So you’ve got a car but you haven’t got loads of cash to spend on gadgets for it, or things to make it look nicer or go faster. And getting a different car is out of the question too. So just what can you do?
Well, there are always cheap ways and expensive ways of doing things, improving your car cheaply doesn’t mean you have to cut corners on reliability or function if you know how to do it right!
Take a look at these 5 ways that you can make your ride better on the cheap!
1. Become your car’s mechanic
Labour rates at your local dealer or independent garage are often between £60 to £100 an hour – and we’re not talking about rates for working on expensive, high end luxury cars either!
Maintaining your car yourself isn’t beyond the scope of most people’s abilities. All you need to do is invest in some basic tools such as screwdrivers and socket sets, and a trolley jack and axle stands to perform basic servicing tasks on your car such as oil and filter changes, brake pad and disc changes, and even removing light clusters for changing blown bulbs. A Haynes manual is also handy for knowing your way around your car mechanically, and can potentially save you a small fortune.
For example, you might pay a minimum of £100 to have your car serviced by your friendly dealership or garage mechanics, but if you had the tools to do the job yourself, the parts would only cost you about £25 to £50 depending on what brands you went for and what materials were needed – and you could then use the £50 to £75 you’ve just saved by treating your car to a full tank of fuel!
Places such as eBay and Euro Car Parts are great sources for buying cheap, branded items, and you can get them delivered to you at home so you don’t even need to venture out anywhere to get them.
2. Don’t be mean, keep it clean
It doesn’t matter whether you have a really boring runabout or a petrol guzzling performance sports car, keeping it clean on a regular basis ensures that you don’t have to pay out for expensive body shop bills to fix rust or faded bodywork issues.
Cleaning your car regularly ensures that you don’t have to spend so much time cleaning as you would if you only cleaned your car say once every couple of months or so.
Not only will your car look great, but if you ever needed to sell it, then its showroom shine will definitely wow interested buyers!
3. Go handsfree
The law in the UK prohibits drivers from using their mobile phones whilst they are driving, and for good reason too – you don’t concentrate on your driving when you are texting, trying to dial a number or picking up a ringing mobile phone that’s somewhere in the cabin.
Handsfree kits come in a variety of different options. The most popular are Bluetooth handsfree systems that interact with your car stereo, and let you hear your caller through your car’s speakers rather than the speaker on your mobile or smartphone.
You can also some cheap but extremely useful cradles to mount your mobile on; these are usually attached to your windscreen via a suction cup, and can be located so that your mobile is nearby but without being too close to your line of vision to the point where it affects your driving.
4. Use technology to stay safe and road legal
The cost of car insurance, petrol, road tax and maintenance is forever rising, but if you have penalty point endorsements on your driving licence ranging from driving slightly over the speed limit to drink driving, then these can have a profound effect on your car insurance costs – and some insurers might even refuse to insure you altogether.
There are many ways to avoid getting your driving licence tarnished with the naughty brush. Sat Nav devices not only tell you how to get to your destination but they can give you useful information such as the speed limit of the road you are driving on, and most even tell you the location of fixed point speed cameras.
If you enjoy having regular drink down the pub, then really we would advise not to drive there at all, but if you must, then there are inexpensive breathalysers that you can purchase to tell you whether you are safe enough (from a legal standpoint) to drive home or not.
5. Convert your car from a barge into a go-kart
If the idea of having a unique yet mass produced car appeals to you, but you don’t have thousands of Pounds to spend on modifications, then one of the cheapest modifications you could do is to lower your car.
Even run of the mill family cars look great lowered, but also provide massive safety improvements – because your car has a lower centre of gravity, it will have more grip on the road especially when going round corners at speed. A simple 30mm lowering spring kit can cost as little as £60, and a full shock and spring lowering kit from as little as £200.