20 ways to keep the cost of driving down

How to save money after buying a car on finance

Used car on a country road

If you’ve just bought your first car, you may be surprised at some of the additional costs you incur. As we’re always trying to help our customers as much as possible we’ve put together 20 of the best ways to reduce the costs of driving in order to save you as much money as possible!

Buy Supermarket Fuel

We’ve heard through the grapevine some people still believe that supermarket fuel is inferior to premium brands as they’ve heard it will not power your vehicle for as long. We’re happy to say that this isn’t true, despite it being the cheaper option. In fact, even experts have spent time debunking this claim to show that opting for supermarket petrol and diesel is an easy way to save money.

Go eco with a used car

Go Eco

If you’ve bought a hybrid car elsewhere (unfortunately First Response don’t finance them) they’ll naturally be cheaper in running costs. If, like most of the UK, you have a standard petrol or diesel car you could save money by trying to drive under 30mph as much as possible to reduce fuel consumption. This also works out better for the environment which means you’re saving two things at once!

Drive Less

We all know the feeling of wanting to drive everywhere when you get a new car, however, be aware that the more mileage you add to the vehicle the higher the premium will be. Aside from work related reasons try and cut down the amount you drive for leisure and if possible make use of public transport to visit friends or go shopping - this will also save on a lot of parking costs, especially in city centres.

Use Maintenance Comparison Sites

Find the cheapest repairs and maintenance for your vehicle by using comparison sites such as WhoCanFixMyCar.com. Describe the work and receive quick quotes to decide on the best choice.   

Ask Around

Sometimes just asking friends and family for any recommendations (you never know who somebody might know) can help you find a cheap choice to take care of any repair work. Make sure you check your warranty first so that any work doesn’t void it as, if it does, it could cost you more in the long run.

Use a garage to reduce insurance costs

Keep it Safe

Your insurance will be lower if you park your car in a safer place so if you have a driveway or garage then make sure you use it. You can read more about our UK Insurance facts and myths here.

Use Another Car

Being insured on another vehicle could also bring down your premium as it demonstrates you don’t use your new car all the time. Beware though, this may mean you end up paying more as you have two bits of insurance to pay so only do this if you have done the research and know it will save you in the long run.

In-car technology can reduce costs of fuel

Use In-car Technology

A lot of newer vehicles are now equipped with technology that helps improve their efficiency, such as alerting drivers when to change gear. Make use of this to reduce fuel costs and drive more economically. 

Have Regular Services

Regular services can ensure your car is in the best possible working condition, improving efficiency and helping pre-empt any potential future problems. Services are usually done every six months or every year in addition to your MOT.

Remove excess weigh to cut fuel consumption

Lose Weight

Reducing the weight of your load will have a positive impact on fuel efficiency. Take off any unused roof boxes or bike racks and items out of the boot to use less fuel when driving.  

Plan Journeys Carefully

A lot of time and effort will be wasted if you get lost when driving, as will your fuel. Therefore, it is essential you know where you’re going when setting off on any journey to avoid wasting fuel and money. Invest in a Sat Nav or use the maps on your smartphone along with an in-car phone holder. This also saves you the embarrassment of asking for directions!

Walk or Use Public Transport

The easiest way to keep driving costs down is by not driving at all. It may sound counterproductive if you’ve just invested in a car but sometimes walking, taking the bus or train can be cheaper than paying for petrol, especially on short journeys. Make sure you still use your vehicle though, as you don’t your car battery to could go flat

Keep Moving

When driving, it is more efficient to stay moving, as braking turns fuel into waste heat. Don’t brake suddenly, instead slow down to a roll when coming up to lights. Staying a good distance behind other vehicles means you won’t have to brake suddenly and could save you fuel and energy.

Reduce speed and driving costs

Stick to Speed Limits

This one’s simple: the faster you go the more fuel is used. Not only are speed limits essential for drivers’ safety, they also act as a good guide for fuel usage. Driving at 50mph, for example, saves up to 15% more fuel than at 60mph!

Cut Down Air-Con

Although minimal, air conditioning increases fuel use so where possible try to open the window to get some fresh air. It’s advised, however, to use it around once a week to keep the system running smoothly. 

Turn Off Electrics

Electrics use up your car’s battery and the quicker it is run down the quicker you’ll have to pay to replace it. Be frugal with turning lights on inside the car, radio use and volume or even charging your phone.

Combine Trips

To save time and effort (as well as fuel) combine short stops into one journey. Visiting a friend? Why not go shopping on the way back instead of waiting until the next day?

Analyse your fuel costs

Analyse Fuel Use

Record how much you are spending on fuel each week to see if it’s more efficient to combine journeys or find other areas to cut back. Depending on your vehicle you could save money by only filling up from an empty tank rather than putting in a couple of quid each week. Again, monitor this to see how much, if any, you could save.

Shop Around for Insurance

Insurance will probably be the most expensive running cost aside from fuel, so shopping around and using price comparison sites for the cheapest option is a simple way to reduce this cost. Don’t just stick to the same insurer either, when it comes to renewing you could end up getting a better deal as a new customer elsewhere.

Add Extra Drivers

Another way to cut down on insurance can be to add other drivers to your policy, with parents and other experienced drivers being the best choices. Make sure that you’re aware of any restrictions this could add to your policy and don’t be tempted to add someone else as the main driver if they’re not, this could end up invalidating your insurance.

These 20 tips should help you keep the costs of driving down after purchasing your new car on finance. Let us know if we’ve missed any over on Facebook or Twitter, we’d love to hear and share as many tips as possible!

Images courtesy of iStock.

< Back to blog | Next: #UnderTheBonnet: F1 British Grand Prix >