We all like to save money to spend on things that are fun, minimising the amount we have to shell out on boring stuff. Running a car is one of the most expensive things in the lives of many people, so this week is all about money-saving tips for the young motorists we insure.
Air conditioning: turning it off at slower speeds can help boost fuel economy, so if you’re driving around town on a hot day, see if it’s possible just to lower your windows a little instead.
Petrol stations: okay, they sell diesel too, and the tip here is to try and avoid buying fuel from a retailer located near to or on a motorway, a major A-road or in remote countryside. This is because they often sell petrol and diesel at more expensive prices than supermarkets or other big filling station brands located just outside town centres. Filling your tank to the brim makes your car heavier, so aim for 50-75% instead, making sure there’ll be enough in the tank to cover your intended journeys.
Inflating your tyres: if you don’t have 20p or more in your wallet or purse, use the sat nav on your smartphone to locate the nearest Sainsbury’s, because their fuel stations typically provide tyre inflation machines that are free to use. Just don’t be surprised if there’s a queue.
Driving style: accelerating hard when traffic lights turn green and leaving it until the last minute to brake firmly to a stop at red traffic lights will not only negatively affect your Driving Score with Carrot, but it will also cost you more in fuel. Pull away and come to a stop gently to do more miles per tank.
Wheel alignment: to prevent your tyres wearing down as quickly and also to improve your car’s fuel economy, it’s a good idea to take it for a full 3D, four-wheel geometry session where the wheel alignment will be checked and adjusted. This will also result in a smoother, quieter ride.
Part-worn tyres: spending money on tyres isn’t exciting or appealing on any level and it’s natural to seek a good price, but part-worn tyres can often be a ‘false economy’. After all, tyres play a huge part in how safe a car is, and part-worn tyres are basically second hand, with no real guarantee over their history. New ‘budget brand’ tyres are often better, as most of them are actually produced by posh, expensive tyre brands anyway.
Weight: removing unnecessary clobber from the boot and back seats of your car, reducing its weight, can improve its fuel efficiency, saving you making trips to the pump as frequently.
MoT tests: get on Google and search for your nearest council-run MoT test centre, as they often charge less for the test and, unlike some dishonest garages out there, won’t try and come up with as many recommended repairs as they can think of, simply to get you to spend money with them.
Premium fuel: most filling stations offer both standard and more expensive versions of the petrol and diesel they sell. Whilst it makes no sense to top up older, cheaper cars with premium fuel (which is mainly intended for sports cars), it can be beneficial to put some posh fuel in every-so-often. This is because the additives can help clean and prolong the life of a car’s engine.
Parts: if the quote issued to you by a garage for repairs sounds too steep, ask them if they’d mind you sourcing the parts yourself. Search on eBay and Google and you’d be surprised how much money can be saved and it’s often possible to get the cheaper parts delivered directly to the garage doing the repairs.
Taking notice of these money-saving tips for young drivers will hopefully leave more money in your wallet or purse to spend on fun things on weekends or holidays. Don’t forget to use your Carrot Card, too, and if you have any extra tips to share, get in touch on Twitter or Facebook.