Seven tips to lower car expenses after you buy in the UAE

From sensible driving to turning your engine off at the traffic lights, there are a number of ways to cut the cost of running a motor

While buying a car is an expensive purchase, keeping a vehicle on the road can also come with significant costs unless you manage them carefully. Silvia Razgova / The National
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After buying a car, operating and maintaining it can quickly add up creating a huge drain on your finances. There are several measures, however, that can keep those expenses in check.

While you can make several savings by reducing your fuel consumption, you can also benefit by being savvy when it comes to repairs and maintenance - costs that rise with your car's age.

While some car expenses can set you back more than others, it is better to be proactive about reducing the cost of your vehicle's upkeep. Remember, lowering your operating outgoings not only reduces your bills but can also keeps your motor running more smoothly.

Here are seven tips to keep the expenses under control:

1. Drive sensibly

High acceleration, rapid racing and jerky breaking are the quickest ways to burn through your petrol tank. Such aggressive speeding can reduce petrol mileage by roughly 15 to 30 per cent. Not to mention sensible driving helps avoid hefty fines by the UAE's speed traps and is safer for you and other drivers.

2. Track your speed

While each vehicle has its own optimal petrol mileage, fuel consumption typically increases after speeds of 80 kilometres per hour. Every 15km per hour increase after this results in as much as 20 per cent more fuel consumption. With the rising cost of fuel in Dubai, it is wise to think twice before driving above 80km per hour. Cruise control can help you maintain a constant speed.

3. Avoid idling

If you are parked, turn the engine off. Every 15 minutes of idling can consume 1 litre of gas depending on your car's engine size and air conditioning use. Next time you buy a new or secondhand car, keep your eyes open for the auto start-stop feature. In the meantime, turn your engine off when parked or at a standstill in traffic. Limit your engine start-ups to about 10 times in a one to two hour time span on average if you feel you need to keep the engine running for the AC to last through the heat.


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4. Service your car  

Check your car's manual for its service schedule and make sure you stick to it. Regularly replacing oil and filters is critical to ensure all the engine and transmission parts stay lubricated and to avoid overheating. Also, don't forget that dust, dirt and debris can cause corrosion and further decrease the life of your engine and other components. Accordingly, it's always best to stay on top of your services and avoid more costly repairs down the road.

5. Know your car

Try to handle easy repairs on your own such as replacing wiper blades, fuses and lights by yourself. There are, however, other repairs that should always be handled by a professional including the regular service schedules for oil, filter and brake pad changes

6. Rotate your tyres

Due to constant turning, a car's front tyres wear more quickly than rear tyres. Rotating them (which is exchanging the front tyres with the rear ones and vice versa) helps them wear more evenly and last longer. Get them rotated at your local garage or petrol station.

7. Use a recommended grade of motor oil

Using an “energy conserving” motor oil not only offers friction reducing capacities but it also improves gas mileage by 1-2 per cent and improves car maintenance. This extends the life time of your engine as less energy is consumed in the movement of its parts.

Raaed Sheibani is a growth hacker at