Written by Karen Bryan
Most people who are running a car would like to save money. But motorists should be careful about ways to save, as some can turn out to be false economies.
Buying the Cheapest Car Insurance
Of course you want to get good value on your motor insurance and not be paying more for the same cover. However, I don’t believe that you should necessarily just buy the cheapest policy. I start my search by using a price comparison site such as www.carinsurance.org.uk. I always look at the excess payable if I have to make a claim and add the no claims and legal protection. I aslo check the admin fees if I need to make a change on the policy and whether adding breakdown cover to the car insurance policy is cheaper than buying it separately.
Not Maintaining Your Car
Our car, a Skoda Fabia 1.4TD, is now almost 8 years old and we’ve never had any problems with it. However it is regularly serviced and we do any work recommended by the garage. Sometimes the garage bill is a few hundred pounds, but we think it’s worth paying to keep a reliable car on the road. It’s cheaper in the long run to pay for most repairs and keep a car for 8-10 years, than the depreciation on buying a new car every 3-4 years. However, sometimes when a car is getting on and needs an expensive repair, it may be time to cut your losses. I decided to ditch our Mondeo when it was worth around £1,500 but repairing a leak in the engine was going to cost almost as much as the value of the car. You should also keep an eye on your tyre tread depth, as you could be fined if they are below the legal minimum. But more importantly you could end up having an accident if your tyres aren’t adequately gripping the road.
Not Using the Car
With high fuel prices, you may be tempted into using your car as little as possible. Now, while I’m certainly not advocating doing a lot of short distances e.g. driving to a local shop to buy some milk when I could easily walk or cycle, it’s a bit pointless having a car if I hardly use it. We worked out that it costs us around 10 pence a mile for diesel. So if you do 10,000 miles a year, it’ll cost £1,000 in fuel. However, depreciation for the car for the first few years was around the same amount. Therefore even if we never used the car, it would still cost us £1,000 a year to have it sitting in the driveway.
This article was included in the Festival of Frugality 337.