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How to buy a second-hand car that'll slash your bills - and two models to see first

The ticket price is one thing – but what about keeping it on the road? We look at how to do it for less.

Image: DoneDeal

NOBODY LIKES BILLS, especially unexpected ones, and this is especially true when it comes to your car.

While they’re as certain as death and taxes, there are smarter ways to buy a car that should keep running costs to a minimum.

Finding the cheapest car to run isn’t necessarily about finding the cheapest car. There are numerous factors that you need to consider before you purchase. The first thing to do once you have your shortlist of potential purchases done is to look at what the likely insurance costs will be.

This cost can vary significantly from your current premium depending on the type of model you’re next considering. While it does vary on a multitude of factors, in general, smaller cars with small engines often prove the most affordable to insure. Obviously, this makes them popular with younger drivers, but if you’re a more experienced driver and don’t need room for lots of cargo or extra passengers, choosing a smaller sized car can reap financial rewards.

One of the most widely available and generally reliable cars in this class is the Toyota Yaris. It has been on sale for here for almost two decades through a variety of different model generations. Newer models also came in hybrid versions mated to an automatic transmission.

Source: DoneDeal

The lower emissions do result in lower annual motor tax bills, but even the regular petrol versions are affordable to run. Do make sure that you know what taxation class it is in, as those registered before the switch to CO2-based emissions will carry higher tax rates. It also enjoys a healthy reputation for reliability and repair costs can be lower than some other brands.

Knowing how much a car is likely to cost to service and repair is another factor. If you intend using an authorised main dealer for servicing, the costs may be higher than that of an independent garage. Service intervals can also vary from brand to brand and model to model, so it’s worth researching that too.

Aside from maintenance, the other big part of your monthly motoring budget is likely to go on fuel costs. This is an area where you do need to sit down and work out just how much your going to be using your car and for what types of journeys. If you cover mostly motorway journeys and do higher mileage, it may be better to consider a diesel engine between 1.6 and 2.0 litres. In a car like a Skoda Octavia, this type of engine can provide some economical fuel consumption figures in such a scenario.

The Octavia also features one of the biggest boots in its class and still offers generous levels of legroom for rear passengers.

Source: DoneDeal

The rise in popularity of SUVs and crossovers hasn’t been met with lower running costs. Due to their height and size, as well as weight, most of these models incur higher running costs, especially fuel, than similarly a sized saloon and estate car.

When doing your research, you should also remember that the claimed fuel consumption figures can almost always differ from what you are likely to get in the real world.

This figure will also be impacted further if you are frequently carrying heavier loads in the boot and/or multiple passengers. All-wheel drive models, in all cars, will also usually have slightly higher fuel consumption rates. In such instances, it can be better to go for a larger-engined vehicle, as the additional power means that it doesn’t have to work as hard (consume as much fuel) when driving.

How to buy a family car that’s also a great investment – plus 4 models to consider first>

Want an SUV that doesn’t just look the part? Here are 5 you need to see>

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About the author:

Dave Humphreys

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