How to Save Money as a Driver

Ellie Dyer-Brown, 5 days ago

3 min read

  • How to
  • Car ownership
iStock-1136108830 (1)

WhoCanFixMyCar offers some advice for motorists on how to save money.

Life is getting more expensive by the year, so every penny counts. With that in mind, here are our top tips for saving money as a driver.


1. Drive carefully when your car is cold

When your engine is cold, it’s much less efficient. This means that if you accelerate hard or drive fast when you first start your car, you’re wasting fuel. It’s a good idea to be more cautious during the winter anyway, but you should definitely wait until your engine has warmed up before you put your foot down.


2. Find the cheapest fuel near you

Filling Up with Petrol

We all know that fuel prices vary depending on where you go, but it can seem like too much hassle driving around looking for the best price. Fortunately, there’s an app that can help. PetrolPrices.com allows you to compare prices from petrol forecourts across the UK, and by using it, you could save hundreds of pounds each year.


3. Check your tyre pressure

Checking Tyre Pressure

If the pressure in your tyres gets too low, it increases their drag, which makes your car less fuel efficient. Tyres underinflated by 15 PSI can use as much as 6% more fuel.

Regular tyre checks are the best way to go. Tyre pressure fluctuates with temperature changes, and the sooner you notice it's not right, the less money you'll spend on extra fuel. It's a simple way to save.

Check out our ultimate guide to tyre pressure for more information.


3. De-clutter your car

A packed car.

Most drivers are guilty of harbouring unnecessary clutter in their cars at one point or another. But there’s a genuine reason, other than hygiene and tidiness, that you should declutter your vehicle - especially if you’re storing items that might be weighing it down.

The heavier your car is, the more fuel it uses to get you from A to B, so unless you’re storing something essential in the boot, it’s worth getting rid of excess weight.


4. Buy eco tyres

The type of tyres you buy matters. Budget options might be cheaper initially but they could cost more in fuel in the long run. Research by Which? found that a quality 'energy saver' tyre could boost fuel economy by around 2.5mpg compared with the worst tyre for rolling resistance.

A tyre label

You can check how efficient a tyre is by looking at the EU tyre label. An 'A' rating is the best for fuel efficiency, meaning the tyre has a low rolling resistance. The worst rating is 'G'.

Read our ultimate tyres guide.


5. Claim for pothole damage

Pothole Damage

Potholes cost motorists millions of pounds yearly, with as many as one in ten mechanical failures caused by them. Many drivers don't know that you can make a claim if a pothole has damaged your car. Your success will depend on whether the local council is aware of the pothole; if they aren't, they're not liable.

You can report a pothole on the Government website here. If you decide to make a claim, you must address it to the correct authority, providing information about the issue and any evidence you have collected, such as repair invoices, a current MOT certificate and photos of the damage.


6. Avoid driving with an empty or full tank

Regularly driving with only a small amount of fuel in your tank can lead to problems with the fuel system since dirt and sediment tend to sink to the bottom and circulate around the engine.

Fuel pumps at petrol station.

It's also worth considering that fuel is heavy, so if you fill your tank up, your car will be carrying a lot of extra weight. It'll have to use more fuel to move. Experts recommend maintaining at least a quarter of a tank at all times, and for fuel efficiency, it's best to find a happy medium between full and empty.

Find out what to do if you put the wrong fuel in your car.


7. Find cheap parking spaces

There are many ways technology can make our lives easier as motorists, and one is by helping us find affordable parking. The closest space you can find might not be the cheapest, so we recommend checking a parking app like Parkopedia or YourParkingSpace.

That being said, if you’re looking for an inner city parking spot, you should probably weigh up how far away the space is because you could end up sitting in traffic, wasting fuel.


8. Get a black box insurance policy

The thought of having your driving monitored may not be appealing, especially if you’ve been doing it without incident for years. However, it’s important to note that black box insurance policies, often associated with younger and less experienced drivers, can actually offer benefits to drivers of all ages.

Car telematics/tracking

Black box policies measure your speed, acceleration, and how harshly you brake. Most will then give you a score, and if the score is good enough at the end of the year, you’ll get a cheaper renewal offer.


9. Car share

Know someone who’s heading the same way as you? Why not arrange a car share? Nowadays, you don’t need to know someone going in the same direction; instead, you can use websites like BlaBlaCar that allow you to arrange carpooling online.

BlaBlaCar

10. Add family members to your insurance

If a friend or family member also drives and could get some use out of your car, it's worth adding them to your insurance. Doing so could make your policy cheaper overall, and if the other named driver has more of a no-claims bonus than you, you'll sometimes be allowed to transfer it.

This guide covers everything you need to know about insurance, including how to get it cheaper.

Driver and passenger in car.

11. Take an advanced driving course

There are several benefits to taking an advanced driving course. Some courses teach techniques for saving fuel by altering your driving style - such as hypermiling - and completing one will likely bring your insurance premium down because you are considered a more skilled driver.


12. Shop around for the best car insurance deal

When your renewal quote comes through, you don't have to accept it - the chances are, you'll be able to find a better deal elsewhere, and if you do, you can try to use it as leverage to haggle the original quote down to an even lower price.


13. Avoid using your windscreen wipers on ice

Switching your wipers on when the windscreen is icy will make them wear out faster, and they can cost £20 or more to replace. Instead, use a bottle of de-icer and a scraper to clear the glass.

Learn how to clean and change your windscreen wipers.

Man scraping Windscreen

14. Practice hypermiling

Hypermiling is a style of driving that aims to use as little fuel as possible. It involves things like planning the most direct route possible and parking in places that avoid unnecessary manoeuvres. You can learn more about it in our guide about how to get the best fuel efficiency from your car.


15. Wash your car yourself

The cost of getting your car cleaned by someone else or a drive-through soon adds up. Instead, why not clean it yourself? It will save you money and allow you to spot any bodywork or tyre damage sooner. Check out this guide for car cleaning advice.

Cleaning a car headlight

16. Pay road tax annually

Drivers who are on a tight budget might opt to pay their road tax monthly, but it works out more expensive doing it that way. If you can, it's best to pay the full amount up front.


17. Downsize your car

Fiat 500

SUVs and estate cars typically cost more to run. If you don't need the extra space they provide, consider downsizing to a smaller model with a more economical engine. The road tax and insurance will likely be cheaper and you'll spend less at the garage forecourt. You might even be able to make money from your sale.


18. Keep up with maintenance

Maintenance is crucial for keeping your car in good condition. It will likely save you money by reducing the frequency and severity of repairs needed over the vehicle's lifetime. Book a full service each year, and check key fluids like engine oil and coolant in between.


19. Change gears earlier

Changing gears sooner than usual is an excellent way to increase fuel efficiency. This technique is known as short changing. Generally, a higher gear with a lower RPM (less than 3,000) will lead to a better MPG.

iStock-changing-gear

20. Use the A/C mindfully

Having the aircon switched on uses more fuel. It might be necessary on longer journeys, but if you're popping for a quick trip to the shops, consider whether you can go without it.


21. Compare maintenance and repair quotes using WhoCanFixMyCar

Paying for repairs is an unpleasant part of car ownership. But you could save money by shopping around, just like you would with car insurance. WhoCanFixMyCar allows you to request quotes from local garages and compare them based on price, reviews and location.


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