Owning a car is expensive. It’s not just the initial outlay you have to consider, but the ongoing and recurring costs including insurance, petrol, servicing costs and parts. However, if you are organised and do your research, it’s possible to reduce car running costs and save hundreds of dollars every year. These are our top 4 tips for minimising your car expenses.
1. Research, Research, Research
Ideally, your research should begin before you purchase your car. Reading car reviews is the best place to start. CarsGuide, Carsales and NRMA publish the latest new car reviews and you can also find plenty of articles and reviews on older models as well. This comparison table of the running costs of popular vehicle models provides an excellent starting point or try the NRMA’s car operating cost calculator. Talking to other car owners will also give you an insider’s view on the real running costs of the model of car they drive. If you don’t have time to do the research yourself, a car broker can offer you independent advice on the most economical cars.
2. Consider Insurance Costs
Again, insurance is something you should consider before you purchase your car. It goes without saying that different cars will attract different insurance premiums. However, you might not realise just how much difference there can be between similar car models, especially if an insurance company decides to classify them in a certain way. Sports cars, for example, will always attract a higher premium.
Other things you can do to make sure you are getting the best insurance price include:
- Review your policy every year instead of taking the easy option and renewing with your current insurer.
- Consider your excess and increase it if you think this is appropriate.
- Inform your insurer when your circumstances change (a different address or different drivers, for example, can sometimes lower your premium)
- Read your policy and make sure you aren’t paying for services you don’t need.
3. Drive to Reduce Fuel Costs
Driving around to find the cheapest petrol is often not as effective as changing your driving behaviour. Two of the biggest fuel wasters are hard braking and rapid acceleration. Instead, accelerate gently when you can and try not to drive aggressively. Other top driving tips to reduce fuel consumption include:
- Turn your car off instead of leaving it idling whilst waiting for someone.
- Try not to use your car for short trips (walking and cycling are great alternatives!).
- Use cruise control on freeways to maintain a smooth, steady speed.
- Make sure your tyres are all filled between 35-42 PSI – this will ensure better adherence to the road and less rolling resistance which = better fuel economy.
- Empty your boot of heavy items where possible.
- Use air conditioning sparingly.
4. Shop around for Servicing
Servicing your car regularly is vitally important and will save you money in the long run. Not only will your car run more smoothly, but any potential issues can be identified before they become costly mechanical problems. So, how do you ensure you don’t blow the budget? Shop around. Call different garages and ask for a quote. Even if your car maker has a capped servicing scheme, it still pays to shop around to make sure you are getting the best possible deal. Capped price servicing assumes a flat labour rate across Australia – the labour rate varies significantly from dealer to dealer.
Thinking of buying a new car? Don’t have time to do the groundwork? Call Your Buyer today. We take care of the hard work, so you save time and money.