Spill the beans... on ways to cut the cost of learning to drive

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  • When I was 12, my dad and I joined the under 17's car club... so learnt to drive early at places like TRL (berkshire), finmere airfield (oxfordshire) and castle combe racing circuit (wiltshire).. my dad taught me. Over the years I had additional training, had tests to progress me on their path to a 'grade X driver' - not that I got quite that far, but on my last day I did the next highest grade, which meant that in the afternoon I was whizzing around castle combe all by myself (I was 16 then). I expect things have changed in the last 15-20 years, but I know the club still exists and is as popular as ever. I have no idea how much it costs now, but it was run as an annual membership - so the biggest cost was always fuel.

    Anyway, I had 10 hours of lessons after my 17th and passed within 6 weeks of my birthday. I took my theory the day after my birthday (you can book it before you're 17).
    Some people from the club booked their driving test for their birthday and passed (before theory tests) - so very MSE on driving lessons, sort of!
  • note_2
    note_2 Posts: 169 Forumite
    here's a few money saving tips i have:

    1) do the test in your own car if possible - the instructors car was the same as my parents so i saved 2 * 2 hours * £18 = £72, bear in mind you need L plates and a second mirror, but mine was faulty rubbish one from amazon so the examiner had to go and get her own!

    2) if possible, practice with parents in between - perhaps combine journeys like supermarket shops or picking up people so you are not just burning petrol for the sake of practicing! this helped me massively, if i was relying purely on lessons it would have cost a fortune - factor in about £80 for provisional insurance otherwise you're breaking the law!

    3) *time saving tip* book your test early, or even before you start, as i did. my test centre had a 2 month waiting list. when i wanted to book a test i scoured the sites to find last minute cancellations as people cancel all the time, bear in mind you cant cancel 3 days before the test though.

    4) only do the test if you are confident, otherwise its £60+ down the pan

    good luck if you are about to start! :D
  • dippydora1 wrote: »
    Legally, instructors are not allowed to charge people for lessons until after they've qualified

    Remember to check fro qualified instructors, http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Diol1/DoItOnline/Doitonlinemotoring/DG_196427 or http://www.drivinginstructors.co.uk
  • If, like me, you are worried about your son/daughter driving once they've passed their test there is a Pass Plus course available and many local councils will contribute half of the cost. It cost my son £70 instead of £140 for eight hours of driving on m-ways and through countryside and experiencing different driving conditions.

    As a new user I am not allowed to post the link but if you go to the Direct.gov.uk website in the motoring section and search for 'Pass Plus course fee assistance from local authorities', you should find it. I have just checked and is still available.

    It is aimed at making young drivers safer drivers and can also mean a discount on their insurance premium.
  • Sharon87
    Sharon87 Posts: 4,011 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post
    Oh yes I remember one thing. I booked lessons through a large national company, always find the geographical number and avoid paying by credit card as it costs extra compared to debit cards. I think it was about £5 when I booked a block of 10 lessons.

    I also learned don't book your test in Nov-Feb unless you're prepared to risk snow days! My first was cancelled due to snow, so I had to book a couple more lessons than planned the week before my rescheduled test (a month later). But at least I got to practise driving in the snow 2 days before my test was due. My instructor taught me how to correct a skid in a safe off road area. And taught my how to safely drive through the snow.
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