Have you tried countless times to slash your car expenses but seem to be always spinning your wheels? What a pain!
“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.
We’ve done hours of research on how to save well on car expenses, cars being Mr MMT’s passion.
Our family has been using all 12 of these money saving tips to save save hundreds of $$$ on fuel and other car expenses over the years.
So, use one or all of them with confidence. If we can do it, you definitely CAN too!
1) Drive Less and Save More Money
Make it a habit to drive less, which equals saving fuel and slashing car expenses.
You can carpool – there are many carpooling websites to make this happen. Look for people to share a regular ride with you.
You can also plan your car trips to ensure that you avoid unnecessary trips.
Taking the shortest route won’t save fuel, if the route is crowded or has more traffic junctions that slow you down and make you stop often. On the other hand, taking a longer route that is less congested and allows smooth driving at higher legal speeds usually saves you gas and travelling time 🙂
If your destination is nearby, you can simply walk or use a bicycle. This means that you keep fit and also save money on fuel and other car expenses.
2) Use the Lowest Specified Octane Fuel to Save
Talking about fuel, find out the lowest octane fuel that your car can use. Look up your vehicle owner’s manual.
It’s such a waste of money to use a pricier higher octane fuel than what’s required – you pay more every time at the pumps, and there are NO performance gains 🙁
Caution: Using a lower octane than stated in your owner’s manual to save money is a mistake – the wrong octane fuel can lead to engine damage and expensive repairs.
fueleconomy.gov says that use of lower than required octane “can cause the engine to run poorly and can damage the engine and emissions control system over time. It may also void your warranty. . .engine power and fuel economy will still suffer”.
3) Don’t Waste $$$ 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! There’s actually one gas saving device that’s FREE and proven to work!
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.
Would you like more cash in your pocket? Yes? Then begin to change your driving style.
Do eco driving. What’s eco driving?
It doesn’t mean you need to buy an electric or hybrid car to do eco driving.
It simply means you accelerate gently from a standstill, keeping to a constant speed as much as you can, and brake gently when needed.
Be 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 fuel. Check out this helpful diagram I found, and save big by eco driving:
Source: Tips on Eco Driving
Watch Scotty Kilmer’s video How to Increase Gas Mileage in Your Car
(This post contains affiliate links. I may receive a small compensation if you purchase through these links. You do not pay extra. Please read my disclosure policy. I only recommend products that I trust and have received positive reviews).
5) Maintain Your Tires Well for Safety and Savings
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 door pillar next to the driver’s seat.
Keep your tires at the correct pressure to save fuel – 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 books, unneeded tools or other clutter from your vehicle.
Minimizing unnecessary weight saves you money on fuel. But you can still take your pooches in your car, as they enjoy rides so much! 🙂
7) Do Preventive Checks under the Hood and Avoid Very Costly Repairs
Now, let’s talk about preventive checks and maintenance of your vehicle. These can save you a lot of money on preventable car expenses.
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 very costly repair results.
Regularly check the level of your auto transmission oil. If this important check is not done regularly, your auto transmission can get damaged and malfunction due to its low fluid level. The bill to fix this? Often a few thousand dollars! This would make a low price vehicle uneconomic to fix!
So, as you can see, doing regular inspections under the hood cannot be overemphasized. 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: How To Check and Fill Your Car Fluids. You’ll get practical tips that help you save big.
Constant checks mean that you’ll notice any car problems early and fix them, preventing costly major repairs that result from not noticing avoidable problems.
Remember, having these simple skills and habits can save you huge sums of money on car repair expenses!
8) Change Your Motor Oil Regularly
You MUST change your motor oil regularly! It is really false economy to stint on oil changes. Did you know that 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, while motor oil is quite cheap. 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 🙁
Make sure that you use a reputable brand of motor oil such as Mobil, Valvoline or Pennzoil to protect your motor. Mineral oil of the correct grade and type for your vehicle is good enough to protect your engine.
If you want to give your engine better protection, use a synthetic blend or full synthetic oil. These tend to cost more, but some of you may be willing to pay more for higher quality motor oil.
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 to Save Money on Gas
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) Caution: 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.
Find out how you’ve probably been wasting your money on oil changes.
11) Check Your Air Filter
When was the last time you checked the condition of your air filter? Never done it? Do yourself a favor and check it ASAP.
If your air filter is clogged with dust, dirt and bugs (eek!) it is causing your car’s fuel economy to suffer – up to 10 % lower gas economy. A dirty air filter also robs your car of its performance.
How to know if your air filter needs changing?
Hold your air filter in front of your face and try and look through it against the light. If you can hardly see any light through it, buy a new one from an auto parts store or places like Walmart, and replace it yourself. You’ve just regained 10 % better fuel economy 🙂
Watch this helpful video on how to check and replace your air filter – the way to do these is similar for most models of cars. Replace dirty air filters and save money on fuel.
12) Clean Your Vehicle Yourself
Lastly, save good money by doing 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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What do you think about these fuel saving and car care tips?
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