Money Matters Team

5 ways to keep your car costs down

By Money Matters Team 22/10/2013

How to get miles of value

Top tips to keep your car in shape.

Although the complexities of a modern car mean that most under-bonnet work is best left to a qualified mechanic, with the right tools and knowledge, there are some simple tasks that are well worth doing yourself to keep the car in top shape and minimise upkeep costs.


 ABS light on car dashboard

Car servicing can be very costly, but skimping on maintenance is a false economy. Early attention to small problems avoids bigger bills later, and a good service record helps a car’s second-hand-value when the time comes to sell it on or trade it in.


pressure gauge

Check the tyres weekly for correct inflation and to watch for any damage that may need attention. Under-inflated tyres wear out quicker and will also affect your fuel economy.


under the car bonnet

At the same time you’re checking your tyres, check the engine oil level, and don’t delay a garage visit if the colour is very black or the level keeps dropping low.

Fuel efficiency

petrol  pump

Turn the air-conditioning to a lower setting to reduce the engine power and fuel required to run it at full pelt. Don’t forget that the air-con needs periodic servicing as well as the engine. The car’s handbook will tell you how often. Clutter can also easily build up inside a car, but lugging around unnecessary weight will have an adverse effect on the miles-per-gallon so be sure you’re not carrying around more than you need. See our infographic for more fuel efficiency tips.


Newer cars should always go to a franchised dealer for servicing, to keep the right stamp in the service handbook. Cost may motivate a move elsewhere to have an older car serviced, but stick to the same service intervals and, as for where to go, nothing beats a word-of-mouth recommendation to find a reputable garage.

You can find more useful guides on car maintenance here.


This Money Matters post aims to be informative and engaging. Though it may include tips and information, it does not constitute advice and should not be used as a basis for any financial decisions. Sainsbury's Bank accepts no responsibility for the opinions and views of external contributors and the content of external websites included within this post. Some links may take you to another Sainsbury's Bank page. All information in this post was correct at date of publication.