The Motability Scheme has been helping people with a disability stay mobile and independent for over 40 years. The extra costs associated with getting around are a huge factor for many people with a physical limitation or mobility issue, and for those who want the use of their own vehicle, finding a suitable car can often be a difficult task.
If you’re disabled, the freedom that comes with having access to a car of your own can make a life-changing difference, and that’s where the Motability Scheme comes in.
The Motability Scheme is a UK Government-backed initiative that helps people with a disability, their families and carers lease a brand-new car with a worry-free, all-inclusive motoring package at a heavily discounted rate.
The Motability Scheme benefits from certain tax concessions from the government. This, combined with the buying power of Motability (around 10% of all new cars registered in the UK are through Motability) means that the lease prices offered to qualifying customers are, according to the National Audit Office, 44% cheaper on average than comparable lease deals sourced on the open market.
So, a new Motability car is clearly better value for money than a privately sourced brand new vehicle. And in addition, there’s also the worry-free Motability package - which comprises insurance for up to 3 drivers, all servicing and maintenance, replacement tyres and roadside assistance - included for the duration of the lease.
The all-inclusive Motability package makes motoring much more affordable for disabled people, but there are many other things that cost-conscious drivers can do to keep motoring costs as low as possible.
Many car dealerships enhance the advertised Motability Advance Payment prices to try and win extra business. Cashback, discounts, free extra equipment and free fuel deals are just some of the tactics many dealers use to try and incentivise customers to order their next Motability car from them.
At MotaClarity we list many of the best deals available from Motability-accredited dealerships up and down the country. If you find a special deal that's not available at your local dealership, you can visit the dealer with the offer to place your order and, when the new car arrives, go back there to take delivery of your new car.
When the time comes for its service, if the dealer you ordered the car from is too far away simply take it to a Motability-accredited garage closer to home.
It pays to take good care of your Motability car. At the end of the lease, if your vehicle hasn't suffered any serious damage Motability could pay you £600 (or £900 for Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles) after you’ve handed it back to the Motability dealer. A representative from the dealership will take photos of your car and carry out a full appraisal. If Motability decide that the car shows no signs of any serious damage it should qualify for the Motability Good Condition Bonus. You’ll get your cheque in the post within 28 days.
To keep your vehicle in top condition, think about some of the simple steps you could take to protect it. For example, door protectors are cheap, easy to fit and would protect the doors against accidental damage. Choosing a car that doesn't have low profile tyres would help to protect the wheels from scratches and scuffs, and it might be worth opting for a vehicle with folding mirrors, so you can keep them tucked in and away from danger when the vehicle is parked up.
Around 50,000 Motability customers have adaptations fitted to their car. Adaptations are designed to make a customer’s experience as either a driver or a passenger as straight-forward and comfortable as possible.
There are over 100 adaptations that can be fitted to a Motability car free of charge, but if you think you need an adaptation that there is a charge for you could try contacting the Motability Charity and finding out more about applying for a grant if the disabled person would otherwise be unable to afford it.
In some circumstances Motability customers can also apply for charitable grants to help with a Motability Advance Payment (if they would otherwise be unable to afford the vehicle) and with driving lessons.
The amazing worry-free Motability package means that things that other motorists have to pay for – like servicing, repairs, insurance, new tyres and breakdown cover – are all included with the lease.
Fuel is the only significant extra expense that Motability customers will have to pay, but there are many relatively simple things that prudent Motability drivers can do to cut down on their fuel costs.
The biggest difference a Motability customer can make to their fuel bill is to choose a more economical car in the first place.
Compare the Miles Per Gallon (MPG) figures of the vehicles you’re interested in to get a rough idea of how economical a car would be on the road.
Hybrid and Plug In Hybrid cars are the most fuel efficient cars currently available through the Motability Scheme, and a small number of pure electric vehicles have recently become available.
Saving 5p a litre every time you fill up could save the average driver between £150 and £230 over the course of a year. As petrol and diesel prices can often vary by as much as 30p a litre at forecourts across the UK, it’s worth checking to see where the best place to buy fuel is near you. You can check all the latest fuel prices at petrol stations close to you at petrolprices.com.
Also, look out for the fuel discount vouchers that can be used at many supermarket petrol pumps when you shop in store, and remember to always use a Loyalty Card when you shop for groceries or buy fuel to earn money off vouchers and other incentives.
Another good way to save money every time you fill up is by using a cashback credit card. These cards pay back a percentage every time you use them, which could add up to quite a significant saving if used regularly to pay for your fuel. Just make sure you pay off the balance in full every month to avoid paying any interest.
You’ve probably seen ‘high performance’ or ‘specialist’ fuels for sale at your local petrol forecourt. There’s very little difference (if any) in the performance if you drive a standard car, so we would advise you not to bother with the extra expense, unless you drive a specialist sports car and have been advised to do so (which is pretty unlikely if you drive a Motabilty car).
By simply making a few tweaks to the way you drive you could save as much as 33% on your fuel costs. By always accelerating gently, driving in the correct gear, sticking to the speed limit and slowing your vehicle down naturally instead of braking frequently could significantly reduce the fuel that your vehicles uses.
Sticking to the speed limit can make a big difference because the faster you drive, the more fuel your car will use. Driving at 70mph will use up to 9% more fuel than driving at 60mph does. Increasing your speed to 80mph will use up to 25% more fuel than sticking to 70mph would.
Other Cost Saving Tips Include:
In a test a few years ago, 50 AA team members took part in a 2-week eco-driving trial. They drove their cars normally for the first week, then followed the advice above during the second week. On average, the testers saved 10% on their weekly fuel bills, with the best saving an impressive 33%.
This one is a bit obvious really, as everyone who has ever been to a motorway service station knows that they always charge a huge premium for food, drinks, hotel rooms and especially fuel. Use a website like Just off Junction to see all the great money-saving alternatives that exist close to motorway service stations.
If you do need to visit a motorway service station check to see if there’s a money saving app you could use. For example, the Moto app has discounts every day, including 20% off at M&S on most Tuesdays.