For many of us, our cars are an essential part of everyday living – helping us get to and from work, pick up the children from school, do the weekly shop.

But with the state of the economy as it is, we are all on the lookout for ways to cut the costs associated with our vehicles. Here we’ve compiled a few handy tips for those buying or running a nearly-new or used vehicle.

Buying a used car can save you thousands. With new cars losing up to 50% of their initial value within months, buying second-hand makes sense.

Maintaining a used car does not mean endless repair costs if you buy a reliable model from a reputable seller. Always check seller credentials before you buy, and look for popular models whose parts are cheap and easy to replace. You’ll find a lot of early models that are more fuel-efficient than their newer, flashier counterparts.

Prior to purchase, your carandrsquo;s MOT record should be made available to you, and nowadays you can even check vehicle MOTs online. It will pay you in the long run to check these important details.

Have your car checked and serviced regularly andndash; putting things off can often lead to bigger, and more costly, vehicle problems in the future.

First check your warranty to see what repairs are covered. If your warranty has expired and you need repair work done, always obtain quotes from a few different garages to find the best deal.

Finding a good, honest garage can be half the battle when it comes to saving money on car maintenance. Word of mouth can be the best way to find out about the best garages in your area, so speak to as many family members, friends and co-workers as you can and see who they recommend.

Car insurance prices can vary dramatically, especially when it comes to used cars. Thatandrsquo;s why itandrsquo;s always best to shop around before you buy a policy. First of all, decide exactly what you want covered and then have a look online.

Comparing car insurance premiums through comparison sites is the quickest and easiest way to search through large numbers of quotes. But bear in mind that not all of the major insurance providers are on there, so you may have to look at some quotes separately.

Many firms will offer a considerable discount for buying online. Co-operative Insurance is one such company andndash; visit their website for car insurance quotes.

A simple way to make sure youandrsquo;re getting the best fuel deal is to look online for petrol price comparison sites. Here you can sign up to a site that registers thousands of pumps and their prices nationwide.

Type in your postcode and it will show you where the cheapest petrol is in your area.

Another tip is to refuel when temperatures are cooler. Petrol becomes denser in cooler temperatures, and with pumps measuring in volume rather than density, you’ll get more fuel for your money if you fill-up at a cooler time of day.