There’s one thing you can guarantee in life, regardless of what you do or where you go: taxes. They apply to everything, yet if you’re a driver, it feels like they hit you harder than most. However, with a good eye for a bargain, a bit of forethought and other simple tips when you’re on the road, you’ll find that your car can give you much more in return than just a means of getting from A to B.
Consider the standing charges first
There are a few standing charges and financial hurdles that you have to focus on before you can even consider the other charges that apply to your car. The obvious one is the initial cost. While plenty of dealerships are noted for great deals on new and second-hand vehicles such as Evans Halshaw, you also have to understand how many will depreciate in price. Luckily, What Car? gives you access to a helpful tool here.
Insurance is another toll you can’t avoid. Choose a car in a lower insurance group if you can, or choose a deal that will lower premiums by offering to pay more in the event of an accident (if you’re a good driver, that is). Finally, road tax is based on the amount of CO2 your car will emit, so look into more eco-friendly cars; diesels lead the way here, and typically do more miles to the gallon.
Fuel and other running costs
Governments around the world haven’t let up on raising petrol charges in recent years, so to get around this, you need to think carefully. Regular petrol cars will typically do less miles to the gallon for the price, though many newer models are extremely efficient. Diesel, while cheaper than petrol on the continent, is much more expensive in the UK – don’t let these prices put you off, though, because it’s very good value. Of course, you can convert your car to run on LPG, but be wary of initial costs – it may not be worth it.
Of course, you have to also take into account other day-to-day running costs that may crop up when you least expect. New tyres are often required, so the smaller your wheels, the better. If you break down, how much will replacement parts cost? An Alfa Romeo, for example, requires more specialised parts than your typical Ford, as the latter shares common fitments across its entire range – it’s why their range looks and performs in a similar way.
Finally… drive smart!
If you’re going to really save some dosh, focus on buying the smallest car that meets your requirements. By servicing it regularly, you will not only maintain efficiency but cut fuel consumption, too.
Remember to drive smoothly and avoid any erratic gear changes or bouts of acceleration. Keep the rev counter to between 2,000 and 2,500RPM and aim to get into third or fourth sooner rather than later; motorways are a fifth-gear job. Finally, remember that all extras – radios, car chargers and air conditioning, for example – will also eat more fuel.