However, there are some practical steps people can take to make savings. From cashback on fuel to ditching the roof rack and paying less for petrol and parking, these 29 tips from the RAC could help drivers make huge savings on motoring.
4. Don’t press the accelerator when starting the car
Some readers will remember that a few years ago drivers had to put their foot on the gas to get the car running. This is no longer the case and could waste fuel as well as damage the engine – so hold off.
5. Check the tyres
Tyres under inflated by 15psi can use six percent more fuel. That’s the difference between averaging 40mpg and 42mpg – potentially saving someone up to £65 a year.
6. Hunt out cheap fuel
You can save many pennies per litre – and therefore many pounds over the course of a year – by searching for the cheapest fuel. The RAC says small changes matter, because at 42mpg and 10,000 miles a year, a 10p increase in the price of diesel would cost an extra £100.82 over the course of 12 months.
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7. Diesel or petrol? Choose wisely
Unless your annual mileage is very high or you predominantly drive on motorways or other major roads, Britons are probably best sticking to petrol. They should also consider an electric or hybrid vehicle.
8. Take an advanced driving course
People can tweak their driving style to drive more economically. An advanced course teaches people how to drive in a more efficient way.
9. Haggle on car insurance
Don’t simply accept the auto-renewal quote, give the insurer a call to see if it can be reduced. Make savings by storing the car in the garage, reducing the number of miles one drives or purchasing ‘black box’ insurance.
10. Claim for pothole damage
According to Potholes.co.uk, as many as one in 10 mechanical failures in the UK are caused by potholes, costing motorists an estimated £730 million every year. People can find out more about reporting a pothole and claiming for damage here.
11. Consider adding family members
If they also drive the car, adding a partner as a named driver can reduce premiums although ‘fronting’ or pretending that they drive the car when they don’t is illegal.
12. Appeal parking tickets
According to the MoneySavingExpert, 56 percent of motorists successfully appeal parking tickets if they think they are unfair.
13. Pay less to park
Apps like Parkopedia and JustPark allow people to park in people’s driveways for a fraction of the cost of some city centre car parks.
14. Don’t overestimate mileage
Work out the annual mileage and let the insurance company know – people tend to say 10,000 miles a year but could drive far less than this. They could be paying for a higher-risk premium than is actually needed.
15. Pay as you go
People who drive less than 6,000 miles per year could save on their car insurance by opting for temporary car insurance, pay by mile or pay as you go car insurance.
16. Park away from others
An easy way to reduce the risk of damage is to park it away from other cars, so their car doors can’t damage it.
17. Buy a smartphone holder
Britons caught using a hand-held mobile phone behind the wheel are now fined £200 and given six points on their licence, yet a good quality smartphone holder only costs £10.
18. Don’t use windscreen wipers on ice
Windscreen wipers can cost £20 or more to replace. Scrape the screen or use de-icer instead, prices start from as little as £1.
19. Conduct a pre-MOT check
According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), around 1.5 million vehicles fail their MOT due to simple things such as faulty bulbs, tyre tread and empty washer fluid bottles.
20. Source car parts
Consider buying the parts online and using a local RAC-approved garage to fit them, potentially saving several hundreds of pounds.
21. Stick to the mileage limit
If a PCP car finance scheme covers a driver for 9,000 miles a year but they drive 10,000 miles, they face excess mileage surcharges at the end of it. Even a 0.06p per mile surcharge adds up to a £180 bill if they go 3,000 miles over.
22. Ditch the roof rack
Don’t carry unnecessary weight around – on average, every 50kg will increase fuel consumption by two percent. Roof bars can increase fuel consumption by 10 percent.
23. Think about selling up and using a car club
For people who don’t drive much, selling up and borrowing a car could be cheaper. Many clubs cost as little as 30p a minute or £5 an hour – or make money from Karshare by renting the vehicle to neighbours.
24. Monitor fuel economy
Fuel efficient driving can save hundreds or even thousands of pounds at the pump over a year.
25. Stop taking it to the car wash
A £5 fortnightly car wash adds up to £120 a year – plus the RAC has a guide on how to wash a car twice as well in half the time.
26. Pay for parking over the phone
Although there is a small convenience fee, people will be notified when their parking is nearly up allowing them to extend it remotely so they’re not caught out.
27. Get a black box
Younger drivers could benefit from black box insurance which monitors how they drive. They could also be better off buying a smaller car as these work out cheaper for younger drivers to insure.
28. Pay for tax in one lump sum
Road tax can be paid annually, monthly or every six months. Many opt for monthly payments, but it works out more expensive over the entire year.
29. Go fully comprehensive
People on a budget often assume third party insurance will be the cheapest although that’s not always the case these days. In fact it might work out cheaper to go fully comp.
The RAC has lots of tips for saving money on fuel, driving and motoring in general. People can sign up to the RAC Drive newsletter here.