Driving on a budget
Being a student can be a huge struggle financially, especially in the current cost of living crisis, and with the added pressure of running a car, cutting the costs may seem like an impossible task.
We've compiled 10 top tips and suggestions to help you minimise driving costs by making sensible choices to achieve the best economy out of your car.
As younger, inexperienced drivers fall victim to the highest insurance premiums, it's important to know exactly how you can reduce the costs.
- Additional qualifications like Pass Plus can help reduce the excessive premiums by up to 35 percent. Take one week out of your life after you have passed your driving test and invest in the Pass Plus course, which can cost as little as £100.
- Invest in a fitted black box: a device that monitors your driving habits in order to build a comprehensive profile of you as a driver. If you respect the speed limits, your insurance can become a lot more affordable.
- Add a named driver: an additional, more experienced driver on your insurance may bring down your premium.
- Steer clear of car modifications like body kits, which can categorise you as a risky driver to insurance companies.
- If you're still in the market for a new or used car, make sure to choose wisely when it comes to insurance groups - you'll find cars with lower insurance groups are often cheaper to insure.
2. Be Fuel Smart
Choosing your fuel type and driving habits are two key aspects that can help improve your fuel economy and save you those precious pennies.
- Avoid premium fuel: whilst you're a student, you don't need to be splashing out on luxury fuel - basic does it best.
- Shop around for the cheapest fuel: supermarkets often have competitive fuel prices, and allow you to build up reward points to spend on your shopping.
- Slow down: how you drive can save you a lot of money on fuel, so change those gears frequently. Remember, the higher the gear, the less fuel you will use.
3. Diesel or Petrol?
If you commute to uni, then a diesel car may cost you less in the long run, as their general automotive health can last longer than petrol cars. Choose diesel if you do at least 10,000 miles per year, or if you plan to own the car for a long time.
Petrol is the slightly cheaper fuel option at the pump.The fuel choice is ideal for a short-term car that you plan on swapping once you're working full-time, or if your journeys tend to be short most of the time.
4. Look after your car
Vehicle health checks and services are essential if you want to avoid breakdowns and unwanted bills. Just like your medical health, the condition of your car must be well-kept if you want it to last for a long time.
There are various at-home checks you can complete on your car to avoid forking out for repairs in the long run. You may consider it unnecessary, but checking your oil, tyres, and various other aspects of your car can be a very simple task once you know how.
Don't dread your MOT, there are a few things you can check off your list to make sure you're not spending a bucket-load.
- The highest price for an MOT is around £55, but some garages charge less than this, so it’s worth looking around for a lower price.
- Educate yourself on how to fix minor issues such as checking tyre pressure and oil levels: this can help you save yourself the hassle of forking out for easily preventable mechanical problems that may stop you from passing your MOT test.
6. Buy a brand-new car
Do you have a part-time job whilst at uni? If so, it might be cheaper for you to invest in finance on a brand-new cost-efficient car, and here's why:
- No MOT required for three years.
- New cars come with manufacturer warranties of at least three years, sometimes even longer.
- Flexible car finance options such as PCP and PCH have made it much easier and more affordable to buy new cars.
- They use the latest generation petrol, diesel, and electric powertrains that are much more fuel efficient, saving you money on running costs.
7. Invest in breakdown cover
If you get stuck in a sticky situation when you have no choice but to call a recovery company, it's best to be prepared so that you're not forking out a massive bill for emergency recovery services.
Investing in breakdown cover can put your mind at ease and ensure you’re covered should an emergency hit.
8. Share your Car
What's the point in travelling to the same place at the same time in separate vehicles? Whether you're commuting from home or from a shared house away from your uni, sharing a car can be the best way to:
- Divide the fuel costs
- Contribute positively to the environment
- Reduce traffic
- Make friends
9. Drive Safely
This may seem like an obvious one, but driving safely means you'll avoid collisions and damage to your car. Even the simple mistake of bumping your car can potentially damage the internal mechanics, which can be deemed more serious than what you might originally think. Driving safely involves:
- No drink/drug driving
- Wearing a seatbelt at all times
- Not using your mobile phone
- Paying attention to other road users
- Keeping within the speed limits
10. Avoid Unnecessary Fines
It goes without saying that every driver wants to prevent being fined, but these charges don't just occur when you're behind the wheel. Many often forget about a couple of situations that can put you at risk of getting a driving-related charge.
- Make sure you tax your car once a year, or you could risk facing a fine of up to £1,000.
- Driving licence photos must be replaced every 10 years: you could be fined up to £1,000 if you drive while your photocard's expired, but it's only around £14 to renew online.
Save Your Pennies
Simply making a few small changes could have a significant impact on the cost of running your car. Taking care of your vehicle and doing your research will help you keep the costs down and get the most out of your car.
Our extensive range of available services offer you a cost-effective way of keeping your vehicle in tip-top condition at a low price. Contact your local Evans Halshaw dealership for any vehicle servicing or repairs.