We all know that owning and running a car is a financial commitment, but are you spending more money on your car than you realise?
We’ve compiled this list of 10 ways that you could be wasting money on your car, so that we can help you save money and extend your vehicle’s lifespan.
- You Are Neglecting Regular Car Servicing
- Your Vehicle Has Poor Fuel Efficiency
- You Are Wasting Money on Fuel
- Your Aggressive Driving Style
- Your Wheels Aren't Properly Aligned or Balanced
- You've Been Driving Over Potholes
- You Need to Factor in Depreciation
- You Are Making Unnecessary Trips
- You Are Over-insuring Your Vehicle
- You've Been Ignoring Dashboard Warning Lights
You Are Neglecting Regular Car Servicing
Skipping important maintenance like a yearly car service can lead to costly repairs later down the line.
Your vehicle is made up of countless moving parts – the slightest issue could have an impact on a range of parts.
Some of the costliest mistakes you can make when it comes to car maintenance include:
- Not changing the oil
- Letting oil levels get low
- Ignoring unusual noises
- Ignoring changes in your car’s behaviour
- Driving on improperly inflated tyres
Being proactive about small problems now could save you a lot of money in the long run.
By addressing issues promptly and carrying out routine maintenance, you can alleviate any unnecessary costs.
Your Vehicle Has Poor Fuel Efficiency
The cost of fuel can easily add up – especially if your car is not as fuel efficient as it could be.
A vehicle with poor fuel efficiency can cost you money for several reasons.
Firstly, your vehicle will consume more fuel to travel the same distance when compared to a more fuel-efficient vehicle.
This will result in greater fuel expenses over time, and more top-ups at the petrol station.
Due to the increased strain from burning more fuel, vital components such as the engine are likely to experience more wear and tear, meaning your repair costs could be higher, too.
Vehicles with poor fuel efficiency also tend to have lower resale values and are less likely to attract a potential buyer.
This means that when you trade in or sell the vehicle, you may receive less money for it in comparison to a more efficient vehicle.
The money spent on excessive fuel and maintenance costs could have gone towards your savings, so it is always worth running a fuel-efficient car.
To enhance your vehicle’s fuel efficiency, you should do the following:
- Practice good driving habits – like gentle acceleration
- Keep tyres properly inflated to the correct pressure
- Lighten the load
- Keep windows shut
- Drive in ‘eco’ mode
You should turn off electrical equipment - like the air conditioning system - when you aren't using it, too.
Above all, the best thing you can do to improve your vehicle’s MPG is to book a car service regularly.
After all, if your car’s engine isn’t healthy, it won’t give you the best MPG.
You Are Wasting Money on Fuel
Fuel costs can easily add up - so you need to shop around for the best price.
You can use apps like PetrolPrices to compare fuel prices and start saving money today.
You should also avoid idling - turn off your engine if you anticipate stopping the car for more than a couple of minutes.
Your Aggressive Driving Style
Even your driving style can impact your car’s fuel economy – especially if your vehicle has a manual gearbox.
Bad habits like rapid acceleration, excessive speeding, and frequent braking can increase your fuel consumption significantly.
You could even reduce your vehicle’s overall lifespan and reduce its resale value as a result.
Not to mention that you could be charged a higher premium by your insurance company because of your driving style.
To tackle an aggressive driving style, make sure that you heed the following advice:
- Don’t ride the clutch
- Don’t rev the engine hard
- Don't change gear at high revs
- Don’t use too few revs
- Don't change gear too early
- Don’t rest your hand on the gearstick
- Avoid harsh braking – except when performing an emergency stop
- Avoid forceful acceleration
- Don’t accelerate when the engine is cold
- Work on your clutch control
- Avoid late braking
Drive in a slow and considered manner and be wary of the road ahead so that you can treat your car with the care it deserves, and save money in the process.
Your Wheels Aren't Properly Aligned or Balanced
If your wheels aren’t properly aligned or balanced, this can lead to uneven tyre wear.
Not to mention that the reduced lifespan of your tyres means you will have to replace them sooner than expected, which can be an added expense.
You will likely end up spending more on fuel if your wheels are misaligned as your rolling resistance may increase.
If your wheels are misaligned then you could end up needing to replace parts such as the tie rods, ball joints or wheel bearings sooner than expected.
Continuing to drive on unbalanced wheels will mean that the engine has to work harder to maintain speed and stability, thereby increasing your fuel costs over time.
This will also put more stress on the suspension and steering components, leading to a less smooth ride and meaning that you could have to invest in premature repairs.
Unbalanced and misaligned wheels can also affect your vehicle’s handling and stability, which could pose real safety concerns and result in accidents, costly repairs, and possibly even insurance claims.
You've Been Driving Over Potholes
Driving over potholes and kerbs is sure to damage your vehicle, causing issues like:
- Suspension misalignment
- Loose steering
- Bent or cracked wheel rims
- Loss of tyre grip
Best to avoid driving over potholes where possible, as this can lead to buckled wheels, tyre lumps, and cracked alloys.
You may knock your wheels out of alignment and balancing, too.
If you drive over a pothole, you should inspect your wheels and tyres for any damage.
Listen out for any strange noises or vibrations when you set off again, and check that the steering wheel is driving correctly.
You should have any issues resolved right away to prevent them from worsening and requiring a more serious and costly repair later down the line.
You Need to Factor in Depreciation
Depreciation is the reduction of your car’s value over time, and it is one of the most often underestimated costs of car ownership.
New cars lose a significant portion of their value as soon as you drive them off the lot.
Depreciation then continues throughout a car’s lifetime, and its loss in value is influenced by the vehicle’s mileage and wear and tear.
If you are financing your car with a loan, you will spend more money in the long run than if you had paid for the car upfront, as the interest accumulates on top of the original purchase price.
When you come to sell or trade in your car, depreciation can have a real impact on the vehicle’s resale value.
To minimise the impact that depreciation can have on your finances, you may wish to buy a used vehicle, and should take care to invest in regular maintenance.
You Are Making Unnecessary Trips
Does getting out on the open road help you to clear your mind?
Whilst this is an incredible way to unwind, you could be unintentionally wasting fuel and increasing maintenance costs if you do this all the time.
You could do your weekly shop on the same day you go for that solo drive – and you could save money in the process.
You could even consider carpooling or taking public transportation sometimes instead so that you can save on fuel and avoid unnecessary wear and tear.
You Are Over-insuring Your Vehicle
Are you paying for more car insurance coverage than you actually need?
This can result in higher premiums, so it could be time to review your insurance policy.
You can adjust your coverage to reflect your needs so that you aren’t overpaying for car insurance.
Insurance premiums can vary depending on your age, driving history, location and the type of car you drive.
You've Been Ignoring Dashboard Warning Lights
Dashboard warning lights are there for a reason – to give you time to fix a problem.
Minor repairs can escalate into major, expensive repairs which you could have avoided by having the issue fixed sooner rather than later.
Ignoring a check engine light could cause lasting damage to the engine and put yourself and other road users in danger.
Best to book a repair at the first sign of trouble so you don't end up spending more than you need to.
We hope you have identified some of the ways that your car could be costing you money by reading this blog.