While we may be asked to be home most of the time, the need to stay mobile is a reality for a lot of South Africans. Errands, school runs, visiting family and friends, driving to a healthcare facility—the need for a car is paramount. Driving during a time when the already fluctuating fuel prices, insurance premiums and overall upkeep of a car are elevated by a new normal that seems to be staying longer than expected, everyone needs tips on how to reduce monthly driving costs. From investing in a fuel-efficient car to changing certain behaviours on your current one, look at how we can help you manage your monthly driving expenses.
The Smart Buy
If you just recently graduated, you are probably looking for a car that won’t start costing too much as soon as you drive off the dealership floor. And when buying from the manufacturer, you are guaranteed a new car with a few service-related benefits for a period of time to relieve you of the financial burden; however, if you’re buying your car from a used car dealership, you might need to pay for a few things depending on your agreement. You can avoid buying a car with too many faults and problems by doing extensive research into your affordability as well as the problems you are able to live with. It’s smart to know roughly how much your car will cost you to maintain on a yearly, monthly and daily basis.
Insurance? Yes, You Need It
Despite many South Africans believing insurance may be an unnecessary monthly responsibility, it helps a great deal. Especially if you live in cities that are always under threat for theft and hijacking. While it is a harsh reality, you always have to think about the possibility of landing in an unfortunate incident with your car. And with roadworks on top of crime, you may need to invest in an insurance package that is going to be there for you on a rainy day. One of the most important tips we have for you would be to consult your insurer and negotiate a premium that accommodates driving less if you work from home or simply using your car less. This may help reduce your risk profile and bring down your premium.
Fuel Up On Tips
We know fuel prices are your biggest enemy of progress, and we wish we had a cheaper treasure hidden in our hat, but we come bearing tips. While you cannot avoid the pinch of the petrol price, you can manage your car’s consumption of it. How you drive your car plays a huge role in this regard. A few things to avoid doing are:
- accelerating harshly
- overloading your car
- keeping your car idling for long in traffic
Travelling Safe and Smart
Being a driver that knows how to improve engine efficiency and fuel consumption takes small steps. You may not be able to avoid a traffic jam, but if you can, ensure you do not frequently drive during peak traffic times. Planning your trips wisely also helps you manage your car’s fuel. Instead of frequent trips to the store on a daily basis, you can invest in compiling lists of all the things you need on a weekly basis and then making one trip through all the stops on a quieter day. If you need to frequently visit nearby places (maybe you work close by or need to go to the laundromat on a weekly basis), you can opt for services such as e-hailing company Uber’s ‘UberConnect’ feature, which lets you deliver packages as opposed to driving. You can also use your health and fitness journey as an excuse to drive less by taking jogs to nearby places should you have errands. However, be careful not to keep your car parked without the engine running for too long as that might incur an unexpected cost. So, planned scheduled trips can help you keep your car in shape while saving on costs.
Maintain That Baby
Little mistakes made on your car can cost you more than you’d expect, so it’s important to maintain your car by doing little things here and there to help keep it in shape. When it comes to tyres, it is advised to rotate them at regular intervals to help them last longer and check your battery and engine often. Drain oil and change it annually or according to how the car manufacturer or dealership has advised. This will help you manage those unpleasant surprises that ruin road trip plans.
Car costs are a reality you have to prepare yourself for, so research is important if you are looking to buy one. There are many solutions to help you purchase the car you want; however, always be careful of fraudsters making unrealistic promises, especially if you are a graduate. You may also invest in graduate finance if you are looking to buy your first ride and find a reputable dealership to help you walk this road.