Is the cost-of-living crisis delaying your vehicle repairs?

Blog post posted on 07/11/22 |

Yet again, the cost-of-living crisis is tightening its grip on UK motorists. The 2022 RAC Report has found that more than a third of drivers (37%) aged 17 to 24 are avoiding necessary vehicle repairs to save money during the financial crisis.

16% of young drivers said they are delaying major repairs such as repairing a handbrake or cracked windscreen. Additionally, 28% are putting off minor repairs, e.g. minor oil leaks.

Young drivers are more than twice as likely than the UK average to deliberately delay vehicle repair works.

After running a poll on the IAM RoadSmart Twitter, 24% of respondents also agreed that they’ll be forced to put off making vehicle repairs or improvements over the coming months.

So, what can save you money while motoring?

According to the latest research commissioned by the UK’s largest independent road safety charity, IAM RoadSmart, has revealed that potentially millions of motorists have changed their driving habits for the better amid the fuel crisis and more so recently with the cost-of-living crisis.

We understand that our simple hints and tips won’t offset the cost of potentially thousands of pounds worth of vehicle repairs. However, over time they can help to easy the cost of day-to-day motoring.

Fill up at supermarkets

Larger supermarket chains generally offer the lowest forecourt prices. It's worth hunting out which petrol stations are the cheapest locally. Avoid ones close to motorways as these tend to have inflated prices. It's also worth bearing in mind that petrol is also generally cheaper in towns and cities compared to rural locations.

Avoid premium fuel

There's no harm in using premium or 'super' fuels. But unless you’re driving a high-performance vehicle that specifically requires a higher-octane fuel, there's usually very little benefit.  

So, for the average motorist, given that premium fuel on average costs 10-15p more per litre than the standard equivalent, avoiding the premium pump is going to save you money.

Drive smoothly

Driving smoothly and anticipating situations and other road users as far ahead as possible will help to avoid unnecessary braking and acceleration. Maintain a greater distance from the vehicle in front. So that you can regulate your speed, when necessary, utilising acceleration sense without using the brakes.

When slowing down or driving downhill, remaining in gear but taking your foot off the accelerator as early as possible will reduce fuel flow to virtually zero. This is the case in most vehicles. When accelerating, shift to a higher gear early. Even in an auto, you can try this where appropriate. Always remember high speeds greatly increase fuel consumption too, so avoid excessive speed. 

Check your tyres 

Keep your tyres well maintained by checking the condition, pressure, and tread depth. An underinflated tyre will use more fuel. When it comes to choosing new tyres, it’s worth having a look at ones which are designed for extra economy.

If you’re unsure of how to check your pressures, then check out TyreSafe who offers a range of resources for vehicle owners. However, it is always advisable to check the setting recommended by your vehicle manufacturer. This can be found in your handbook. Consider changing to the high-speed or heavy load settings if you are on a long journey.

Remove unnecessary weight

Removing racks, roof boxes and bike carriers when they aren’t in use will significantly decrease air resistance. It will also improve fuel consumption at higher speeds.

Try to avoid carrying unnecessary weight on your travels as this will increase fuel consumption. The same also applies to any misshapen and ill-fitting bodywork. Open windows can also cause significant drag. So when travelling at higher speeds, it can be more economical to use the air conditioning to keep cool.

Want to drive more efficiently?

Richard Gladman, Head of Driving and Riding Standards at IAM RoadSmart, said:

“Advanced driving techniques lend themselves well to helping with fuel economy through observation, anticipation, and planning. Smooth and gentle acceleration and early upward gear changes will also help you to save on your fuel consumption.”

IAM RoadSmart’s Advanced Driving and Riding courses give you additional on-road knowledge and skills, above and beyond what is taught when you learn to drive. Whichever area of driving you’re looking to improve, our course brings your skills up to an advanced level and helps you to get more out of driving.

Find out more here.