“Owning and operating a vehicle . . . accounts for the second-largest household expense” (Bureau of Labor Statistics). The rising cost of motoring is a sickening drain on motorists’ finances.
Have you tried countless times to reduce your car expenses and seem to be always spinning your wheels?
What a pain! Want to save money on your motoring? You definitely can!
Apply these 11 easy and proven strategies to save big on your motoring costs:
1) Drive less
Make it a habit to drive less. You can carpool – there are many carpooling websites to make this happen. Look for people to share a regular ride with you. You can also plan your car trips to ensure that you avoid unnecessary trips. If your destination is nearby, you can simply walk or use a bicycle. This means that you keep fit and also save money on fuel.
2) Use the lowest specified octane fuel
Talking about gas, find out the lowest octane fuel that your car can use. Look up your vehicle owner’s manual. It’s such a waste of money to use a pricier higher octane fuel than what’s required – you pay more every time at the pumps, and there are NO performance gains 🙁
Caution: Using a lower octane than stated in your owner’s manual to save money is a mistake – the wrong octane fuel can lead to engine damage and expensive repairs. fueleconomy.gov says that use of lower than required octane “can cause the engine to run poorly and can damage the engine and emissions control system over time. It may also void your warranty. . .engine power and fuel economy will still suffer”.
3) Don’t Waste $$$ on Fuel-saving Devices
You need to forget about fuel saving devices. Be skeptical of the extravagant claims made by the sellers. Many such devices have been tested by reputable magazines like Popular Mechanics, which found that the devices do NOT work as claimed.
So, save your money by not buying so-called fuel saving devices. Use the money saved to buy gas instead.
4) You need only this FREE Fuel-saving Device
But wait! One gas saving device that’s free and proven to work exists! Guess what it is. Everyone has it!
Yes, it’s your right foot! What I’m saying is for you to practice economy driving habits, such as NOT starting off like a jackrabbit and then braking furiously when the lights turn red. Driving fast and furious wastes a lot of gas! “Aggressive driving. . .can lower your gas mileage by 15% to 30% at highway speeds and 10% to 40% in stop-and-go traffic”(www.fueleconomy.gov). It’s not safe too. You can waste hundreds of dollars a year if you drive like a rally champion.
What’s eco driving? It means accelerating gently from a standstill, keeping to a constant speed as much as you can, and braking gently when needed. It also means being aware of road conditions – ease up on the gas pedal when you see slower traffic in front, or when you see red traffic lights in front. According to Toyota, “fuel consumption during “Start/acceleration” makes up about 40% of the whole fuel consumption when driving in the city”. “Maintain momentum – keeping the car moving is key in maximizing fuel economy. Obviously this depends on traffic conditions” (Andrew Frankel and Rebecca Jackson, record-breaking motor journalists). By braking more gently, you minimize brake wear and prolong the life of your brakes. You also cut down on air pollution. Your engine and suspension system last longer too. Eco driving means you can save hundreds of dollars a year on gas. Check out this helpful diagram I found, and save big by eco driving:
5) Maintain Your Tires Well
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Make sure you use a tire gauge to check your tire pressure at least once every 2 weeks. The sticker that states the tire pressure level is on the pillar next to the driver’s seat. Making sure that your tires are at the correct pressure helps you to save gas – by up to 3 percent more (www.fueleconomy.gov). It also prolongs the life of your tires. This means that you’re less likely to need to replace your tires soon, saving you from paying upwards of $60 for each quality tire.
About once a week, check your tire treads for stones, glass or even nails! Removing these minimizes the risk of tire damage and punctures, and helps to keep you safe on the road.
6) Reduce Wind Resistance & Unneeded Weight When Driving
Talking about economy driving, on the motorway close all your windows to reduce air resistance. You can open your air vents to allow outside air in. Switch on the air-con if it’s hot and stuffy – this helps to keep you fresh and alert when driving – important for road safety.
Leaving your vehicle windows open when traveling at a high speed wastes fuel because there is more air resistance.
If you have a roof rack that’s hardly ever used, remove it. The reason is that roof racks create more air resistance, especially at higher speeds. Empty roof racks can add 10 percent to your gas consumption (Frankal & Jackson).
Make sure your trunk is NOT a storage space for all sorts of stuff. Remove your golf clubs or other clutter from your vehicle. Minimizing unnecessary weight saves you gas.
7) Do Preventive Checks under the Hood
Now, let’s talk about preventive checks and maintenance of your vehicle. It’s really quite easy for you to do regular checks on your vehicle. It doesn’t take much time too – about 10 minutes.
You’ll spot any potential problems early, and therefore avoid damage and high repair costs. For example, if your antifreeze level keeps dropping, there is a leak that needs to be fixed. If you’re not aware of the problem, your motor will overheat and may blow its head gasket – a costly repair results. The regular fluid checks can be carried out just once a week. Make sure that you check the level of your motor oil, power steering fluid, auto transmission fluid, brake fluid, and antifreeze.
If you’re unsure of how to check the levels of these important fluids, watch this helpful YouTube video on basic car checks. You’ll get tips that help you save big. You’ll notice any problems early, and therefore avoid costly major repairs.
8) Change Your Motor Oil
You MUST change your motor oil regularly! It is really false economy to stint on oil changes. Motor oil does many crucial things, such as:
-lubricating moving parts
-removing excessive heat
-helping to minimize wear and corrosion of engine parts
-removing damaging dirt from the engine
– sealing the engine pistons, rings and cylinder walls
-reducing engine noise
The motor is the most expensive part of your vehicle – therefore it’s wise to change motor oil regularly to help ensure years of trouble-free and low-cost motoring. Engine repairs can easily run into thousands of your hard-earned dollars 🙁 Use a reputable brand of motor oil such as Mobil to protect your motor.
If you’re wanting to save even more money, you can learn skills from car maintenance manuals and/or quality YouTube videos. Once you’re confident of your abilities, you can do things like oil and filter changes yourself (Of course, ensure that your health and safety come first). My spouse does many car maintenance and repair jobs well, saving us good money in the short and long term 🙂
9) Use the Lightest Grade of Motor Oil Recommended
Look up your owner’s manual to know the thinnest motor oil that you can use. Thinner motor oils like 5W 30 or even 0W 20 maximize fuel economy. They also reduce internal friction on your engine parts and prolong your engine’s life. Also, “look for motor oil that says “Energy Conserving” on the API performance symbol to be sure it contains friction-reducing additives” (www.fueleconomy.gov).
10) Do NOT Change Your Motor Oil Too Frequently!
Now, you must make sure that you DON’T change you motor oil too frequently! Doing so wastes your money and is a waste of natural resources. Some garages might claim that you need to change your oil every 3 months. They might even show you that the oil on your dipstick is brown, and is therefore dirty and needs to be changed. Know that new motor oil turns brown quite soon, and this color is normal. An oil change every 3 months is really not needed anymore. Modern high-quality motor oils last much longer and protect your engines much better. Under normal driving conditions, quality oils can last 6 months and often up to a year before they need changing. So, just choose a reputable brand motor oil of the correct grade, and stick to the oil change levels as specified in your owner’s manual.
11) Clean Your Vehicle Yourself
Lastly, you can easily do some simple vehicle care such as vacuuming the seats and carpets. You can wash it yourself and keep fit at the same time. Your savings from not going to the car-wash will add up to hundreds of dollars over time 🙂 I myself save $140 a year by doing my own car wash. Of course, when you’re really busy or tired, treat yourself to the occasional automatic car wash, as it does save you time and energy 🙂
By using the simple tips above, you’ll save hundreds a year on running your vehicle, minimize your impact on the environment, and enjoy happier motoring 🙂
Thank you for reading this article.
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