Stuart Masson, owner and editor of The Car Expert, shares some of his top tips for buying your car. From paying for the car right the way through to running costs, Stuart has lots of hints and tips that could help you get on the road!
Managing your car expenses
It’s a really good idea to have a simple savings account to squirrel away money for upcoming car expenses as well as for any unexpected bills that may crop up.
Many of your car expenses will come around at the same time each year, so it’s easy to plan ahead for them and squirrel some savings away in advance. Road tax and MOT tests are annual expenses, and for most cars, servicing is annual as well.
You can set up a standing order to transfer some money into your car account each month, and manually add extra to it if you know you have some big bills coming up.
Shop around for fuel and other expenses
If you drive your car regularly, then you should keep an eye on fuel prices every day and fill up whenever you spot a cheap price, rather than waiting for the fuel light to come on.
If you are going on a longer journey, fill up at a local station before you get going, rather than stopping at motorway services. You will save an enormous amount of money. If you are on a motorway and you know that you are going to need to stop before you reach your destination, look for an exit for a village or town and fill up there instead. Motorway services are about the most expensive places in the world for fuel or food, so a few minutes to avoid them altogether will be worth it.
When it comes to wear and tear items like tyres, you are far better off replacing them a bit earlier if there is a sale on at the tyre shop, rather than waiting a few months longer until they really are worn down to the legal limit and potentially paying much more.
Renewing your insurance
It’s not uncommon to get your annual insurance or roadside assistance renewal through the mail, only to find that the cost has doubled since last year. Unfortunately, it’s a really common tactic and you have to put in a bit of legwork to get your bill back down again.
The best way to deal with this is to go online and pull up some offers from rival providers, then pick up the phone to your current provider and ask that they match it or at least offer something comparable. If they can’t do that, take your business elsewhere.
Changing your insurance provider won’t mean you lose any of your no-claims bonus, but you will probably need to show your new insurer evidence from your old insurer to maintain it.
Yes, it’s a pain to have to run around and chase up these companies to keep your costs down every year when your renewal comes through, but it’s certainly much cheaper than simply accepting their standard renewal offer.
Stuart Masson is the owner and editor of The Car Expert, and an authority
on the UK car marketplace. Stuart has followed the global car industry for over thirty years. He spent a decade in the
automotive retail industry, and now works tirelessly to help car buyers with
independent and impartial advice.