Vehicles have an operating life, but they also wear out faster when they are used regularly. Taking plenty of short journeys tends to demand different things of them than longer journeys on the motorway, for instance.
Making the vehicle last longer is a goal centred around getting the most value because the cost of the car is amortised over more years. Put another way, the monthly cost of owning a car is less when it’s owned for longer.
Let’s explore different ways to get more value from car ownership.
Carpool with Friends & Co-workers
Carpooling with friends who live nearby or co-workers going to the same office saves on fuel while lessoning how often you use your car. You still own it, but the wear and tear on all its components is reduced. You still enjoy the freedom to use it when you wish, but one of the main trips that you take regularly is cut in half when you take turns with someone else.
To carpool successfully, the person with driving duties and the person (or people) being picked up must be punctual – no one wants to wait around for someone else and then worry about arriving late to work. It also helps when you don’t live too far apart otherwise the fuel usage won’t be as much of a saving. Your start and finish times at work must be the same too.
For anyone who cares about the economy, a car may be needed to get around, but finding ways to use it less often and still have the same utility is a win-win. Similarly, with shared petrol costs and less vehicle use each day, everything from the tyres to the engine gets less wear on it.
Buying a Car? Compare Ownership Expenses
Each car costs a different amount to own and run. It’s useful to compare the ownership costs of different makes and models once you’ve narrowed down the type of vehicle that you want. There’s almost always a list of brands with models that match that type – a Ford, a VW, a BMW. From there, compare the vehicles with a similar specification i.e. an engine that has roughly the same power behind it and similar features like power steering, in-car entertainment, etc.
Look at the estimated fuel consumption for these different vehicles to see what they’ll cost to drive around town based on your current mileage. Look at Car Magazine or Auto Car Magazine to understand the likely expenses you’ll have running the vehicle, servicing it and insuring it. For a side-by-side comparison, use a spreadsheet to create a table to compare important features. This helps you to see what the true ownership cost will be for each model.
Two Cars or One Car per Household?
While you might already own a vehicle, your significant other might own one too. There’s a good argument whether two cars are really necessary when living together. However, both of you might not wish to give up the independence that comes from ownership, but the cost savings from sharing the expenses is difficult to argue with.
Maybe your places of employment are not too far apart that dropping one of you off at work and the other partner driving to their workplace isn’t much of a problem? Plenty of couples do it when they cannot afford to own more than one vehicle. However, when you already own two cars, dropping down to one is a great cost-saving move. It would pay for an annual holiday or help you to save for a shared goal. Alternately, buying a nicer vehicle compared to two “just okay” cars is possible too.
Scrapping a Vehicle at the End of Its Life
Most car owners don’t realise that even after running their car into the ground to extract the most value out of it, it is still worth something. All the metal and other components that a vehicle is made out of have a value in the car scrap markets. In fact, there’s a UK-wide network of scrap dealers that offer the best price for scrap cars. So even when you think you’ve gotten every drop of value out of a vehicle, you can still make more from it.
There are many ways to get more value from your vehicle. Car ownership is so expensive in general, that it behoves us to seek the best return on our investment. Our transport needs change quite regularly too. If you find that you’ve stopped using your car for some reason, consider downgrading the insurance as an inactive vehicle or selling off the car to pocket the money before the vehicle depreciates. There are even sites to rent out your driveway as a parking space during the day! Look for opportunities to save money wherever possible. There are more than you think!