The world seems to be getting more expensive by the minute, and it isn’t even luxury costs that are making us feel the pinch either. Things like heating your home, your weekly grocery shop, your tech insurance; it all going up (and while your interest rates are going down, may we add). But no niche area of your life has seen such as sharp incline in costs as the world of cars.
Motoring costs have risen faster than a shuttle launch, and no one can tell us why. We had one reader tell us about how their motoring insurance had risen from $350 a year to $1219, and do you know what the insurance company said, “well, prices have gone up by an average of 20%,” which doesn’t exactly explain why it had shot up by 257%.
But it isn’t just insurance premiums that seem to be “creeping” up, it is motoring costs across the board, which is why we have come up with a list of quick cash-saving tips. Some will save you cents, others will save you dollars, but all of them will help drive a smile on your face.
- Time To Swap Your Tyres
When it comes to changing your tires, most people can’t bear the thought of spending any more than the minimum, which is why they always go for the cheapest option available. However, this decision could be a rather expensive mistake in the long run. Not only is performance sacrificed, especially when it comes to things like braking distances and handling, your fuel economy may also take a bit of a knock too. The simple way to make sure you don’t fall prey to this mistake is to have a look at the fuel efficiency rating that is printed onto all decent tire brands. If you see a letter G, then avoid it at all costs or risk going bankrupt this winter. If it says A, then snap it up as quick as you can because you could get an extra 2.5mpg out of your car’s performance. Kerching.
- Forget About Premium Fuel
We’ve all been there. Stood at the fuel pumps, making sure we get the right fuel for fear of wrecking our car, only to spot a pump that says “Premium”, offering a few more octanes-slash-cetanes. Essentially, these premium fuels are claiming to be better for your car’s performance and economy, while also cleaning and protecting your engine. For just a few dollars more, it seems like a great deal. However, unless you are driving a certified sportscar, you will have a tough time telling the difference, which makes the privilege of such a decision a waste of money. Now, you may think a few dollars a week won’t make much of a difference, but it is said that US driver’s waste more than $2.1 billion putting premium fuels into cars designed specifically to run on standard fuels. Of course, if you’re not sure where your car stands on the sportscar scale, then it could be worth doing your own test and seeing if it’s worth it.
- Take It Steady, Eddie
This is one of those bits of advice that is a) a bit boring (we know that) and b) absolutely critical to winter. Cars are at the least efficient when they are cold and we mean that in every sense of the word. Going from startup to speedy as quick as possible is terrible for fuel efficiency. Not easing your car in when it’s frosty is a surefire way to wear your engine out. Drive like you do when the sun is out and you’ll risk an accident. And lastly, make sure you are anticipating things all the time. We’re talking about being alert. Make sure you know what is going on around you so that you can be better prepared for it. That means looking at signals up ahead. It means doubling your stopping distance. It means anticipating what other drivers are doing so that you can avoid an accident, although if you’ve been hurt in an auto wreck, read: Do I Have a Car Accident Injury Case? And What Is My Case Worth? Taking it steady is the most effective way to save yourself problems directly, as well as reduce the risks of you being slapped with a hefty financial bill. So, remember, those that take it slow and steady always win the race and, if that doesn’t do it, remember it’s better to be ten minutes late in this world than ten minutes early for the next.
- Tire Pressure Is A Big Problem
This is one of the simple checks that could save you a small fortune, both in terms of fuel economy and in terms of risk. Sure, it may cost you a dollar to use the air pressure machine at your local filling station, but the savings will outweigh this almost instantly. Of course, if you want rather not have to stop by a filling station or a garage every week, then you could buy yourself an electric pump that allows you to check your tire pressure and inflate them yourself. To give you a better understanding, tires that are below the recommended psi by fifteen are going to affect your fuel economy by 7%. That can add up to a lot. But, like we said, it isn’t just fuel economy. Riding on under or over-inflated tires can seriously increase your chances of having an accident, or indeed your ability to avoid one, which relates to the point above.
- Insurance Is The Worst
Depending on where you live, motor insurance premiums are the biggest cost you face on an annual basis. And it is going up by what insurers are calling 20% and what drivers are realizing is much much more. However, you don’t have to accept the first auto-renewal quote you get given or the ones you get after that. Instead, what you can do to get a better deal is negotiate with the broker on the other end of the phone, who will act as the middle-person between you and the underwriter. It is a business and they are selling you a service, which means it is open to a quick haggle. In order to be super-successful at this, it is worth shopping around for quotes first so that you know exactly what the average is and whether you have struck a good deal. The other thing you can so to better your negotiating position is to think about the things that perhaps influence your premium most, such as where your car is kept overnight, your age, your job, where you live, your experience, your history and whatever else. The more you know your position the better your argument and the better your ability to negotiate.
- Appeal Against The Parking Fines
It is well with your right to appeal against any parking fines you may find stuck to your windshield. The worst that is going to happen is you get denied and then have to pay what you already had to pay. The best thing that could happen is you present a good argument and they drop their case. But that isn’t all because there is a middle ground too, one where they don’t say yes or no, but reduce the fine instead. So long as you present your evidence, check what the terms in that location were, be mature, understanding and polite, you may find it is well worth the thirty minutes it will take to appeal. In those situations where you really do have to hold your hands up, the other thing you can do is pay quickly, which usually sees you get a hefty discount.
- Perfect the Art of Sourcing Parts
Nothing hurts more than the 20% a mechanic or a shop adds on to a repair job for sourcing parts. So, to reduce this sting by an almighty amount, find out what parts they need and source them yourself. On the one hand, you will be able to get the parts 20% cheaper without any hassle whatsoever, and on the other hand, you may be able to find them even cheaper than that, which makes it well worth your time, especially if there is a lot of work to be done. The Internet is your savior on this front.
- Minimize Your Motor
We’re not saying you need to swap your Dodge Ram in for a Mini Cooper. Not at all. What we are saying is you should get rid of any extra weight or drag that is making your car less economic. If your boot is full of junk you don’t need or use – or bits you only use now and again – then take them out. This will make a noticeable difference to your car’s performance, especially if you live in a city where stopping and starting is a way of life. The next thing you should do is take your roof rack off. Yes, it takes about eight minutes to take off and put on, which is a pain, but it also causes drag, to the tune of a 10% increase in fuel use.