Money Saving Motoring
Lets face it, we’ve all got enough expenses these days, and if you are not blessed with a new motor, then running an older car can at times be an expensive habit. From major restoration work to every day running costs and the price of fuel, a few tips to save a bit of extra cash would help most of us.
If you have something old enough to be considered a classic, you might actually be in luck. Despite what might be perceived as the expense of running a true classic, we are fortunate enough in the UK to have a situation in which there are in fact financial benefits to running something a little older. Firstly, we are all aware of the huge amounts of depreciation suffered by new cars, which usually lose between 20 and 40% of their value in the first year. Buying something 3 years old or perhaps slightly more will give you the same benefit as a classic, but many classics are the only cars where in fact value can increase rather than reduce If your car was built pre 1974, then it qualifies as a classic, meaning you will have no road tax to pay, which can save over £200 a year and have quite an effect on your budget.
Insurance really does take a sizeable chunk out of the UK motorists budget. Changes to the MOT regulations for classics which are due to come in at the end of 2012 do hold implications for rates of insurance on classic and veteran cars, but in the meantime, and perhaps after, there are distinctly advantages here to running a classic rather than a modern car. Specialist insurers will be much more informed about your car and it’s pitfalls, and a little judicious comparison between quotes and policy details can make all the difference. Discounts are sometimes also available to owners club members, so do check if you are a member whether you could save; in some cases the saving may well be more than the cost of joining, so it is definitely worth checking this. Given that many classic owners tend not to do a great deal of mileage, you will get further discounts by agreeing an imposed mileage limit. Do be aware that policies do vary in terms of depth of cover, so check the fine print an ensure you get a policy that offers a more than adequate level of cover.
Whether or not your car is a classic or simply rather, ahem, sophisticated, How you drive does have a fairly significant impact on how much driving is costing you. Smooth, even driving with gentle and timely gear changes makes by far the best use of fuel available. Even experienced drivers are aware that motoring with a heavy foot is not good for fuel economy, so don’t cane the engine or push it to perform in lower gears.
Try not to carry unnecessary loads. A toolkit or similar heavy load in the boot may be a convenience, but the extra weight will be costly.
Shop around for fuel. It is easy to get into the mindset of just filling up or putting in a tenner (not that that would get you very far these days!) but actually fuel prices can vary by quite a bit. Supermarkets often have very good rates, and some also come with loyalty card points which can add up quickly if you do quite a lot of mileage.
If you have any skill at all with a spanner, basic maintenance done at home can save you quite a bit. Routine maintenance can flag up problems long before they turn into costly repair jobs, so look out for your tyres, oil levels, fluids and gearbox on a regular basis. Keep to the tyre pressures guide in your manual, as underinflated tyres mean the engine has to work much harder, using more fuel. Also try to keep an eye on tread on a regular basis; as uneven wear will alert you early to any more serious issues with tracking or similar which may lead to a more costly replacement job than necessary.
A clean car is much less vulnerable to rust and rot, both of which can be very expensive to correct and will have a detrimental effect on the cars future resale value, so spend a little time cleaning and polishing to keep the body work in spick and span condition, and you will likely save yourself plenty in the future.
Garages obviously have overheads, and skilled labour is costly. Complicated work definitely needs an expert, but for routine, simple jobs, those that you can do yourself are worth attempting. Jobs like checking and changing filters and oil will be covered in your manual, and are not massively time consuming. Slightly more in depth jobs are also possible to cover at; but it is worthy asking for advice first to ensure you do not do more damage than good if you are at all nervous about your skill levels.