5 Money Saving Hacks for Car Owners

For most of us, buying a car is probably the second most expensive thing we’ll buy in our lifetime (the first being a place to live). It’s no secret that cars can be expensive; not only expensive to buy but run, insurer and repair. A recent survey suggested that more than 65% of car owners said their vehicle is the most expensive outgoing in their life.

Finding ways to cut costs as a car owner is essential. One smart approach is to have a reliable locksmith for cars on speed dial. You never know when you might accidentally lock your keys inside the car, and having a trustworthy locksmith can save you from costly dealership fees. By having this service handy, you can not only ensure your vehicle’s security but also avoid unnecessary expenses, making your car ownership experience more economical and hassle-free.

Car Service Plan

Get to know about car service plans before approaching the Dodge dealership near me. Car service plans are a very accessible money-saving hack for car owners. They are widely available to all car owners, either at the point of purchase or at a later point in ownership. Owners of Audi vehicles may get car service plans at an Audi service shop. For major repairs like those caused by a car crash, you will need to find a collision center.

If you haven’t heard of a car service plan, they are essentially a contract between you (a car owner) and a car service provider who sells a planned schedule of services for your car. They are designed to help you meet the minimum service requirements of your car, which, for new cars, is necessary to maintain the manufacturer’s warranty.

So, what’s the hack? Well, when you take out a service plan, you essentially freeze the price of servicing against future price increases and rising RPI rates. Service plans are fixed-rate deals that you can choose to pay the value of with a single upfront payment or monthly instalments. Either way you won’t have anything on the day of your service and if the cost of servicing does increase your service plan will protect you.

You can buy a service from pretty much all car brands in the UK and dealerships will sell their own service plans too. They are often tailored to your car based on your make and model, and whether or not your car is under warranty. Taking out a service plan when you buy a new car is the most affordable way to manage servicing costs and many manufacturers give you up until your first due service to decide if you want one.

If you finance your car you can add your car service plan onto your monthly finance payments. Service plans are also widely available for older used cars, either from your manufacturer or local dealership.

Fight Depreciation (Maximise Resale Value)

Depreciation is a sad fact of ownership. Once something new becomes used it instantly loses value and very little things we own depreciate faster than a car. This is partly the reason we’ve seen the increased uptake of finance deals in the last few years. In the first year of ownership, a new car will lose between 15 and 35% of its value, and by the time it’s three years old it will have lost 60%.

Trying to fight depreciateion is one battle you’re definitely not going to win, but that’s not to say there aren’t things that we can do as car owners to maximise the resale value of a car.

A complete service history – a complete service history means all the services your car has received have not been documented with the owner. Either that or the owner has missed scheduled servicing or serviced the car at a dodgy garage that hasn’t recorded the service. While it’s not all the doom a gloom some would have you believe, an incomplete service history can reduce the resale value or trade-in value of your car as it often gives buyers a reason to haggle. Maintaining a full service history is a simple hack you can do to help maximise how much your car is worth. Flicking back, having contact with an auto repair shop makes it a whole lot easier to maintain the service schedule and a full service history of your car when it breaks down.

Avoid modification – one of the first questions your insurer asks you when quoting for car insurance is ‘has the car been modified in any way?’. Vehicle modifications can send red flags to potential buyers and dealerships may be cautious of accepting a trade-in that has modifications. With modifications, the buyer is always sceptical whether they’ve been installed safely. Modifications can also impact the performance of the car and may affect the environmental standards too.

SMART Repairs

Ever heard of SMART repairs? It’s new technology used to avoid the need for insurance claims. It stands for Small to Medium Area Repair Technology, but that’s the techy part. What we want to know is how it can save us money.

Well, SMART has been developed as an alternative to traditional car repairs to make it cost-effective to fix minor bodywork damage and defects like dents, scratches, scuffs and chips. SMART is often much cheaper than your insurance excess so you won’t need to make a claim or inform your insurer. It’s widely available too and you can even receive mobile repairs at your home or place of work.

This may not be hack applicable to all car owners, but if you suffer the unfortunate of an accident it’s worth knowing that you don’t always need to go through your insurer. Using alternative means like SMART repairs will help you save your no claim discount.

Lower Insurance Premiums

Trying to lower the cost of your annual car insurance premium can seem like a constant battle. The trick is to always shop around when it comes to changing your car insurance, never auto-renew.

Comparison websites are vital as it gives you a whole range of insurers to choose from at conditions that suit you. Bear in mind though that not all providers list thier products on these websites. The Money Saving Expert has recently revealed that renewing your insurance policy 20-26 days ahead can provide the best savings. In other words, don’t leave it last minute. Be prepared and start your research early. Paying for your car insurance in full is by fair the best option, also. Paying monthly for your insurance will cost you more over the course of the year.

Other tried and tested methods include (legitimately) tweaking your job role on your insurance policy, correcting your details on the electoral register, and adding additional drivers to the policy. You could also take your pass plus driving test.

Fuel for tought

Running cost are a significant economic burden to car ownership. Yes, it is the cost of getting where you need to go, but there are still measures we can take to make owning and using our car more affordable.

If you use premium petrol, you can easily save a few quid every week and revert back to using the regular stuff. Honestly, premium fuel may be good to use every now and again, but sticking to regular petrol is much cheaper and it’s not going to do your car any harm. Premium petrol is simply higher octane and is most suited to higher compression engines used in performance cars. For family cars regular petrol will work just fine.

So now we’re using the more affordable petrol, we need to be more efficient when we drive. Eco driving habits must not be overlooked. The AA did a study that saw a 33% saving on weekly fuel bills thanks to a dedicated eco effort. To be an eco-friendlier driver, try to avoid harsh acceleration and braking, and get used to changing gear early to avoid revving the engine. If you want to go further with eco-driving, buy a hybrid. And if you want to go all the way, buy an electric vehicle. But without splashing out on a new car there’s plenty of little driving hacks we can do to reduce the cost of our everyday journeys.

Sophia Anderson

Sophia Anderson is a blogger and a freelance writer. She is passionate about covering topics on money, business, careers, self-improvement, motivation and others. She believes in the driving force of positive attitude and constant development.