How to save money running your car

Maintaining a car can be a costly exercise – but there are way that you can cut your driving bill for the year. Find out how in this blog.

We have sourced 5 of the best money-saving tips from MoneySaving Expert to help you reduce your bills:

1. Don’t assume third party cover is cheapest

The minimum level of cover to legally drive on the road is known as ‘third party’ insurance – a specific type of insurance that covers you for any damage to another vehicle (or property). It also protects passengers in your car and the public, but doesn’t give fire or theft cover.

It used to be the cheapest type of cover, but bizarrely, fully comprehensive policies can be cheaper for some. This is because selecting fully comp may mean you’re considered a lower risk profile.

Always make sure you get quotes for third party and fully comprehensive. Remember with third party, you and your car aren’t covered for loss or damage.

To get max quotes at speed, check comparison sites and that the policy’s right and see if cashback’s available. Always check your policy, so you know exactly what you are and aren’t covered for in the event of a claim.

2. Use hidden MOT centres for fewer fails

Regular MOTs are a must for any vehicle. Yet as their maximum cost is fixed at £54.85 for cars, it’s not the test fee but repairing the fails which often makes the biggest dent.

If you’ve had problems with dealerships in the past, council-run MOT centres generally don’t do repairs, so they’ve no vested interest to fail you.

3. Don’t buy premium fuels for standard cars

Many petrol stations sell ‘high performance’ fuels, yet there’s little or no performance difference for most standard cars. So for an easy saving, don’t fill up with the super fuels unless you’ve a sports car that you’ve been advised will actually use the petrol correctly.

The AA says that for most, high performance fuels are too pricey for regular use. But if you’re keen, it suggests using three tankfuls in a row to keep the engine clean and efficient, then reverting to normal fuel, as the engine may benefit from the fancy fuel’s extra detergents.

It also says using good quality engine oil helps to make your car’s engine last longer and can give better fuel consumption, so it’s worth using the recommended type of engine oil for your car if you can.

4. Time your MOT right

Your car needs an MOT when it’s three years old (four years in NI), then once a year after. Yet timing is crucial.

Get a test in the month before the current certificate ends and the new one will expire exactly a year from the original’s end date (the earliest date you can do this is printed on your test certificate).

But get it tested more than a month before the MOT’s due and it’ll expire exactly a year later, meaning you lose out.

5. Learn DIY car maintenance

Why pay for basic repairs and car maintenance when you could do them yourself? The time and effort spent learning how to fix and look after your car could also prevent more serious problems happening down the line, saving you even more dosh.

Of course, if you’re ever in doubt then seek professional advice, but if you’re keen to learn for yourself then check with your local council, as well as nearby colleges, to see if they are running any cheap car maintenance courses.