Best car gadgets that can save you money
Aftermarket gadgets and gizmos can pay-off and save you money in the long run – we look at the best car tech products to buy
The idea of saving money by spending money always seems a little counterintuitive, but there are a few great car gadgets out there that offer just that possibility. That being said, they don’t all go about saving you money in the same way. Some reduce the cost of your insurance premium, while others can help reduce your fuel consumption. One thing remains though, they all help reduce the cost of motoring in the long run.
Below we have identified seven of the best bits of motoring technology that can save you money, so read on to find out more.
Car gadgets that can save you money
Tyre pressure monitoring system
Since 2014, all new cars sold are fitted with TPMS as standard. But if you own an older car, it’s likely you have to manually check your pressures.
If you don’t keep a close eye on your tyres, it’s likely that as well as leaking air, they’ll be letting money out of your bank account, too. Around 20 per cent of fuel is used to overcome rolling resistance and this increases if pressures are low, directly impacting economy.
If your tyres are under-inflated by just 15psi, you’ll be using around six per cent more fuel – that’s roughly £72 a year extra on petrol. Pick up an aftermarket TPMS for around £100 and you’ll feel the financial benefit after just 18 months.
Dash cams are among the fastest-growing aftermarket car accessories, with new generations launched every few months, offering more and more features.
While they’re great for covering you if you have an accident, the real financial benefit will be felt when taking out insurance. As footage provides evidence as to what actually occurs in a crash and can speed up claims, many insurers, such as Swiftcover, offer discounts of up around 12 per cent for those who have fitted a Nextbase dash cam.
With the average yearly premium currently standing at £768, you could net a saving of nearly £100 a year with a dash cam. Prices for models like the Nextbase 512GW start from around £150, so after 18 months you will be cashing in.
You can waste lots of money sitting in traffic, needlessly burning fuel without going anywhere. The way to beat jams and help ensure your journeys aren’t stop-start is to invest in a traffic-busting sat-nav. A decent TomTom or Garmin unit with live services will set you back around £300, and help you choose the most efficient route to prevent aimlessly driving around wasting more fuel.
Good systems will also feature speed camera alerts, and these could help prevent a minimum £100 speeding fine and penalty points which hike your insurance premiums. Add together all these benefits and you’ll be able to recoup that initial outlay pretty comfortably if you’re a high-mileage driver.
The age of the connected car means that thieves can target a vehicle electronically rather than smashing in through a window. Adding a steering lock can be a relatively inexpensive and easy way to add anti-theft protection, and will save you the money and inconvenience of having your car stolen.
But also consider a protector for your on-board diagnostics port. This entry-point, used for servicing by dealers, allows thieves to plug in and clone keys, or even control the vehicle. A basic system will cost around £100, but for a supplied and fitted Thatcham-approved OBD Portector, you’ll have to pay around £300. It seems a hefty outlay but it’s a lot cheaper than a stolen car, and can cut costs in the long run.
Eco driving course
While we’ve rounded up the gadgets here that’ll save you money, they all rely on you, the motorist, driving appropriately. A telematics app won’t help your bank balance if you drive recklessly, while the benefits of a sat-nav will only be felt if you drive smoothly.
So why not consider giving your motoring a makeover with an eco-driving course? Popular with fleet companies to help their staff eke out more miles on their motors, some courses claim to improve fuel economy by 15 per cent. Prices vary depending on the supplier, but will often include extra training and road safety.
Outlay on these apps is minimal, as most are entirely free, like Octo U Telematics or Direct Line’s new Shotgun app. Essentially, they turn your smartphone into a black box and track your driving style, including speed, smoothness, journey location and time of day.
You’ll be given a rating on your driving and this can then subsequently be used to score you a reduction on your annual insurance premium.
It’s not guaranteed to save you money, as not all insurers are interested, but it’s worth giving it a go as you don’t have to foot the bill for a pricey gadget up front. Plus, at best, it’ll knock up to 10 per cent off your annual premium.
The ultimate nightmare is having your car stolen, potentially leaving you thousands of pounds out of pocket – plus facing the prospect of having to get the bus to work.
One way to improve chances of recovery and reduce the financial impact is to have a tracking system fitted to your vehicle.
They don’t come cheap, as a basic system from Tracker starts at £249. But if you own a pricey vehicle that’s a target for thieves, the initial outlay on this piece of tech could pay off in the long run.
Now you’re going to be saving so much money, you might as well look at what to spend it on with our best new car deals page…