IF you’re a fan of ramping up the heating in the car, you might want to think again – having it on through the winter could add hundreds to your car bills.
Millions of people are already having to think twice before turning the heating on at home as energy bills soar, but you might not realise you need to be careful in your car too.
Luckily, some simple changes could really help drive down your costs this winter.
Here we take a look at the ways winter weather is adding to your car bills – and how to avoid them.
Make sure you have breakdown cover
It’s easy to forget to renew your breakdown cover when there are a million other things on the to-do list.
But double-check you are still covered or need to renew as the cold winter weather can cause more car breakdowns.
Freezing temperatures can make it more difficult for the engine to start and put more of a strain on parts of the motor.
Breakdown cover isn’t a legal requirement, but if you run into trouble miles from home, it could save you a small fortune.
How much does breakdown cover cost?
Depending on the policy and what you want it to include, prices start from £13 per month for coverage.
This is from Nationwide Building Society and is part of its FlexPlus account (you will need to have an account before you can get the coverage).
You’ll also need to look at if the help available is for on the roadside or just at home as well as the problems that can be fixed as part of the coverage.
If you have don’t have any cover but your car breaks down then it could cost up to £100 or more for an emergency call-out.
Plus, depending on the car issue, you’ll have to pay for any parts and repairs.
Not forgetting the breakdown cover you will also have to purchase.
Check your battery
The car battery is probably one of the biggest causes of breakdowns in winter.
On average, car batteries tend to last around five years but only if you look after them well.
Batteries are put under more strain thanks to the use of wipers, car lights and, of course, more heating during colder months.
Temperatures also impact the battery’s input without the pressure of wipers, lights and heating.
If it’s showing signs of slowing down it is worth getting it checked out by your local garage.
How much does it cost to replace a car battery?
A new car battery can cost from £60 to £185 to purchase let alone labour costs.
Having a car battery replaced and fitted by a mechanic can range from £115 to £320, this is according to personal finance group NimbleFins.
Look at your tyre tread
We already know winter tyres are better suited to the colder weather conditions and stop your motor from sliding about.
In the UK, the legal requirement for tyre depth is 1.6mm of tread but in the winter it is 3mm giving you a better overall grip.
Don’t forget to check the tyre condition to make sure there are no cuts or damage to them and they are not worn out.
How much does it cost to replace tyres?
According to Checkatrade, replacing four winter tyres can on average range from £600 to £700.
This all depends on the quality of the tyres and the professional fitting of the tyre thoughs.
You’re likely already burning through more petrol during winter, seeing as the cold weather makes walking a less attractive options.
But it turns out we get through a lot of petrol when we are sitting idle in our motors too.
During the winter months, we tend to warm up the engine and defrost the windscreen, which can take 10 or 15 minutes on a chilly morning.
So you might not be going anywhere, but you could still be burning fuel.
How much is petrol costing?
According to YourMoney, we burn through a tenth of petrol for every 10 minutes we are sat idle in our cars.
Seeing as petrol prices are getting higher in the UK, the average price of a litre of petrol is £1.45 and £1.49 for a litre of diesel.
According to research by Direct Line, you can expect to save £50 per month in fuel costs or a whopping £700 per year just by changing this small driving habit.
We have contacted ComparetheMarket and AA for comment.
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