Buying, running and maintaining a car – it's not cheap. However, there are some tried and tested ways of minimising your spending.

Use fuel efficiently

There isn't much you can do about the cost of fuel. But the way you drive affects the amount of fuel your vehicle uses.

The less fuel you use the more money you save. It's also good for the planet - transport accounts for around 44% of New Zealand's energy use (with cars and other passenger vehicles accounting for over half of that). Transport also represents over 40 percent of New Zealand's greenhouse gases from the energy sector.

Choosing a more fuel-efficient vehicle

Choosing a more fuel-efficient vehicle will help you save money and reduce your CO2 emissions. Use the Rightcar website to see which vehicles rate better.

Wise maintenance and servicing

It's false economy to cut spending on servicing and maintenance. Savings in the short term, leaving repairs unchecked, can just pave the way to a far costlier problem further down the road.

At the very least your car's annual WOF will likely require necessary repairs in order to pass, and point to items that need attention.

Besides that, there are things you can do yourself, such as checking the car's engine oil and coolant levels. Just a few basic car checks will minimise costly garage visits.

Consider breakdown cover

Even if do you keep on top of the maintenance, the unexpected can happen – when you least need it. So thinking ahead and signing up to a breakdown service could avoid the greater expense of forking out for a local garage to collect you. State Insurance offer ‘Roadside Rescue’ for just $30 per year with any personal State car insurance policy.


Some things in life are inevitable, like breaking down, and your car becoming less valuable with age. This is often referred to as depreciation.

But this can be an incentive to take good care of your vehicle. This will minimise its rate of depreciation, and extend the length of service it gives you. Which, ultimately, is the best value for money.

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