Cutting your car costs

Car costs

For most people, cars are essentially a money pit. They’re necessary to get from A to B, and yet they require fuel, maintenance, occasional repairs, tax and insurance – all of which adds up.

So how can you cut the cost of motoring?

Drive smooth, accelerate gently and use the highest and safest gear possible, as this will reduce your fuel consumption. If you’re approaching an orange or red light, ease off on the accelerator – you’re just going nowhere fast. Given the rising cost of fuel, the savings can be considerable.

This will be difficult for most people but, if possible, avoid driving during rush hour. It’s bad for your mood and bad for your wallet – continuous stopping and starting in traffic can require a lot of fuel.

Travel light. There’s no need to lug around a bag of coal in the boot – the heavier your car, the more it will have to work, thus using up more fuel. Remove anything that isn’t necessary and little by little the savings will come. If you have a bike or roof rack that isn’t ordinarily in use, take it off, as they add weight and make your car less aerodynamic.

Take fewer journeys, particularly during the colder months of the year. When temperatures are lower, your engine uses more fuel for the first few kilometres as it tries to warm up. So visit Lidl, Aldi and Tesco during the one trip rather than on separate outings.

Turn off the heating when the windows are cleared. Some new cars, like the Skoda Octavia or the Audi A3, have handy gauges which tell you how much fuel your air con is using. Once you’ve stopped shivering, switch it off.

Keep an eye on your tyres. Keeping your tyres properly inflated isn’t just good for safety – it can also save you money in the long run. Low tyre pressure increases your vehicle’s rolling resistance, which in turns raises fuel consumption. In addition, check your tread depth regularly, and replace tyres that fall below the legal minimum of 1.6mm. It might be costly to do so, but it could prevent an accident down the line, or from getting two penalty points and an €80 fine!


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