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Reduce the cost of motoring

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Hints and tips

For most people running a car is an expensive but vital part of our lives. They’re usually needed for work or for school and social activities. We’re all looking for ways in which we can reduce the cost of motoring, especially with petrol and repairs costing so much. Here are a few tips that could help your car to run more smoothly and save you money.

Find a garage you can trust

In the long run, having a garage you can rely on to provide a cost efficient and trustworthy service can save you a lot of money. Usually an independent local one is the best option, rather than a large dealership. If you don’t know which to use, then ask friends or family for recommendations. If they’re carrying out work for the first time and it appears expensive, it might be worth getting a second opinion to check the price and the work that needs doing.

Read the manual

Your car’s manual has some important information regarding how to check certain elements and what the optimum tyre pressure is. It will also detail how often certain parts should be replaced, for example the CAM belt. If you don’t get these changed at the right time, they could break while the car’s moving and cause significant damage.

Have regular services

You might think that these are expensive, but they’ll end up costing you less in the long run. Your manual will detail when your services should be undertaken. Having services carried out at the correct intervals will catch any issues before they become too serious. It’s also a way of maintaining the value of the vehicle when you come to sell and will ensure that any warranty remains valid.

It’s important to check the service prices beforehand. The cost of MOTs and services can vary widely. A local garage will often be cheaper than a main dealership. However, you should check the requirements of any warranty to ensure that this won’t invalidate it. It’s also possible to search and book online, which can save you money or booking both an MOT and service together can work out cheaper.

Maintain your vehicle

It’s not enough just to have your car serviced and an MOT done. You also need to look after the car to prevent issues in the future. Check the oil, coolant and brake fluid levels on a regular basis, as this helps the engine to run more efficiently. Not doing so could lead to expensive problems occurring. The vehicle’s manual will tell you how to do so and when, but oil should ideally be checked every month.

It’s also important to have the pressure on your tyres set correctly, as both under and over inflating them can cause issues. Having the right pressure will mean you use less fuel and your tyres will last longer. This should be carried out regularly and especially before any long journeys. At the same point, ensure that the tread depth is safe and legal. The minimum requirement is 1.6mm depth across 75% of the tyre, but you should ideally have them changed before they get this bad.

Check the tracking

This checks that the wheels are correctly aligned, helping you to drive straight and reducing the wear and tear on your suspension and tyres. Often garages will perform these checks for free. They may pick up other work that they recommend you have done, but it isn’t necessary that they do this for you.

reduce the cost of motoring

Car tax

Buying car tax is essential, but you can save money by paying for it annually. Don’t be tempted to leave it longer than the start of the month, as you could be fined at least £1,000 if caught.

Extended warranties

When you buy a new or second hand car, they usually come with some form of warranty. This will cover you for certain repairs and mechanical issues for the period of the warranty. However, when this runs out, there are companies who offer extended warranties. This could save you money if your car’s liable to breakdown, but it might end up costing you more if you never use it. Before you buy an extended warranty, you should research the different policies and see exactly what’s included and excluded. Think about how often you might make a claim and check for any common faults with your particular model. It’s also important to be aware of any servicing or maintenance requirements, as failing to abide by these could invalidate the policy.

By following these few simple tips, not only will your car run more efficiently, but it could start costing you less to run.

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About Catherine Stern

About Catherine Stern

Catherine Stern is a freelance writer with a background in marketing and PR. She currently writes web content on a range of subjects, from finance and business to travel and home improvements. As a working single mum of two young boys she understands the pressures that today’s working parents face and the topics they want to read about.

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