove excess weight from the boot
  • Drive with the windows closed
  • Search for fuel discounts
  • Carpool where possible

Think smarter, act smarter, save money