7 ways to reduce your car’s running cost

Buying a car is a significant expense, but the costs don’t stop there. To help you manage your money and get the most out of the life of your vehicle, Real Insurance has put together this practical guide to more economical motoring to help reduce the ongoing costs of running your car.

Drive smart

Erratic driving puts you (and other people) in harm’s way. Tailgating, rapid acceleration, and sudden braking all increase fuel consumption and contribute to engine wear. Be a smart, courteous driver and save money on fuel – and reduce your vehicle’s running costs – while preserving the life of your car (and the lives of those around you…).

Ditch the excess baggage

It’s not just airlines that are cracking down on overweight bags! Check your car for any unnecessary items that may be weighing you down (large tool kits, bulky sports gear, unnecessary roof racks) when you drive. An overloaded car puts pressure on tyres, suspension, and of course, uses more fuel. So if you’d like to reduce your running costs, consider lightening the load when you can.

Check your tyres

Low pressure and wear and tear on car tyres are some of the most significant hazards for motorists. But did you know that incorrect tyre pressure can also decrease fuel efficiency? Periodically check your tyre pressure, particularly before or after a long drive, and make sure your mechanic performs a wheel alignment on your next service. If you’re really keen, you can rotate your tyres yourself, moving the back to the front and vice versa to get more life – and value – out of your wheels.

Keep your cool

Drivers have long debated the benefit vs. cost of running car air conditioning. There are many variables in this equation including the make, model and age of the car and the quality and performance of the air con unit. Think about having your windows down when travelling under 60 km/h in suburban areas. Wind them up for comfort in high traffic situations, and remember: driving fast with your windows down creates ‘drag’ which reduces fuel efficiency.

At your service

Having your car serviced is not one of the most convenient experiences, but it’s undoubtedly one of the best things you can do for the life (and resale value) of your car. Sticking to the 10,000 km or every 6 months rule (or whatever is specified according to your vehicle manufacturer) allows mechanics to fine tune your wheels to ensure a smoother, safer, and more fuel-efficient ride (with the added bonus of an up-to-date log book when it comes time to sell your car).

Evaluate insurance

Over time, your car insurance needs can change, that’s why it’s important to review your level for cover from time to time to ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck. Luckily Real Car Insurance offers a number of ways for you to reduce your premium. If you’re not driving as much as you used to, you might like to consider Pay As You Drive. Paying your premium annually can also save you money. Don’t forget that excluding drivers under 25 will reduce your insurance costs, and you can vary your excess level to save even more.

Save on fuel (and save the planet)

If you’re in the market for a new car (or new second-hand car), don’t forget to check out fuel economy to help minimise your ongoing running costs in the future. This handy site allows you to compare vehicles to determine fuel savings – with the added bonus of helping reduce CO2 emissions. Win–win!