It’s that time of year when we try and plan to do a bit better than last year. Here are a few of our ideas for improving your motoring 2018.
There are lots of ways to reduce the cost of motoring – from shopping around to reducing your fuel bills.
1. Shop around: There are plenty of great deals on new cars. If you take a careful look at what your car is costing – including depreciation – you can see whether it’s worth trading it in.
2. But don’t cut corners: Don’t forget to look at your ongoing costs too. One of the major costs of car ownership is your insurance – and you often don’t get a great deal if you just renew. Always do a check – and always make sure you’re properly covered. Motor insurance doesn’t cover the cost of your car – just the value at the point you claim. So you may need GAP insurance to ensure you can cover outstanding payments or in order to get you a car that puts you back on the road.
3. Slow down! If you can maintain a steady speed on motorways and keep your speed down to around 60mph then you will notice an improvement in your fuel economy. Avoiding stop start journeys will also help (if you can avoid traffic by setting off earlier or later, do).
4. Cut out short journeys: Can you walk? Really short journeys are rubbish for your car (at least if it’s a petrol or diesel). Your engine will not warm up, which means your oil will still be thick and viscose (so not doing its job properly) and your cylinders won’t fit properly (they expand to fit perfectly once it reaches operating temperature). This means your engine can be damaged and your fuel economy is generally lousy until the engine is properly warm. So if you want to do your car and your wallet a favour, don’t drive for journeys of less than a mile.
5. Don’t wait to get serviced: Keep your car serviced helps avoid break downs – niggling problems are better dealt with before they blow up and leave you stranded miles from home.
Thinking of swapping cars? You could make your new years resolution to be more eco-friendly. What would reduce your environmental footprint this year?
6. Use less fuel: A car with better fuel economy will help you here – quite simply if you burn less fuel, you’re producing less CO2 and other emissions. Couple this with driving at steady speeds and you can really make inroads into your fuel bill. So you win whilst feeling virtuous.
7. Drive electric: Buy an electric car – if you’re a daily commuter you could really benefit from swapping to an electric vehicle. Most new electric vehicles will easily manage round trips of 70 miles whilst the top end EVs will get you a couple of hundred miles. You can recharge at home every night and never need to visit a filling station again – and although electric cars are more expensive, their running costs are demonstrably low. With the increase in solar and wind power on the national grid, you’d be able to say some of your miles have virtually no CO2 emissions.
You could just decide to look after your car a bit better. With all the grit on the roads, this time of year tends to take its toll on cars.
8. Rise and shine: Treat your car to a valet and a hand car wash. Or get out the buckets and the soap and give it the once over yourself. Don’t forget to wax and polish for that proper shine.
It’s nice to get into a clean vehicle – and once scrubbed up you’ll notice any dents and dings or things that are about to drop off.
With drivers being targeted for driving without the correct insurance – including insurance polices that don’t cover commuting – it’s a good time to check that you’re fully compliant with your policies.
9. No tax havens here: Make sure you’re up to date with your VED (a few people are getting caught out by the new disc free system) and your MOT – otherwise you’re not insured.
10. Seeing out! Check your windscreen for chips – and always scrape the ice off your windows when it’s cold. You must have good visibility in order to comply with the law.
Got any more ideas? Send your motoring new years resolutions to us on the Direct Gap Facebook page.
By Beate Kubitz at 3 Jan 2018, 00:00 AM