Did you know that the average driver will fork out a whopping £168,880 on motoring costs over the course of a lifetime?
According to research by hire car company autoeurope, fuel topped the list (an average of £89.67 per month), along with insurance (£436 a year), servicing (£441 a year) and MOT/repairs (£168.46 a year).
The good news is that these costs can be slashed simply by taking the time to shop around.
Filling up with petrol and diesel is the biggest day-to-day expense for most drivers, unless you've made the switch to an electric car or a plug-in hybrid.
The simplest way to save money is to buy your fuel from the cheapest service station in your area.
You can compare the fuel prices at forecourts in any postcode at Petrolprices.com, but remember, there’s a point where driving too far to fill up with the cheapest petrol or diesel will cancel out the saving!
Supermarkets generally offer the cheapest prices. They also run promotions offering discounts of 5p-10p off each litre of fuel if you spend a certain amount shopping in-store.
After fuel, insurance is likely to be your biggest motoring expense.
No-one can agree on the exact average yearly motor insurance premium in the UK, but it's in the region of £500-£800.
Shopping around could slash as much as £275 off some premiums according to MoneySupermarket, which claims around 40% of drivers auto-renew with their existing provider when they receive their renewal letter.
Comparison sites, such as MoneySupermarket, CompareTheMarket, GoCompare, Confused.com and USwitch, scan most of the insurers to find the best deals for you.
Never let your existing insurance policy roll over. As soon as you get your renewal notice, start shopping around. If you find a cheaper deal, go back to your insurer and give them the opportunity to match it.
Roadside assistance is something you hope to never use, but it's worth its weight in gold if the worst happens.
The AA, RAC and Green Flag are household names, but there are many others including GEM Motoring Assist, AutoAid and Euro Plus.
Most of the big comparison sites, including GoCompare, Confused.com and MoneySupermarket, will find the cheapest deals. And just like car insurance, staying with the
same company year after year will cost you money because new customers get the best deals.
It's also worth remembering that many motor insurers also offer breakdown cover as an add-on to your policy, which can work out cheaper.
Some banks and building societies, such as the Nationwide, offer free breakdown and recovery assistance with some of their accounts.
New tyres can cost anything from around £50 to few a times that amount each, depending on the type of car you drive and the quality of tyre.
However, it’s not advisable to ignore the state of your tyres because you can be fined if they are defective, plus they can be dangerous and harm fuel economy.
Back in the day you had to go to a garage or a tyre fitter for new tyres, now it’s possible to search online for the best value tyres and even get them fitted outside your home.
Of course, main dealers, independent garages, local and big-name tyre fitters such as Kwik-Fit, ATS Routemaster and National Tyres, will still offer you a good deal, but online companies like blackcircles.com, tyre-shopper.co.uk, etyres.co.uk and tyrecomp.co.uk are worth considering.
When buying tyres, especially online, check that the price includes fitting, valves, wheel balancing and old tyre disposal. If possible, it’s worth paying extra (£30+) on wheel alignment, also known as tracking, which should make sure your new tyres wear evenly.
Servicing and repairs
When money is tight it can be tempting to skip regular maintenance and servicing on your car. However, this is likely to be a false economy because you risk much bigger bills later, and in the meantime, your car will not be running at peak performance so could be using extra fuel, for instance.
Ultimately, the cost of a service is likely to be far less than the cost of having to replace parts later because of damage through poor maintenance.
With labour costs as much as much as £100 an hour, it’s essential that you shop around for the best deal.
Websites such as whocanfixmycar.com, bookmygarage.com and repairanycar.com will scan local garages for you and show a list with prices.
Often it’s best to ask friends and work colleagues for their recommendations when it comes to choosing a garage, and sometimes, your local main dealer and well known autocentres such as Halfords and Kwik-Fit might offer the best service.
If you're struggling to find a recommended garage locally organisations such as The Motor Ombudsman (the government-backed consumer watchdog for the automotive industry) has a 'Find a garage' finder at themotorombudsman.org, while the Foxy Lady Drivers Club lists approved female friendly garages at foxyladydrivers.com
If your car needs repair work, try to get at least one other quote. If you have a friend or relative who knows something about cars, it’s always a good idea to ask them to visit the garage with you.
There are comparison sites for virtually everything now and Parkopedia scans a database of thousands of car parks and metered parking - even private garages - to give you all the options for the postcode you are visiting. It even lists free parking and how long can you stay at each location.
Parkopedia also lists airport parking options, but there it’s up against dozens of big-name travel sites including Expedia and Opodo, plus comparison sites such Travelsupermarket, holidayextras.co.uk, parking4less.com and airport-parking-shop.co.uk. Official airport sites often have parking deals too.
If you’re searching for airport parking, check out the official airport sites too because they often feature on-site parking offers.
Disclaimer: Satsuma Loans is not responsible for the content of the linked sites and we are not liable for any losses caused by the use of the suggested sites.