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How to reduce your motoring costs

After a home, running a car is the biggest investment you will probably make. Below we share our top tips for reducing your motoring expense and increasing fuel efficiency.

When buying a used car, it is important to know how much it is likely to cost you over the long term so you can budget effectively. Diesel cars tend to be more expensive to buy but cover more miles per gallon, whilst petrol cars are quieter and often cheaper to buy, but aren’t as efficient on fuel. However, although diesels are more economical over longer distances, it is worth establishing whether you are driving enough miles to justify the extra initial cost.

If a diesel model costs an extra £1,800 to buy than its petrol alternative for example, you may expect to be driving thousands of miles every year to warrant the extra cost and price of fuel during your ownership. On the other hand, if your vehicle isn’t covering many miles or doing enough long runs on the motorway, the diesel particulate filter (DPF) can get blocked, causing expensive damage to your car as a result.

For this reason, and because the benefits of diesel ownership are less pronounced if you cover smaller distances, we recommend choosing a petrol engine for vehicles that will be used for short trips such as driving around town.

Careful driving

Being a little more calm in accelerating and not driving too fast can reduce the amount of fuel you use considerably. Always drive in the right gear for the speed you are doing – too high a gear will force the engine to labour and too low will increase the revs and therefore burn fuel unecessarily.


Supermarkets often have very reasonable fuel prices, and many allow you to build up reward points to spend on other shopping. Compare prices of your nearest fuel stations at www.petrolprices.com to save money on your fuel costs. However it is worth bearing in mind that supermarket fuel tends to be cheaper because they often lack additives that the branded fuels contain. It is sometimes worth paying a little extra for the increased economy that these fuels deliver, especially in very modern engines.

Servicing and maintenance

The average cost of maintaining a used vehicle is around £472 over the course of a year, which includes the MOT and any servicing or repairs required. Of course this does vary enormously between models and is also dependent on the vehicle’s age and mileage amongst other factors, so it is not uncommon for car repairs to run into thousands of pounds. A comprehensive warranty such as our Safe and Sound used car warranty will cover the breakdown of all mechanical items and failure of all electrical items, whilst a service plan will enable you to spread the cost of servicing over twelve months.

Breakdown cover

Many of us have been unfortunate enough to experience at least one breakdown. Breakdown cover ranges from basic roadside assistance to having the car collected anywhere in Europe with a courtesy car. As you would expect, the higher the level of cover, the more it will normally cost. Without breakdown cover in place, you could expect to pay up to £200 just for the call-out fee but Safe and Sound dealerships will include a comprehensive 24 hour UK breakdown cover package with your next vehicle free of charge.


One of the biggest outlays when owning a car is the loss of value of the vehicle over time, which is called depreciation. Brand new cars lose their value faster than used cars as they are pricier to begin with. If you are buying a used car, think about what it might be worth in a few years’ time – you may well be able to see the price of older cars the same make as yours on a car sales website.

If you like this article, you may also like to read our car reviews.

Simply click here to find your nearest dealership or call us on 01844 293810.

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Registered office: The WMS Group Ltd,
Oxford House, Oxford Road, Thame, Oxon OX9 2AH
01844 293 810