This content originally appeared in the MSE weekly email on 12 August 2015.
Cars cost – never mind buying them, the running cost of a typical motor is now £3,000 a year (source: AA). And with new car registrations only weeks away, we thought we'd pimp your motor MoneySaving with a variety of ways to hack down the cost.
1. Check your photo licence or risk a £1,000 fine. More than two million people's have expired, see what to check and what to do if it's invalid.
2. A year's car insurance for 96p (fully comp). That's the record result using every step in our full cheap car insurance guide, see how Barbara got 96p insurance then try the full MSE car insurance system or young driver insurance to see how you do (other quick car insurance tips below too).
3. Seven ways to tweak your driving and cut fuel use by 30% (slowing down isn't one). Drive clever and you drive cheap, see seven cheap driving tricks.
4. Use hidden council 'fewer fails' MOT centres. As they don't do repairs, they've no vested interest to fail you. Use our UK council MOTs finder to find your nearest. As forumite jemayhew says: "Huge thanks. Last year ripped off £400 repairs, today passed at council centre with only test fee to pay."
5. Bag a free tank of fuel via a gift voucher trick. If you're due to make a big purchase, manipulate gift vouchers to get a free full tank of petrol.
6. Try adding mum, son or Aunt Dot to car insurance to save £1,000s. Bizarrely, covering more people on a policy can cut costs if it brings down the risk average, see seven tips on adding second drivers. As @Faevouritexox tweeted:"Thanks, as a young driver my insurer wanted £5,000 but after adding mum and dad it dropped to £1,900." (PS: It's not just for young drivers.)
7. Car (or bike) damaged by a pothole? You could be due £1,000s. They're a menace, so use our pothole damage claims full guide to see if you're due.
8. Never renew AA or RAC policies without haggling. In our poll of hagglers the AA was top with an 84% success rate, RAC 77%. Eg, Kathryn tweeted: "Every year we haggle breakdown cover - with the AA we managed to knock off more than £100 this year." See our AA/RAC haggling tips.
9. Cut new RAC and AA policy costs to under £20/year buying the right way. Don't buy direct, go via the right site to get cheap AA/RAC cover.
10. Smoke with kids in the car and you can be fined £50. From 1 October it'll be illegal to smoke in vehicles in England and Wales if there's an under-18 in it.
11. Get 3% cashback every time you buy petrol or diesel. The Santander 123*credit card (eligibility calculator) gives 3% cashback on fuel and train fares (max £9/month back), 2% department stores, 1% supermarkets, so just repay it IN FULL to avoid its 16.5% rep APR and you're quids in. There's a £24/year fee so it's only good for serious drivers. Full info: Petrol Cashback Cards
12. Hidden car insurance deals comparison sites miss – free £79 Kindle, free £60 Amazon voucher, free £80 Karcher pressure washer. There's no one cheapest insurer, so to get as many quotes as possible first correctly combine comparison sites (as different sites search different insurers). Our order's Google*, Confused.com*, MoneySupermarket* and Gocompare*.
Yet they miss some promos, some insurers and they can't do multi-car. So we monitor them in our Cheap Car Insurance guide. Currently including...
- Admiral multi car*, £79 Kindle with policy by 30 September.
- Age UK*, get a £60 Amazon voucher with policy by 20 August.
- Co-op*, get a Karcher K2 pressure washer with policy by 31 August.
- Also try Aviva* and Direct Line* which comparison sites miss too.
- You may also be able to get cashback on a range of policies.
13. Smash parking costs by renting a driveway. See if you can rent a private parking space for less. We found £11/day in London compared to NCP's £27.
14. Car insurance rising 10%, yet you can lock a quote in at today's price. Prices are predicted to rise 10% in 2015, even before November's insurance tax rise (which'll typically add £12 to new policies). So far it's already up 5%. Yet Aviva*, LV*, AA* and more give quotes valid for 60 days, so get one now for then in case prices rise, see our list of 20 insurers with lock in quotes.
15. Not at car insurance renewal? Check NOW if you can save mid-policy. With prices rising, everyone should check if they're overpaying. If so, unless you've claimed you can usually switch (do read switching mid-policy for full pros and cons), as Andy tweeted us: "You gave us confidence to challenge our insurance mid-policy. We were paying £40/month, now it's £16."
16. Nine quick pre-MOT test tricks to cut your chance of failing. Many fail needlessly, here are nine pre-MOT tricks to avoid fails.
17. Cut fuel costs by up to 50p/litre with a nifty tool. It finds the cheapest forecourt near you, the differences can be huge. Petrol price comparison
18. Private parking firms CAN'T fine you – don't believe the disguise. Many tickets from supermarkets, retail parks and private car park firms do better impressions than Alistair McGowan. Some even call themselves Parking Charge Notices (PCNs) to mimic official Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs). Yet they've no right to fine you – see how to Fight Unfair Private Parking Tickets.
19. Don't assume you pay less for third party insurance than fully comp. It's counter-logical but if you want the cheapest, comprehensive can cost less.
20. Slash tyre costs. Usually wheely expensive, our tyre tips can cut your costs.
21. Some save £100s on car insurance by legitimately tweaking job titles. An illustrator is oft cheaper than an artist, an editor than a journalist, a PA than a secretary. Play with our car insurance job picker tool to read the rules and find yours cheapest, such as @fabsternation: "I saved £300+ going from creative director to marketing manager. Crazy."
22. 50%+ of people beat unfair council parking fines even after rejection. If your ticket's unfair, appeal, but even if you lose that, go all the way to the final tribunal and over 50% win, see fight unfair COUNCIL parking tickets.
23. Monthly car insurance doesn't exist, it's a hidden loan. They simply loan you the year's cost, often at 20%+ APR, check our car insurers APR list. Oft you'll be far better off spreading the cost over a year on a 0% credit card.
These are just the start, accelerate savings in 50+ Motoring MoneySaving tips.