Cars can cost us more than $30 a day to run, so it’s a good idea to seek savings when you can – especially if you’ve been driving less during the pandemic.
Cars can cost us more than $30 a day to run, so it’s a good idea to seek savings when you can – especially if you’ve been driving less during the pandemic.

Here's how to drive down your car costs during COVID-19

COVID-19 has changed some car-related costs and is delivering fresh opportunities for motorists to save money - some permanently.

Fewer drivers on the road means fewer dollars spent on petrol, parking and other running costs, and experts say there are other less-obvious ways to cut spending.

Car Next Door CEO Will Davies said it was a good idea to contact your car insurer to check if there were any coronavirus discounts or assistance packages.

"At least one major insurer, Youi, is offering a 15 per cent discount on car insurance over three months," he said.

Mr Davies said people who were driving less could also consider usage-based insurers such as UbiCar for pay-per-kilometre policies.

Car Next Door user Carrington Briggs. Picture: Josh Raymond
Car Next Door user Carrington Briggs. Picture: Josh Raymond

Petrol price cycles have continued in several capital cities, with rapid changes of up to 50c a litre.

Drivers should check government or private comparison websites and apps to see if there's cheaper fuel near them.

Mr Davies suggested shopping around online for tyres, spare parts and other car-related accessories.

"You can save a lot compared with buying them from a traditional retail shop," he said.

"Once you do the sums on car ownership and realise that it is costing you upwards of $30 a day for your car just to sit and do nothing, it's hard to go back to the 'one person, one car' mentality."

Mr Davies said car sharing platforms such as Car Next Door earned users $250-$350 a month for a basic car or about $750 a month for a van.

"Top earners are making around $1800 a month," he said.

Carrington Briggs, 37, has used the platform for five years with his 2012 Mazda Neo and expected it to earn him more than $800 in May alone.

"I gave the car little extra benefits like a car cradle, a doggie seatbelt, bowl and spare bottle of water, with towels in the back and wipes in the front," he said.

"It's the littlest of things that make your car more attractive to borrowers."

People's Choice Credit Union spokesman Stuart Symons said ultra-low interest rates could be a chance for motorists to "take the unconventional road" on car loans and consider doing it through their mortgage.

"With home loan interest rates at a record low, accessing any available redraw or consolidating your debt into one loan makes sense," he said.

"A car costs anywhere between $400 and $1000 per month to run, which is a sizeable bite out of your budget, so it's worth looking at where you can save.

"If you drive to work and have a permanent car park but are currently working from home, even if part-time, consider cancelling it.

"When it comes time to return to work, look around for a better deal even if it means an extra 5-10-minute walk."

Originally published as How to drive down your car costs



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