From smart parking to reducing your insurance premium Geraldine Herbert has some tips to make driving a more economical option
It’s no secret that owning a car is expensive, whether resting on your driveway or eating the miles on the motorway your car is costing you money. So from avoiding unnecessary parking charges to reducing your insurance premium we have 10 tips to make driving a more economical option
- Frugal refuelling
Working out exactly how much fuel your car actually uses will allow you plan better. To do that fill your car from empty and reset the counter to determine how much of a distance you can cover with a full tank. Then for example if your car uses 65 litres to travel 500km you use 13 litres per 100 km. Use websites such as pumps.ie to find the cheapest petrol or diesel in your area.
2. Improve your driving techniques
Making small tweaks to your driving technique can save on fuel costs. To drive more efficiently don’t rev the engine and change up into a higher gear as soon as it is possible, correct use of gears can save you up to 15% of your fuel bill. Plan ahead, anticipate stop signs and lights, the less you have to stop, the better your fuel economy. Remember driving just 8 km/h over the speed limit can affect fuel consumption by 23%, the most fuel efficient speed is 75-80 km/h.
3. Car Insurance
You can save hundreds of euros by simply shopping around for the cheapest car insurance so take the time to do so and don’t simply renew your insurance annually.
Put a realistic value on your car. Insuring a car at a higher value than its market value will do nothing but waste money. Insurance companies will only ever compensate you for what you have lost. Also if you car is worth less than €2,000 then consider third party insurance rather than comprehensive cover. Always ask your insurance company if you are eligible for a discount and if possible pay your premium up front, paying monthly eases the financial burden but will cost you more in the long run
4. Look after your car
No-one enjoys taking their car for a routine service, especially when often the car comes back feeling and looking the same as before. Even so, cost-cutting on maintenance is false economy. Taking good care of your car is an easy way to prolong its driving life and cut costs so do regular checks on the oil, fluid levels, tyres it will pays huge dividends in the long run.
5. Share your car
Sharing your car is a great way to save money. Consider car pooling with neighbours, friends or colleagues it will not only reduce the fuel you use but also the wear and tear on your car. Check out Carpool.ie, founded in 2008 the scheme is open to anyone who owns a car, or anyone looking for a lift.
6. Find the cheapest spot to park your car
Often online car park prices can be far cheaper than offline so do some research. Q-park customers, for example can save up to 50% by booking online.
7. Consider other forms of transport
Commuters can make significant savings on Dublin Bus, Bus Eireann, and Irish Rail services by purchasing tickets through the Taxsaver.ie scheme. Designed to encourage people to use public transport to travel to and from work its worth considering if fuel and parking costs are making your daily commute unaffordable.
8. Rent a car
For many reasons it may make sense to rent a car — a temporary need for a second vehicle or city dwellers without residential parking spaces. Schemes such as gocar.ie are ideal. GoCar has 60 cars and four vans across 50 bases throughout Dublin and Cork. It’s effectively a short-term rental option, allowing you to hire a car for a few hours at a time.
9. Check your tyres
Over time, tyres will naturally loose air and not only is this dangerous but it will also affect your cars fuel efficiency. Keeping your tyres properly inflated can improve consumption by up to 2%.
10. Pass your NCT
Misaligned headlights are a common reason for cars to fail the tests so have your headlights checked, it is a 10 minute job for someone with the right equipment. Also check the threads on your tyres and don’t forget about the spare wheel. Oil, coolant levels, tyre pressure should be looked at and the day of the test remove your hubcaps, or the centre cap on your alloy wheels, if the wheel nuts can’t be seen.
17th May, 2016