Owning a car isn’t just about the upfront purchase price; it’s the whole life cost of your vehicle that matters. That’s why it’s important to budget for all costs, including the least visible ones.
Insurance premiums can be a significant payment each month or year, but keep in mind that your costs would be a lot higher if you had an accident and no insurance cover. While you may want to go budget and take out third party-only Insurance, how would you cover the costs of repair of your own vehicle?
Having insurance in place is important: if you’d like to reduce your premium while keeping a good level of coverage, there are certain steps you can take.
For example, you can choose a higher excess. The higher your excess, the lower the premiums, usually. Check with your insurance provider how much you could save by taking on more of the cost of a claim yourself.
Another way to reduce premiums is to lock up your car. If you have a garage for your car, make sure you use it. This may offer you a lower premium, as the car is perceived to be less at risk of being stolen. Plus, you can amp up your savings by having a car alarm or immobiliser fitted; most insurance providers offer a discount if you are security conscious.
Do you take your car to the mechanic for every little fault? While having a good service programme and a good mechanic definitely help you keep your car in tip-top shape, consider whether you can take on some of the smaller maintenance jobs yourself.
For example, you could keep your transmission and radiator fluids topped up, change wiper blades when they get worn out or replace the air filter yourself. YouTube has some great tutorials, and you can learn to take care of basic maintenance.
Doing simple, non-mechanical repairs yourself can save you money, but leave the big stuff to the professionals; if you get it wrong, it could cost a lot more to fix and can even create safety issues.
Saving on petrol
If the cost of petrol is taking the joy away from planning a road trip or is affecting your everyday budget, we’ve got good news for you. With a little bit of knowledge, you can conserve petrol, and reduce your costs.
By using fuel vouchers, for example. It might only be 6c a litre, but that can add up over a year. Say your car takes 50 litres to fill. If you use a discount voucher, that could be a saving of $3 each time you fill up your car. If you fill your car once a week, then you can save about $150 per year – which might equate to a free tank of gas.
Another way to save is by keeping a steady speed. The higher your revs go (speeding up), the more fuel your car needs to use. That’s why driving around town seems to get you fewer kilometers per full tank than driving on the open road. Constant stopping and starting means your car needs to rev higher to get the go-forward.
And lastly, be aerodynamic. You may think that keeping the windows down, rather than using the air-con, is a way to use less petrol. However, open windows create drag out on the open road, and therefore your car uses more petrol to maintain its speed. Keep your windows up, to enjoy some fuel conservation.
The hidden costs of owning a car can affect your budget. But by using these tips, you could reduce your costs and enjoy using your car even more. In the meantime, if you have any questions about your car loan, please get in touch: our team at Motor Vehicle Finance is here to help.