keeping you on the road
With unleaded petrol still rocketing in price, and garages charging £40 to £50 or more per hour in labour, motoring is not getting any cheaper. However, there are savings to be made by making intelligent decisions about your car and the way you use it.
One of the best ways to save money on your motoring is to choose a car with good fuel economy. If you’re upgrading and choosing a new car, think hybrid. Modern hybrid cars will switch between conventional and electric motors in the most fuel-efficient way to cut your fuel costs considerably. The best fuel-efficient cars, such as the VW Polo Blue Motion or the Toyota Prius, will not only improve fuel economy, but they will also save you money in road tax as they are exempt from the annual charge.
If you are not in a position to change your car, you can still improve the mpg you get for each tank of fuel. Canny drivers are looking for ways to make significant savings.
A well-maintained car will always deliver better fuel economy, so make sure your engine oil is topped up and changed when you have your regular car service. The cost of regular maintenance will be more than offset by your fuel economy and the prolonged life of your car, not to mention the reduced risk of a major breakdown.
You can even save money on washing your car by avoiding the expensive automated car wash and having some fun with your kids instead. Everyone loves messing about with water and you’ll save money every week. If the novelty wears off, go for a hand car wash without drying, which is cheaper and the car will dry on the drive home.
Your driving style can have a significant effect on improving fuel economy. Starting your car before you are ready to drive away is a waste. Modern engines do not need to warm up like older cars did. Once driving, you should always try to accelerate smoothly, rather than rushing to get up to speed, and the reverse is true when stopping again. Easing off the power as you approach a junction is one of the best ways to save fuel, as opposed to braking and wasting all that energy you have paid so much for.
Top fuel saving tips when driving long distances are to try to get up to fifth gear as early as possible, and adopt a driving style that keeps your speed constant, rather than always speeding up and slowing down. Keeping to a reasonable speed will also pay dividends, as fuel economy drops away rapidly beyond 60 mph. Work out the difference between journey times at 70 mph and 60 mph and you’ll be surprised at how little extra you will add to your journey, yet the fuel savings are significant.
Bargain hunting can be fun if you approach it with the right attitude.
Failing your MOT can be a costly business, even if it is for a minor fault, so make sure you have checked your car thoroughly before your test. Many reputable garages will service your car and then put it through its MOT.
Some small things you can do yourself. Check wiper blades and bulbs in particular, as these cost a few pounds to replace, but can be much more expensive at a garage.