These are difficult times, particularly for anyone working in the automotive industry. All motorsport has been cancelled, factories and dealerships are closed, and all but a few motor-related businesses are struggling financially in the wake of the virus outbreak measures. Individual motorists are also suffering and looking for any way possible that they can save money. I have plenty of general tips for money-saving motoring on this blog, but here are a few cost saving ideas specifically for our turbulent times:
- If you are a key worker look out for special offers, for example a local garage near me is offering free vehicle health checks for NHS workers.
- Some insurance companies (including Admiral) are offering token rebates (of £25) to their customers whilst they are not using vehicles. But if you have no plans to use your vehicle for a while, you might want to consider cancelling your insurance all together. Be sure you understand the implications (discuss these with your insurer) before you do so.
- If you have a car on a lease or PCP and are struggling to make payments – contact your lease/finance company. Some of them are offering payment holidays.
- You might want to fill up with fuel, as prices at the pump are low at the moment. Shop around online before you leave the house and see which place local to you is cheapest. You won’t need to make an unnecessary trip if your fuel station is next to your supermarket!
- If you have spare time on your hands, you could usefully use it to check your tyre pressures, remove things from the boot (like those golf clubs you aren’t using) and take off the roof-rack. All of these things, and more, have a big impact on your fuel efficiency and you can save up to 25% on fuel putting these things right. Read more on my blog on fuel saving.
- Whilst you are cleaning your car, it is a good time to make a note of any minor damage that it might be worth fixing. Not all damage is worth fixing – use my checker to see if it is financially worthwhile.
- If you are buying a car, second hand car prices have plummeted, so you could pick up a deal. It’s worth bearing in mind however, that people have been stopped and fined for making an “unnecessary journey” to buy a car. Some car auctions houses and dealers may offer a delivery service, so it’s worth checking. You could have a look at what is available locally to you – you never know what might be around the corner.
- If you are not going to use your car and have a driveway or space to park that is not on a public highway, you could consider un-taxing your car. This is called a SORN (Statutory Off-Road Notice). You will need to contact the DVLA and have your V5c ownership document to hand. The DVLA only un-tax a car by complete month, so it is probably only worthwhile if you are absolutely sure you won’t be driving it for the whole (calendar) month. Don’t forget to re-tax it when you want to drive it again. It sounds like a faff – but we estimate we will save £64, for what has taken up about 5 minutes work – that’s a pretty good hourly rate!
Remember, if you are not using your vehicle, it’s a good idea to start it every week, just to check the battery hasn’t drained. And ultimately the best way to save money during these difficult times, is to heed government advice and only go out in your car when absolutely necessary.
Stay safe and well everyone. I hope this helps (a bit).
Can you help me with some market research and be in with a chance of winning £100 for answering three questions? If so, read on.
This is not a test, there are no right or wrong answers. Answer three simple questions (without researching) and be in with a chance of winning £100. Once we have 250 responses, I will draw a name from a hat and pay the winner. You have a one in 250 chance of winning. So please share this post too, so we reach 250 quicker! Please email email@example.com answering the following:
1. WHAT TYPE OF VEHICLE DO YOU DRIVE? (say all that apply) – Diesel, Hybrid, Petrol, Electric, Van, Car, Camper, Motorbike, Motorhome, No vehicle, Truck, Lease vehicle, Bicycle, Company vehicle, Other (please say)
2. HOW DO YOU THINK ENGINE MAPPING MIGHT BENEFIT BUSINESS?
- I don’t know what engine mapping is
- I have no idea how it might help business
- It could help lower carbon emissions
- It could help businesses save money
- It wouldn’t help businesses
3. HAVE YOU/HAVE YOU EVER CONSIDERED HAVING YOUR ENGINE MAPPED? YES/NO
ANY OTHER COMMENTS?
Please include your name in the email. You will be notified if you win. We will also announce winners on this web and on social media @MilesBetterMotoring
There are many ways to save money as a motorist – by buying and selling wisely, with good maintenance and management – but one of the most effective ways to save money is my saving fuel. Below is my nine point plan to cutting down the amount of fuel you use.
- BUY A VEHICLE BASED ON FUEL ECONOMY. But be careful – not all manufacturers use realistic driving conditions as a measure. Study the Which? guide to understanding genuine miles per gallon.
- REMAPPING DIESEL ENGINES. Please see my recent post about saving up to 15% on fuel for diesel vehicles with a simple vehicle remap.
- BE AERODYNAMIC. When vehicles are tested for their fuel consumption in the factory, every gap and bump is taped up to give good results. To improve the fuel economy on your vehicle remove roof bars and keep your windows closed. A roof box can add up to 20% spent on fuel, and many are left on vehicles for months when they are not in use.
- LOOSE WEIGHT. Resist the urge to use your vehicle as storage. Driving around with a full heavy boot or a van full of equipment not regularly used will cost you more in fuel.
- MANAGE YOUR TANK. Each litre of fuel weighs around 720gms, meaning the average UK tank (65L) if filled, makes the vehicle weigh an extra 46.8kg. If you half that, your car will handle better and be cheaper to run. I do not advocate running the vehicle regularly close to empty – as you could get debris stuck in your fuel pump – costing you more in repairs.
- GOOD TYRES. Well maintained tyres are essential for safe driving and the RAC says that inflated tyres can improve fuel consumption by up to 2%. Check tyre pressures regularly, especially before a motorway journey.
- DRIVE A MANUAL. Automatics use 10% to 15% more fuel than manuals (source: the AA). However on motorway driving, there is little difference. Read the AA guide to pros and cons of Manual vs Automatic vehicles.
- SLOW DOWN. Many businesses put a limiter on their vehicles – not just to slow staff down, but to save money. Companies that install limiters claim a 25% saving on fuel, but if you are managing your own driving, try not to exceed 3000 revs and avoid heavy acceleration and braking where possible.
- AIR CONDITIONING. Your fuel consumption will increase as soon as you switch it on. If you can live with the fan, or just being a bit warmer, you will save money.
WELCOME to my new blog. On this site, I plan to explore the wealth of ways that motorists can cut down the cost of driving. It is hoped that each Money-Saving Motoring blog posts, and the planned same-titled book, will be a useful tool for individuals, but also for those responsible for managing business fleets and for accountants and Financial Directors who’s job it is to advise their clients on good cost-savings.
WHAT WILL BE COVERED. I plan to explore a wide range of financial issues facing motoring, including buying vs leasing, selling and sharing vehicles, simple vehicle health checks, and clever hints and tips. I won’t shy away from picking apart the diesel/petrol/electric/hybrid arguments and will also look at bio diesel and hydrogen options. I am very open to ideas and feedback – so please feel free to comment or drop me a line.
First, I am going to start with what I know best: the diesel eco-remap.
REMAPPING offers a quick and easy way for those that run diesel vehicles to gain up to 15% savings on fuel. I recently spoke to a business who spends £1000 per month on fuel, per vehicle. They had a modest fleet of five diesel cars – diesel vehicles are still preferred by companies doing a high amount of business mileage: they last longer, and are cheaper to run despite the ever increasing taxes. If all five cars were remapped, it would provide a saving of £750 per month, meaning the cost of the remap would be recovered in a matter of weeks. As an added bonus, emissions would be lowered too.
There are a handful of tuning companies offering remaps for cars, but ours – Miles Better – is one of the few to focus on lowering costs and emissions. The technology we use (VIEZU) has been tried and tested on 24,000 BT vehicles, so we know it works. If you want to know more have a look at the website or drop me a line.
SAY HELLO. If you have any ideas for future blog posts, I would love to hear from you. Comment on this post or drop me a line. I have been invited to speak at London Motor Show this week (on Friday 17th May) – if you are reading this in time, come and say hello. I’ll be on the Live Stage around 3pm.
MORE ABOUT ME AND THE BOOK ON THE HOME PAGE