• January 5, 2024

  • Abby Nuttall

There’s no denying that 2023 was an expensive year for drivers, with the cost of car insurance soaring and unstable petrol prices.

To help drivers keep car-related costs down in 2024, we have shared five expert tips to save money on your car.

1. Pay Annually for Your Road Tax to Save on a 5% Surcharge

The price paid for road tax depends on your car’s emissions and when it was registered.  However, the average amount is rising for 2024 to around £190 annually, but you can pay nothing if your car meets the required standards.

When paying for your road tax, the cheapest way to pay for this is annually to avoid a 5% surcharge on monthly or six-month repayments.

If you are thinking about getting a new car in 2024, one option to save money is to look for a vehicle with fewer emissions to pay less on road tax each year. Electric vehicles are one such example as they are currently exempt from road tax, although this could change in the future.

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2. Save £182 by Washing Your Car at Home

Depending on the type of car wash you visit, you could save a huge amount of money by doing the job yourself at home instead. It’s recommended you wash your car every two weeks to stop dirt and grime from building up on the bodywork, to avoid scratches and other damage to the paintwork. If you chose not to do it yourself, it could end up costing you £182 a year if you visit an Automatic Wash and Dry at a BP or Shell garage every fortnight, at £7 per time.

This cost will also rise significantly if both the interior and exterior of your car is valeted each time, including polishing and waxing, with the average cost of a full valet in London coming to £150. Using the same fortnightly example, this would cost £3,900 across the space of a year.

Washing your car at home instead is a more cost-friendly option. The shampoo and wax you’ll need are significantly cheaper in comparison to visiting automatic or hand car wash locations regularly. There are also plenty of hacks for saving even more money on washing your car, including using household items such as lemon juice which costs as little as 69p for a pack of four lemons, which is a lot cheaper than paying £7 per car wash. 

Lemon and baking soda, make a great combination to scrub your headlights clean. You could also use one part lemon juice to two parts water to help clean the interior and exterior.

3. This Job Title Hack Could Save Hundreds on Your Car Insurance

In 2023, car insurance prices soared by 61% for drivers around the country. With many drivers looking for a way to save with the price increasing, changing your job title could be the answer.

MoneySavingExpert says to shave money off your car insurance, you could tweak your job title. It should still accurately describe what you do, but for example, one user saved £100 by using “software” rather than “computer games” in their job title. Have a play around with titles in the remit of what you do to see what you could save money. There is even a job picker tool available, to help you pick the best legitimate job position for you to save the most money.

Other ways to save on your car insurance include shopping around for the best deal to get an understanding of the market price, so you can haggle with your current provider. You could also look at reducing your mileage and adding another driver to your insurance.

4. Save Up to Four Litres of Petrol by Avoiding Idling

The price of petrol has been incredibly volatile in 2023. The average price for unleaded fuel in 2023 was around 147.79p. While your demand for fuel can depend on uncontrollable circumstances like travelling for work, there are several tips you can follow to reduce fuel consumption:

  • Keep your tyres inflated to their recommended capacity. Low tyre pressure can increase the drag on your car, which uses more fuel. A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that for every 1% decrease in tyre pressure, you could expect a 0.3% reduction in fuel economy.
  • It was found in a study that commercial vehicles can idle between 1-4 hours on average a day. In an hour, that can waste up to 1 gallon of fuel which is nearly 4 litres an hour. If you idle for four hours a day, you could lose up to 16 litres of fuel. Additionally, the engine idling will contribute to wear on the engine and other components of the vehicle. This could lead to additional costs such as further maintenance for the vehicle. Avoid idling by using the stop-start method and turning your engine off when it’s not in use.
  • Try to avoid using air conditioning where possible, especially at lower speeds, as this uses more fuel.
  • Use petrol price websites to see which garages and supermarkets offer the cheapest fuel in your area.
  • Drive economically to minimise the fuel you use – braking and accelerating harshly over long periods can drain your fuel. Taking your time with increasing and decreasing your speed will help reduce the amount of fuel you use.
  • Invest in fuel cards if you are a business as this can save between 5-20% off the retail price, depending on the card, and average around 10p per litre of savings.

5. Own an EV? Charge Your Car at Off-Peak Times to Save

If you are thinking of making the switch to an electric vehicle next year, you could currently save nearly £750 by switching, with this increasing to £3,250 after five years.

For those who are already EV owners, charging your vehicle at off-peak times is a thrifty money-saving hack. Just like your usual energy consumption in the house, providers charge extra when charging your vehicles at peak times, such as commuting hours.

It’s best to charge your vehicle overnight with a home charger when it’s cheaper to do so, and you’re able to do this at a slower speed. Fast charging your EV battery can affect its lifespan, by heating up too quickly causing the battery to degrade over time. Charging at slower speeds keeps the battery healthier for longer. Topping up your car with a rapid charger adds the most miles to your car’s battery, and can cost around 18p per mile.

Make sure when you do charge your vehicle, you don’t let the battery drop to 0%. Instead, start charging again when you have around 20-30% battery left to maintain battery health, so you don’t need to fork out over £5,000 for a new battery.

Simon Naylor, Director of Wessex Fleet commented: “With the cost of living increasing, we’re all looking for small ways to help save some money, and this extends to using our vehicles.

Being more vigilant about your car insurance is a simple way to save money. This includes trying the job title hack, not auto-renewing your policy and reducing your annual mileage where possible.

While this may seem like a small change, drivers will see a financial return throughout the year from trying these tips.”

If you’re looking to save money on your business costs for your fleet, take a look at our handy fuel-saving guide. Interested in fleet management in 2024 for your business, take a look at what we can offer.

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