Tiff Needell, racing driver and Fifth Gear presenter, gives you his top five tips for minimising the cost of car ownership.
New research by CarTakeBack.com shows that owners of cars that are five years old or more, are, on average, spending nearly one thousand pounds a year just keeping their cars on the road. That’s before they pay for their insurance and fuel.
When buying a car, if you want one that’s going to hold its value, it’s best to stick with the mainstream models. Boy racer modifications may look good, but they’re not going to help you when it comes to selling the car on. The more documentation and service history that comes with the car, the better.
So easily done yet so often overlooked. Give your car a regular clean. And then, a good polish off. As that will help protect your bodywork from the elements. Try and avoid parking your car under trees, otherwise it’s likely to be covered in tree sap and bird droppings, both of which can damage the paintwork. And, don’t forget to pay some attention to the upholstery. A well worn out interior tends to suggest a well-worn out car.
It’s so important to stay on top of general maintenance. This includes ensuring that your fluids are at the right levels and your screenwash is topped up, and that your tyres not only have enough tread, but also have the right pressures. These simple checks can go a long way to ensuring your car stays in good condition throughout its life. Not checking your oil and coolant could lead to an overheated, or even a seized, engine. While ignoring your tyre pressures can result in uneven tread wear, which can lead to you needing to purchase new tyres more often; an expensive purchase most of us would rather avoid.
My next tip is the most obvious, and the one most commonly often overlooked by drivers trying to cut costs. Make sure your car is regularly serviced. And if you’re not confident doing it yourself, then make sure you go to a reputable garage. Having that expert eye taking a thorough look at your car, can save you a lot of money by spotting potential faults, before they become major problems. And, of course, maintaining that service history will make your car more attractive for resale.
Eventually, though, the time will come when it’s simply too much to keep paying those expensive repair bills, or your car has failed that MOT. But don’t despair. Whereas once where you had to pay for the privilege to get your car scrapped, now you can turn to companies like CarTakeBack.com who will find you the best price from the DVLA approved recycling centres nearest to you.
No-one ever wants their pride and joy to end up in a recycling centre, but, when the time does come, make sure you get on top of recycling and do it properly.