Best gadgets and apps that can reduce the cost of running your car

These useful items relieve the pressure (Picture: Metro.co.uk)

Owning a car is pretty expensive at the best of times, and the recent petrol crisis has pushed up costs even further.

But there are plenty of apps and gadgets that can help you save money on parking, petrol prices, and even fines and payouts if things go seriously awry.

From tyre pressure monitors to an anti-theft device, these nifty bits of tech could be a real lifeline for your car (and your wallet).

And for everyday savings, you can download apps to help you find cheap parking, petrol and power points.

Dash cam

Nexar Beam GPS

Nexar Beam GPS

Slapping a dash cam on to your windscreen is a brilliant way to protect your licence and save you some serious dosh should you fall victim to fraudsters or dangerous drivers.

Following an accident, footage can prove your most reliable, and often only, eyewitness.

Plus, with the ever-increasing cost of insurance, video evidence of a collision can do a great job of putting your mind, not to mention your purse/wallet, at ease.

This simple and subtle model records in Full HD, so details like road signs and registration plates are legible. On top of 32GB of storage, it sends footage to your smartphone or you can use the very generous offer of free and unlimited cloud uploads.

£99.95, getnexar.com

Battery jump-starter

GB40 1000A NOCO Jump Starter

GB40 1000A NOCO Jump Starter

Anyone who’s had their car flatline on them and had to track someone down with jump leads for a kick-start will testify to their life-saving abilities. But they are a little outdated. A far more useful piece of tech is the rechargeable jump-starter battery box.

With the cables that clamp on to the battery built in, it means you’re spared the eye-rolling process of hooking up cables [don’t you still need to hook it to the battery, though?], all you need to do is keep this thing fully charged and if your battery flakes, it’ll pump some electricity through its veins.

It even doubles up as a USB charger. This could be the difference between you getting where you need to go or waiting on the side of the road and forking out for breakdown recovery service just because you’ve run out of juice.

£99, halfords.com

Tyre pressure monitor system

Tymate TPMS Solar Model M7-3

Tymate TPMS Solar Model M7-3

It’s easy to overlook the four rubber rings that enable your car to move but unroadworthy tyres could lead to serious safety risks – or see you slapped with a hefty £2,500 fine and three penalty points for each one if incorrect pressure leads to tyre tread that fails to meet the legal requirements (or charges for dangerous driving).

The correct pressure can save you money at the pump too, with under-inflated tyres lowering your miles per gallon.

While TPMS systems became a legal requirement for all vehicles manufactured after November 2014, installing a TPMS system on older cars to keep a constant eye on sudden or gradual tyre pressure loss is crucial.

As the name implies, this one draws its power from that big burning orb in the sky but also plugs into the cigarette lighter as back-up.

Expect alerts for rapid air leakage, high pressure, low pressure, high temperature and sensor low battery, alongside real-time readouts of the pressures as you drive.

£74.12, amazon.co.uk

GPS Tracker

iTrack Mini Wireless GPS Tracker

iTrack Mini Wireless GPS Tracker

It’s no secret that thieves target pricey in-demand vehicles. Having your valuable investment stolen is hellish and eave you thousands of pounds out of pocket. One way to improve your chances of recovering your stolen goods, lessening the financial impact and potentially saving money on your insurance is to place a GPS tracking system somewhere inside.

This one sends instant, on-demand Google Maps-based location reports via text, as well as allowing 24/7 web-based live tracking in real time via the iTrack Live GPS tracking platform.

Once the 14-day trial subscription to iTrack Live ends, you’ll need to pay an annual subscription of £20. A small price to pay for a piece of tech that could pay off in the long run by saving you time and money.

£45, halfords.com

OBD protector

OBD protector

Keyless car crime is on the up. While immobilisers have proven an effective deterrent for yonks, unfortunately for us thieves are getting a lot more sophisticated when it comes to targeting vehicles electronically, as opposed to breaking your windows the old school way to gain access.

Using special decoder tools that plug into the on-board diagnostic port, it’s possible to trick some cars into thinking your key is in the lock, allowing would-be thieves to hack the brain of the vehicle and ultimately bypass its integrated security features to drive away.

OBD protection prevent this issue by popping an additional lock in front of the OBD port, preventing criminals from cloning your keys and gaining access, while giving you complete peace of mind that your car will be in the drive when you wake up.

Various prices depending on model of car

Parking app

AppyParking

AppyParking

There are few things more frustrating than hunting for a cheap parking space. This handy app shows on and off-street parking spaces in the UK, with nifty filters for electric charging points, disabled and motorcycle bays, as well as directing you to free on-street parking closest to your destination.

Alternatively, the app will find the cheapest spaces with real-time availability, flag red and green zones that tell you when it’s free to park and when restrictions apply.

Google Street View takes care of showing you the space before you get there and it even provides navigation to the car park or space and walking routes.

Free, Android/iOS

EV charging app

ev.energy

ev.energy

If you happen to have a compatible connected car or smart EV charge point at home, the brains behind this app would like to assist when it comes to saving you money and lowering your carbon footprint.

Simply set when you need your car charged and ready to go and the app communicates with your EV battery and charger to automatically boost its battery during your energy supplier’s off-peak periods – so when greener, cheaper energy is more readily available. In doing so, the firm claims they’ll save you around £100 a year.

iOS/Android

Petrol price comparison app

Petrol Prices

Petrol Prices

The cost of filling your petrol tank is the highest it’s been in almost a decade. So it makes sense to download a petrol comparison app to get the cheapest UK prices.

This discount petrol app points you in the direction of the cheapest petrol stations and claims it can save you as much as £495 a year on unleaded petrol purchases and £289 on premium diesel when topping up.

iOS/Android

This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission on purchases made through one of these links but this never influences our experts’ opinions. Products are tested and reviewed independently of commercial initiatives.


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