Money Saving Focus

By Julia Freeman

The modern motorist seems to be under attack from all sides, with exponential fuel costs, punitive road charges, ever-rising parking fees and stricter MOTs. With the general cost of living also spiralling, many people are wondering if they will even be able to afford to drive a car within the next few years. A survey from Auto Europe [1] estimated that the average British motorist spends £70,000 on fuel (over their lifetime) plus £10,000 on parking and £40,000 on maintenance and repairs. These figures do not include the amount spent on buying, taxing and insuring the actual themselves and they were compiled back in 2017 - before the current price surges. It means that the cost of driving is now roughly equivalent to the cost of a house. Fortunately, there are many ways that most motorists can reduce costs.

Money Saving

Don’t keep buying cars!

Look after them instead. The average car in the UK is 8 years old and despite improvements in reliability, most of them will not reach 12 and will not clock 200,000 miles. That is pretty poor: as many veteran cars will testify, a well looked after car can survive almost indefinitely. With regular professional attention, we believe most cars can last at least 20% longer than they do. More important, good maintenance is cheaper than breakdown recovery and emergency repairs. Just as important, you can easily save for your regular service checks instead of being landed with sudden bills.

 

The government’s pledge to make every car on the road electric will not help bring down the cost of a car purchase nor our fuel expenditure. The government’s targets may be unrealistic. The lack of affordable electricity-generating capacity will probably push back the demise of the trusty petrol engine for a few more years. If you are about to replace your current vehicle, you needn’t feel compelled to take the electric plunge just yet.
 
If you do have to buy a new car, resist the upsell. Things like in-car navigation, additional anti-rust coatings and fabric protection treatments are all things you can have done later or do for yourself at a lower cost. Most research shows that extended warranties are also poor value. Again, there are more economic benefits from taking good care of your car by adopting a regular service plan.

 

Don’t marry your insurance provider!

Some partnerships are better changed often but sadly the figures show that many consumers stick with the same company year in year out even though they could easily secure a better deal by shopping around. We suggest making it a rule to get premium offers from alternative companies at least every year (regardless as to whether you’ve had to claim or not).
 
There are often benefits from getting household insurance from the same insurance company, but don’t let that deter you from reviewing those economic benefits annually. As you probably know, companies that enjoy long-term contracts with their customers often penalise them for being loyal, saving the discounts for new customers.
 
Lastly, never be afraid to haggle with their customer service department. It is surprising how many additional perks they remember when they are pressed a little harder. For example, if your mileage is low and you always park in a garage it isn’t unreasonable to expect a better offer.

 

Service your car often

The basic cost of a car service is very affordable. The price only goes up as a result of prior neglect, so that components have to be replaced or repaired. Tightening and re-greasing linkages in good time prevents wear from developing, not only in the immediate component but often in connected ones too. Regular servicing also virtually eliminates the possibility of an untimely and inconvenient MOT failure.

Routine servicing can also catch signs of poor habits in your driving style or other maintenance issues that you can then rectify. Your tyres are a good example of this, as a habit of driving on over- or under-inflated tyres will leave signs in the form of an atypical wear pattern in the tread. Correcting your error could reduce costs by doubling the lifespan of your tyre set.

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Choose the right tyres

Although electric cars are generally cheaper to maintain, the benefits do not extend to every component. The simple fact is that electric cars and hybrids are substantially heavier than equivalent conventionally-powered cars and that extra weight takes a toll on their tyres and suspension. The brakes too have to handle more weight but this is, to some extent, mitigated by regenerative braking.
 
Whether your vehicle is electric or combustion-engined, cheap tyres can be a false economy for many drivers, but so too can expensive ones. It is always necessary to consider the kind of tyres you need carefully. The ideal tyres depend on the kind of car you drive and how you expect to use it.
 
For example, putting a set of premium sports tyres on an average commuter car will deliver virtually no performance benefits nor economic benefits. Sports tyres are optimised to provide superior handling when travelling and manoeuvring at high speed rather than at normal speeds, and they may even sacrifice other qualities - such as mileage durability. Choosing a tyre with sports handling will therefore cost more and you could be replacing them sooner. On the other hand, budget tyres rarely offer the same mileage durability as a regular set from a premium brand.
 
All-season or winter tyres are not cost-effective if you do not save them for the road conditions for which they are designed. The extra grip of these tyres can cause faster wear on warm dry roads and increase your fuel consumption as well (or reduce your range in an electric car). The majority of motorists will save more money in the long run by fitting fuel-efficient tyres. Also, avoid fitting XL or SUV tyres unless your vehicle requires them because although durable, they may also raise your fuel consumption.

Buy Tyres

Our website makes it easier than ever to compare the features of all the tyre brands compatible with your particular vehicle. You can also book a free tyre check which will help you predict the date at which your car will need a new set.

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About the author

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By Julia Freeman
Julia is Head of Retail Marketing for Protyre and loves engaging with customers and the business as a whole to make sure Protyre is more than just a local garage.
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