The great man is he who does not lose his child's heart. (Mencius, Chinese philosopher 372-289 BC)

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

The True Costs Of Running A Car

Guest Post

How much?
Day to day driving may seem like an affordable pursuit, but when you start to calculate just how much it costs to keep your car on the road, the totals can be quite frightening.

According to Sainsbury's Bank, the average cost of driving per year is an incredible £3,000 (!!). With figures like this it pays to think carefully about how you can reduce the amount of money you spend on driving.

Here are 4 handy hints to help you save money on your motoring, courtesy of Jeremy Chapman, a regular contributor to Sainsbury's Money Matters blog.

1. Finding Fuel

The price of fuel is constantly in the media spotlight, and for good reason. Buying fuel for your car is one of the biggest running expenses that you can incur. Although you can't change the cost of oil coming into the country, you can choose where you buy your petrol or diesel.

Be eagle eyed and look out for good prices in your locality. Use to help you spot the best value petrol in your area. Make the most of vouchers entitling you to money off at the pumps from some of the major supermarket chains.

2. Insurance

There are ways to make savings in this area, but remember that the cheapest quote might not give you the best value for money. Here are some practical steps you can take to cut your premium.

a) Drive fewer miles
Fewer miles equals fewer quid on your insurance costs PLUS you get to save on fuel and wear and tear plus get to claim the mantle of eco-warrior as you do your bit for the planet. Bicycle anyone?

b) Park your car in a garage
If this is possible, then clear out the clutter in this neglected outbuilding and park your car in there instead. Tell your insurer and it could reduce your premium.
NOTE - Please only park your car in a garage if you possess a garage - parking in a neighbour's garage without prior permission is likely to cause a nasty scene!

c) Spend time researching the best value policy
Shop around online for an affordable policy that meets all your needs. Consider what extras you'll need and don't be tempted by features you are unlikely to use. 

d) Breakdown recovery
Look for for policies which offer breakdown recovery as an added extra. This CAN BE an affordable way of protecting yourself against the high costs of emergency call-outs.

3. Car Maintenance

Knowing how to look out for potential problems with your vehicle could save you money in the long run. With a little research you might also be able to take on simple repair jobs at home!

A weekly check of your vehicle can help you keep on top of things. Check oil and coolant levels and the condition of your tyres on a regular basis. This could help you avoid pricey problems in the future. 

This video (from Sainsburys Bank Car Insurance) will show you how.

4. Repairs, MOTs and Services

This area can be a real money pit so do your research. Garages charge different labour rates and the standard of service differs from one mechanic to the next. Ask friends and family for recommendations, use websites like and consider using a mobile mechanic - less overheads so potentially a lot cheaper.

This post was written by Jeremy Chapman, a regular contributor to Sainsbury's Money Matters Blog. He loves writing about driving. In his spare time he can be found making himself giddy in a Go Kart!

Speak soon
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