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17 Feb 2021
Jamie Gibbs Alice Campion

Eight ways to save money on your motor

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Feeling the pinch? Here are some effective ways you can save money on your car. 

Running a car is a living cost that mounts up throughout the year.  

In fact, on average, people pay £1,600*  a year to run their car. 

Of the people we asked, over a fifth thought fuel and insurance were the most unreasonable when it came to car running costs. 

If you’re nodding in agreement, keep reading. We’ll look at how you could bring some of these costs down. 

 

What is the most expensive part of car ownership? 

We asked the public how much they spent on car running costs: 

Motoring costs

Average price

Fuel costs

£484

Insurance

£330

Tax

£173

MOT and the cost of repairs associated with it

£172

Other maintenance – tyres, headlight care etc.

£165

Other motoring costs

£107

Cleaning costs

£87

Congestion or toll road charges

£81

 Average total cost

£1,600

 

 

How can I save on fuel costs? 

Fuel is the most expensive running cost for a car at £484 a year, on average. 

Luckily, there are some easy adjustments you can make to save on fuel costs: 

  • Remove any extra weight from your car 

  • Inflate your tyres to their proper pressure 

  • Only fill up with as much fuel as you need 

  • Avoid idling 

  • Avoid short trips in the car if you can walk 

Some supermarkets offer money off after spending a certain amount in store.

Some credit cards also give cashback for filling up. If you want to save, don’t go for the premium fuel at the pump – it’s not worth it if you have a standard car. 

You can also use our petrol prices tool to find the cheapest petrol near you. 

Want to know more about saving fuel? Take a look at our tips on improving your fuel economy.

 

How can I save on car insurance costs? 

The second most expensive cost for drivers, but possibly the easiest cost to save on. 

Surprisingly, over a third of people didn't know they could save by shopping around for insurance. 

Our advice? Don’t auto-renew. Insurers don’t reward you for loyalty, so using comparison sites can save a bundle. 

In fact, you could save £226** by using a comparison site – and conveniently, we do just that. 

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Another nifty trick is to pay your insurance annually. Nearly two in five people didn't know they could save money by doing this. 

Remember, never lie on your insurance. This is fraud and will cost you a lot more than your premiums. 

 

How can I save on car maintenance costs? 

MOT's and maintenance are costing drivers around £337 per year. With cleaning costs too, the total reaches around £424. 

 

MOTs 

Before you take your car for its MOT check your: 

  • Lights 

  • Vehicle body and tyres 

  • Windows and mirrors 

  • Documentation for your car 

It helps if your car is clean too. Conducting these simple checks throughout the year means you can spread the cost of repairs. You might even be able to fix some of the issues yourself.

Our guide on preparing your car for it's MOT can give you more information.

 

Parts and repairs 

For general maintenance or repairs try comparing garages to see who can do the job effectively for the best price. 

If it’s just a part that needs repairing on your car you could save money by ordering it yourself. Only do this if you know what you’re getting. 

 

Tyres 

You don’t need a garage to check your tyres. Check them yourself using a 20p piece.

If the tread covers the rim of the coin, then your tyre tread is fine. Some garages will do a free tyre check if you want a professional opinion though. 

You can buy tyres online and fit them yourself. This is often cheaper but remember that delivery will cost. You should only fit them yourself if you know what you’re doing. 

You can check you’re getting a decent tyre at Tyresafe

Not yet tired of tyres? Read our guide on tyre maintenance.

 

Cleaning 

Although that clean car smell is the stuff of dreams – do you really need to get it valeted every few weeks? 

You might save a few quid if you buy your very own valeting kit. 

Most portable hoovers clock in at around £30. Valeting kits start at around £20. 

Check prices on Amazon for portable hoovers

 

 
Check prices on Amazon for valet kits

 

 

 

My car was damaged by a pothole, can I claim back the cost of repairs? 

Between 2017 and 2018, there were roughly 905,000 potholes on the road. This caused almost £3 million’s worth of damage to cars. 

But did you know you can claim this damage back? 

Nearly four-fifths of people didn't know they could claim for pothole damage through their insurer. 

And over half of people didn't know they could claim for pothole damage through their local council. 

If your car has been damaged by a pothole, your local authority could be responsible. So you might be entitled to compensation. 

Our guide on claiming for pothole damage can tell you more. 

 

How can I save on tax?

When you tax your car, you have the option to pay by instalments or pay the yearly amount in full. 

To save, it’s worth paying it outright. 

For example, if your car was in tax band E, paying tax in one instalment would cost £150.

Spread this out over 12 months and you’ll end up paying £157.50 overall. 

 

How can I save on parking? 

Parking in any city centre can be costly. Opt for the park and ride or on-street parking that’s out of the city centre. 

Always check the signs around where you’re parking. It could be that there are restrictions at certain times of day. 

You shouldn’t skimp on safety to save cash though. 

Make sure you’re not parked on a junction, on double yellow or single red lines. Single yellow lines usually have restrictions, so check the signage before you park or wait there. 

 

How can I save when I’m buying a car? 

Think about your budget. It’s not just the initial outlay of the car, the running costs can mount up too. 

Trading your car in could knock money off the initial cost. Use our free car valuation tool to get an estimate on how much it's worth. 

Buy a used car instead of a new one. The value of a new car drops as soon as you drive it off the forecourt. You should make a significant saving even if the car’s only a year old. 

Or if you want that new car feeling but with a lower price tag, you could try getting a nearly new or pre-registered car. 

You can find out more on this in our guide on buying a new vs a used car.

Don’t be afraid to haggle either. 

Nearly a third of people are reluctant to haggle. A third said this was because they were too nervous. Over a fifth said they didn't know how to. 

Dealers won’t be surprised by you asking for money off, and the worst thing that happens is that they say no. 

Another tip – your haggling game will be vastly improved if you come armed with the best prices you’ve found.

That way, you have a benchmark price which will help you bring the dealer’s price down. 

Read our step-by-step guide on buying a car for more information.

 

How can I save on car finance? 

Car finance is a great way to spread the cost of buying a car. But did you know you can shop around for it? 

Often dealerships will offer you car finance, but you might find a more competitive agreement by looking elsewhere. 

When asked, over two-fifths of people didn't realise they could get a better deal on car finance by shopping around.

Another two-fifths weren’t aware that they didn’t have to accept the dealer’s car finance offer. 

It just so happens we can help you compare car finance too.

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*Figures taken from omnibus research carried out by OnePoll on behalf of Confused.com. This was a nationally-representative poll of 2,000 UK adults. The research was conducted between 12 February 2021 and 15 February 2021.  


**Based on data provided by Consumer Intelligence Ltd, www.consumerintelligence.com (November 2020). 51% of car insurance customers could save £226.43

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