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How to cut the cost of running your car

The festive period is typically an expensive time of year, swiftly followed by many of us tightening our belts in January. For drivers, the cost of running a car is one of their biggest monthly outgoings, but surprisingly few of us consider how to cut down on those costs. So, in the new year, how can you save as many pennies as possible on your vehicle?

Check your insurance policy

Every car in the UK must have appropriate insurance – it’s non-negotiable. However, if you don’t shop around for insurance deals, you could be paying over the odds for your policy. Using a price comparison website to compare deals only takes a matter of minutes, but could end up saving you a small fortune. If you’re on the lookout for a new car, bear in mind that certain cars will attract higher premiums than others. New, high-performance cars will be more expensive to insure due to the increased costs associated with fixing or replacing them, so aren’t ideal if you’re hoping to only spend the bare minimum on insurance!

If you’re a new or young driver, getting a black box fitted – otherwise known as telematics – could bring down insurance costs. Statistically, young drivers are more likely to be involved in accidents, so black boxes provide a cheaper deal by delivering premiums based on driving style, rather than stats. Adding another experienced driver to the policy could also bring down costs significantly.

Keep an eye on fuel

Quite simply, the faster you drive, the greater your fuel consumption will be, but this isn’t the only way to preserve your fuel. How you drive also affects it – aggressive stopping and starting, driving in too low a gear and over-revving the engine all guzzle fuel. Removing unnecessary weight from the vehicle, such as removing roof racks and clearing out your boot can have a significant impact on fuel consumption – getting rid of the roof racks alone impacts consumption by around 10 per cent. Turning on air conditioning drains power from the engine, so don’t use it unless absolutely necessary. Make sure that your tyres are fully inflated, too, to save the engine having to work even harder to get your vehicle going.

Just like shopping around for an insurance policy, it can pay to seek out the cheapest fuel prices in your area, as even saving 5p on a litre adds up. Some supermarkets even offer discounts at their fuel stations if you reach a minimum spend in store, so don’t throw away your receipts! If you’re going on a long trip, fill up beforehand – fuel stations on motorways can be significantly more expensive.

Maintenance is key

Car making a suspicious rattling sound? Gears starting to grind? It could be expensive to fix problems with your car when they crop up, but ultimately it’ll cost a lot more when it gets worse! Make sure that you service your car regularly and never skip any maintenance appointments. You can still ask around for the best price, but do ensure that you are getting your car fixed by a reputable garage that uses parts approved by the manufacturer. Caring for your vehicle will save money in the long run, so keep it in good shape.

The right finance plan

Why spend more than you need to on car finance? If you’re looking for a car loan, we offer great finance rates from a huge range of lenders, so that we can offer you the best deal. Get in touch with our team to find out how we can help you to secure the car of your dreams.

car in winter

How to winter-proof your car

Every winter, there are a slew of news reports about how we are due to face the harshest winter in decades, bringing icy winds and heavy snowfall. Although the chances are we won’t be battling the arctic conditions that the meteorologists are telling us, adverse weather conditions are guaranteed during the winter months, so it’s crucial to ensure that your car is fully prepared.

Check the battery

The most common cause of breakdowns in winter is a flat battery. You may notice that when it’s cold outside, it’s harder to turn over your engine. If the temperature drops below freezing, a car battery can lose around two thirds of its power. When combined with the increased need to use your headlights and heating, the battery can go flat before you know it. It’s worth getting it checked out by your local garage if you’re expecting to be driving a lot over winter.

Keep an eye on your coolant

Over the course of the year, many motorists keep their engine coolant topped up with water, meaning that any antifreeze added in from the previous winter will become diluted. To avoid any damage to your engine – and the subsequent cost of repairing it – make sure there is a 50/50 ratio of water and antifreeze.

Winter-ready tyres

Although you should be checking the tread of your tyres all year round, it’s particularly important in winter to avoid skidding on icy roads. The legal minimum depth is 1.6mm, but a depth of around 3mm offers better grip and can improve both braking and steering. Winter tyres are another option if you live in a rural area or plan on making a lot of journeys, as they are very effective on snow and ice. While you’re at it, check the tyre pressure, as the change in temperature can cause it to drop.

Crucial checks

As the days in winter are so much shorter, you’re likely to spend much of your time driving in darkness, so you need to check that your lights are in full working order. Salt, dirt and grit from the roads can build up on headlights and reduce both the effectiveness and visibility to other cars, so clean them regularly. Check that your full-beam headlights, brake lights, indicators and fog lights are all working, and consider keeping spare bulbs in your car just in case. You’ll also need to inspect your windscreen for any chips or damage, as the cold weather can make them worse, and make sure your screen washer fluid is topped up with antifreeze.

Be prepared

Fingers crossed that you’ll never need it, but it’s worth keeping an emergency kit in your car in case you ever get stranded. Warm clothing, a high-vis vest, a first aid kit, a shovel, a spare phone charger, a torch and emergency rations are a good place to start.

Remember, if the weather conditions are particularly hazardous, the best and safest advice is to stay at home, but planning ahead can make a difference.

If your car looks like it’s not going to survive the winter, it could be time to look for a new one. We offer finance on a range of vehicles with a repayment plan that is tailored to suit you – get in touch with our team to find out what we can do for you.

buy car with car finance best deal

Get a Better Deal Buying your Car with Car Finance

New research from AutoTrader shows that 36% of people buy a car with car finance specifically to get a better deal. That’s over a third of all car buyers, saying that rather than buying outright, they secure car finance to get the best deal. Here at Car Finance 2u, we help all kinds of people, with all different kinds of financial circumstances, to secure a great deal on their car finance. Whether you have an excellent credit rating, or you’ve missed a few payments on your mobile phone bill and your credit score has been affected, we can still help you.

Car Finance 2u work with a wide range of lenders to ensure that we can offer great car finance deals to as many people as possible. So when you apply to Car Finance 2u, we’ll work with you and our panel of lenders, to find the best deal for you. You might want to pay off the finance as soon as possible, or spread your payments over a longer period, to help with your cash flow. Whichever the case, our dedicated relationship managers will work closely with you, to make sure that you understand all of the options, then help you to decide on the right deal for you.

So whether you’re looking to borrow £5k for a Fiesta or £50k for a used Ferrari, apply for car finance today with Car Finance 2u. Remember, over a third of people say they get a better deal when buying their car with car finance. So what are you waiting for? Use our application form below to apply for car finance today!

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