• Home
  • Car Blog
  • Can you help me keep car costs as low as possible?

Can you help me keep car costs as low as possible?

Can you help me keep car costs as low as possible?

2 May 2022 Concept Car

Car costs are nothing to sneeze at. Depending on the kind of car you drive and how many miles you make, they can take a sizeable bite out of your budget.

Keeping car costs as low as possible can make the difference between being able to afford a car or not. Do you need to save on car costs as well?

In this article, we’ll help you. We’ll focus on providing actual, hands-on suggestions which can make a real difference.

So many articles you’ll find on the web offer nothing but banalities. “Get a second job,” they’ll recommend, “Compare prices,” or “Reduce your costs.” For most of us, these are the things we’re already doing. Now tell us something new.

We’re confident that we’ve done that in this feature.

How much does a car cost per month?

Good question, next! Although providing general statements about something as relative as car expenses can seem like trying to put a number to the length of a piece of rope, there are a few indications we can give.

We can draw from two different studies, one from 2018 and one more recent, from 2020. Since these come from well respected sources and are independent of each other, taken together, they provide for a pretty comprehensive picture of what to expect.

Let’s take a look at the numbers!

The 2018 study calculated the cost of using the car at £162 per month. So that adds up to just under £2,000 a year. This does not include the cost of buying the car, which come in at an average of £226 per month. All combined, you’d have to factor in £400 each month.

The 2020 study distinguishes between those paying for their car outright and those relying on car finance – an interesting and sensible distinction. According to Nerdwallet, “the average annual cost of owning a car in the UK comes to £3406.80 for those who do not have car finance – for those that do, the figure rises to £5744.40.”

This translates to £283.90 and £478.7 respectively.

Assuming you need a loan, you’ll need to factor in around £450 if you want to be on the safe side.

That’s a lot of money! Thankfully you can do something about them.

Since loan costs alone take up a huge chunk of the costs, let’s start there.

Purchasing costs – keep things simple!

Buying a car can be difficult. But it’s not overly complex unless you make it so.

To keep things simple, focus on the following five points which, together, will help you save a lot of money.

  • Buy used: Although used car prices are undeniably rising even faster than those for new vehicles, a second hand car is always going to be more affordable than a new one.
  • Buy a less popular model from an older model generation: This is the best way to save money. Make sure the car is in top shape, though, and that it is safe to drive.
  • Make a down payment: Not a popular suggestion, but arguably the biggest contribution to keeping loan costs low you can make. 10% for a used car is a good indication. But, really, any amount you can afford is an improvement over no down payment at all.
  • Pay off the loan as fast as you can: Which doesn’t mean you should pay it off at a crazy speed. Just see what you can do and give it your best. The shorter the repayment period, the lower the interest you’ll pay.
  • Offer a good trade-in: Especially today, when used car prices are through the roof, this can give you a great deal overall.

Once you’ve bought the car, you’ll still need to pay for driving and maintaining it.

How can I keep my driving costs down? - Concept Car CreditHow can I keep my driving costs down?

Driving costs and petrol costs are essentially the same thing. But there’s a little more to it as well.

If you drive in a way that will save petrol, you automatically protect your vehicle against excessive wear and tear. This won’t reduce your monthly payments straight away. But it will ideally pay off in terms of a better trade-in price when selling the car again.

A few of the simple recommendations for saving petrol are as follows:

  • Accelerate slowly.
  • Choose the right gear for each driving situation.
  • Don’t waste money on premium petrol. It’s not usually worth the money.
  • Keep the car as empty and light as possible. Remove any unnecessary items from the trunk and back seats.

Here’s some general advice from racing driver Rebecca Jackson:

“You have to be looking ahead as much as possible to pre-empt oncoming hazards. (…) It’s all about keeping moving and not losing momentum. (…) Accelerating from being stopped is very costly in fuel consumption terms and so is going up any steep incline. We tried not to use the brakes as much by easing off the throttle to reduce speed. (…) You need to listen to the engine to make sure you don’t use excessive revs but you need to use enough, so it’s a fine balance as you don’t want the car to be labouring too much either.”

Further reading:
Can You Trust Premium Petrol Claims?

Tyres are an often underinflated topic

Tyres play an important role when it comes to saving driving costs.

For one, there are tyres which thanks to their profile provide for better driving characteristics. Expect savings of around £50 a year, so buying a new set just to save fuel is not going to give you the financial reward to compensate for their cost. But it’s something to keep in mind for when you actually do need to replace them.

More importantly, keep tyres well inflated at all times. Even tiny differences in air pressure can add up at the petrol pump. Again, you won’t get rich keeping tyres well inflated, but every bit does count.

Take the bike from time to time

This sounds like another one of those silly recommendations. But in this case, we disagree.

Just because you now own a car doesn’t mean that you always have to use it. Cars are fantastic for a variety of situations: The weekend groceries, taking the kids to school or to some extracurricular activities, driving to work in the morning, using them to transport heavy items.

But they’re far less ideal for many other scenarios: Short trips around the corner or a visit into the city centre, for example.

So, whenever possible, even we as car dealers recommend taking the bike or using public transport. Often, not only will you save on petrol, but on parking costs as well – which, as we’re sure you know, can be rampant.

Maintenance costs

Maintenance costs will usually not break the bank. Of course, there is always a risk of a really big repair with a massive bill. But with most modern cars, this is unlikely to happen until very late in their life cycle. (Here’s knocking on wood!)

That’s not to say, of course, that you can’t prevent unnecessary expenses. Here are a few guidelines:

Take care of any obvious issues before taking your car to the MOT:

MOTs are not actually that expensive. Unless you fail the check-up and need to go into a second round.

Therefore, take care of the easy stuff and get your car in the best possible shape it can be in.

Learn basic car maintenance:

Again, a seemingly silly suggestion which actually makes a lot of sense.

Even our parents’ generation still knew hot to take care of most car related repairs themselves. This isn’t as easy as it used to be today, since many parts are no longer accessible. But there is still a lot you can do yourself and without turning into an expert.

There are so many Youtube tutorials that there is really no excuse.

Wash your car regularly - Concept Car CreditWash your car regularly:

A dirty car is not just an unsightly look. It is also a potential threat to the paint and car body.

By washing it regularly, you can make sure that rust stands no chance. Also, take care of the cleaning yourself. It’s not rocket science and it can save you a lot of money.

Further reading:
Car Wash: Recommendations
How do I keep my car in perfect shape during the pandemic?

Take a short moment each week to check your car for potential issues:

Five minutes are enough and you don’t need to check all components each time.

Simply, create a vehicle inspection list and go through a few of the points each Saturday morning. This way, you can catch issues before they turn into something nasty.

Further reading:
The Best Vehicle Inspection Checklists in the World

General cost saving tips

Finally, let’s investigate three options to further bring your car costs down:

  1. Pay your full insurance one year ahead: If you have the cash to do this, it can save you quite a bit in premium.
  2. Automate recurring car related payments: Having to pay fees because you missed a payment is not only painful for you wallet. It also damages your credit score. By setting up standing orders for these payments, you’re always on the safe side.
  3. Make use of cashback if you can: We realise that many drivers with bad finance don’t have credit cards anymore. But if you do, paying your fuel by credit card for a 5% cashback is a great way to curb costs.

And that’s it – our overview of the best ways to reduce car costs.

Getting the best possible car finance, of course, needs to be part of the plan. If you, too, are having issues getting approved, we love to hear from you. Concept Car Credit has already helped thousands of satisfied customers find the perfect car for them.

Call us now for a free offer – or visit our showroom for a selection of the cars we have on offer.

2 May 2022 Concept Car