For many people, a car is something they love and cannot be without. For others, it is simply a vital part of their life – something they need for personal reasons, or to run a business . In any case, a vehicle is often a necessary expense. So, when your car is not keeping in line with your overall budget, what can you do?
From the cheaper insurance to economic tires, there are a number of things you can do to get the most from your car on a budget. These will help lower costs, improve efficiency and keep the vehicle out of the garage as much as possible.
Dealing with Insurance Agencies
When it comes to car insurance agencies, so many factors are at work that it’s often quite daunting to bring the cost then. However, there are a few key areas worth considering
- Most providers use statistics for your gender or age. This often hinders you, even when you are a good driver. Try asking for a smartbox insurance policy, as these boxes prove your driving habits, helping you to beat the statistical averages.
- A speed limiter, likewise, can do the same thing. This caps the top speed of your vehicle – keeping it within national speed restrictions – which is another factor that influences your insurance premiums.
- Is your full policy actually helping you? When the cost to replace your budget car by yourself beats (or is equal to) the cost of repairing via your policy, then it’s not doing you any favors.
In these instances, you have a prime position to negotiate with your provider. It’s often better to ask other companies for better offers. This way, if your current provider doesn’t agree to better terms, you can either show them the competition or take up the better offer itself.
How to Shop Around Garages
When it comes to garages and mechanics, you should treat these like any other business. Shop around and find the best deal for you. The only difference here is that garages can often put pressure on you if you believe your vehicle is in bad shape.
If you know what the problem is, always search for the right parts online. This will give you a guideline when the mechanic tries to sell you their own parts. If yours are cheaper, find a garage that lets you bring your own parts and offers a reasonable service fee.
A Better Mileage Means Less Money Spent Overall
This sounds simple in theory, as a better mileage means you’re consuming less fuel. Everyone knows the tenants to efficient driving – slow down naturally where possible, don’t leave the engine running in idle and try to drive in top gear where legally possible. Good driving skills and better mileage are heart of a budget car. Moreover, here are a few ways to improve your car’s overall efficiency:
Regular maintenance will keep your vehicle running at the most optimal levels. Replace filters, engine oil and coolant in line with the owner’s manual – not when garages try to up sell you a fluid change.
- Try using economy tyres. These are designed to offer less rolling resistance, reducing your engines consumption rates over all. Less fuel means less money wasted.
- Make your car more aerodynamic. Remove any roof racks when not in use and don’t carry a full boot if you don’t need it. These make the car heavier and require more fuel.
Understand Weather Conditions
The weather and climate in your area greatly affects your budget car, so spending a little in preparations beats paying a lot more in unneeded repairs. If you have cold weather, always use antifreeze. Due to the cold air-intake, the radiator and other internal parts are often cooler than the outside temperature,
so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Likewise, you may need to invest in summer and winter tyres. These have different conditions and can be swapped out per season. Of course, this means each tire gets used half as much throughout the year, helping them last twice as long. This way, you really aren’t spending any extra money. If you live in a busy city where the road conditions are more suitable, you may be able to use all-season tyres instead.
You Don’t Always Need To Drive
Finally, one of the best ways to make the most out of your vehicle is to know when not to use it. Sometimes you can walk to the shops, and not drive. A car makes these tasks easier but it’s also very easy to take this for granted. Every trip requires fuel and still wears your vehicle down. So, drive only when needed.
: – Giles Kirkland
( Giles Kirkland is our guest blogger of this month, a mechanic by profession and occasional writer in the same niche. )