Money-Saving Driving Tips to Get You Through January

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Audi at dusk

We all know that keeping and maintaining a car can be an expensive task, but for some of us, it’s a necessity. January can be an especially hard month when it comes to money – that early paycheque in December is welcomed with open arms initially, then come January, some of us are struggling to get by in what seems to be the longest month ever. 

To help you get through this long and tiresome month, we’ve pulled together a list of ways you could reduce costs and save money when running your car.

Fuel

Did you know, there are cashback options available when purchasing fuel? A number of credit card companies offer incentives for using your card to pay for fuel. It may seem to be only a small amount you get back, but every little helps! 

Click here to read MoneySuperMarket’s guide to the best credit cards to buy petrol with. 

A lot of fuel stations sell premium fuel, claiming these fuel types offer performance and economy advantages, whilst keeping your engine clean. Unless you are driving a performance car, you’re unlikely to see a difference from purchasing premium fuel over standard fuel. Save yourself an average of 10p extra per litre and stick to standard fuel! 

Hunt out the cheapest fuel in your area – you may be able to save a small amount of money per litre. By doing this throughout the year, you could save yourself a fair bit of money. As you drive by petrol stations, take a mental note of the prices, then when it comes to fuelling up, you know which station in your local area is the cheapest to go and fuel up at. 

Some supermarkets and fuel stations offer loyalty cards – take advantage of these to cut fuel costs down further. 

Tyres

Buying economical tyres can make a big difference in the performance and fuel economy of your car. When it comes to buying new tyres, the cheapest are often the most desirable merely due to cost – especially if the unexpected cost falls at a bad time of the year – but this can sometimes be a mistake in the long run. 

Cheaper tyres do not perform as well as higher-end tyres and can sometimes affect stopping distance and vehicle handling negatively. If you are EU based, you can find out the fuel efficiency of your tyres on the EU tyre label – all tyres sold are fitted with one. You can read more about EU tyre labels here. If you are based in the US, you can read about your tyre labels here.

Did you know, if your tyres are under-inflated by 15psi or more, your vehicle will be using on average 6% more fuel? Keep an eye on your tyre pressure to ensure you are driving as economically as you can whilst getting the right value for your money on your fuel.

Insurance

Car insurance is usually the most expensive vehicle-related cost you face each year. When it comes to renewing your car insurance, don’t just accept your auto-renewal quote – insurers can quite often bump this up slightly. Instead, shop around – see if there are any other car insurance companies that offer the cover you need for a lower cost. If all else fails, ring up your current insurance company and ask if there is anything they can do on costs – sometimes they knock some money off, as they would rather do this than lose your custom entirely. 

Adding family members to your insurance can decrease your insurance premiums, for example, 18-20 year olds pay the highest premiums, so adding parents as named drivers can help decrease costs. Sometimes having parents as named drivers can bump up the cost too – so check the cost of both before committing to your policy. 

Claim Pothole Damage

Potholes are caused by the expansion and contraction of water after it has entered the ground under the pavement. When water freezes, it expands, making roads weaker – cars drive over the weak roads and eventually, potholes form. Potholes can be very damaging to cars, and can often lead to expensive repairs. 

You can sometimes claim compensation if a pothole causes damage to your car, however, in order for your claim to be successful, the pothole must have been reported to the local council by a member of public previously, as they cannot be liable for defects they were not aware of in the first place. So, if you see a pothole – report it to your local council at your earliest convenience. 

Drive Gently When Your Car is Cold

Did you know, cars are least efficient when they are cold? When you first start your car, drive steadily to lower the chances of wasting fuel and wearing your engine out. Alongside this, you should not leave your engine idle for too long – if you want your car warm on a Winter’s morning, it might be worth investing in a car with heated seats or a heated steering wheel. 

Don’t Use Your Windscreen Wipers on Ice

Tired of having to defrost your windscreen in a rush? Invest in some de-icer or an ice scraper – the last thing you want to be doing when money is tight is putting your windscreen wipers on in the hope it is going to clear the ice quicker and tearing them. Windscreen wipers can cost £20 upwards to replace – we’re sure you’ll agree that a cheap bottle of de-icer is a better alternative to replacing your windscreen wipers completely!

Empty Your Car of Unnecessary Items

Do you drive around with a roof rack on or with a full boot? Just ask yourself this – is it required all year round? Carrying unnecessary weight in your vehicle can increase fuel consumption more than you think. On average, for every 50kg of extra weight you’re carrying in your car, you will use an additional 2% of fuel. 

So, remove your roof rack when not in use, and have a clear out in your boot! Anything you don’t need – take out!

And there you have it – our top tips to save you money on car running costs and maintenance! We hope we’ve taught you something new so you can start saving money on your motoring costs right away.

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