Tips for Taking Care of Your Car and Saving Money at the Pump
For a lot of people, September is the financial calm before the storm.
That is, summer is over, and you’re done with back-to-school shopping, expensive vacations, paying for summer camp and maybe some home improvements. If you spent a little extra money this summer, now is a good time to start saving up before the holiday season arrives in a few months.
If you are trying to cut back right now, one easy way to do it is to save on your gas.
Here are a few tips on how to save on your fuel bill…
Turn off the air-conditioning and roll down the windows. Studies have shown that you can save anywhere from 3 to 10 percent on your gas bill if you turn off the air conditioner. Yes, if you roll down the windows, there’s that resistance from the wind that makes the car work harder, but your air conditioner is powered by your engine, and so either way, the engine’s going to be working to keep you cool. But research has shown you’ll save more money and use less energy if you roll down the windows.
With the hottest days of summer behind us, it is good to know you have the option of not having the A/C on full blast every time you are in the car. If in doubt, roll down your windows.
Don’t accelerate the car all at once. Or brake too hard, if you can help it. Aggressive driving isn’t just a matter of safety, but it can also have an impact on the amount of gas you use. In fact, tests have shown that people who have a “calm” driving style can save make their gas last up to 38 percent longer. It also gives less wear and tear on your car and the amount of time and expense to eventually bring it in for service.
Keep your tire pressure at the manufacturer’s recommended specifications. We’ve talked a lot about this previously, so we’ll keep this short. But the flatter your tire, the more the surface of the tire is on the road. The more tire that’s on the road, the more drag and resistance the car has – and that can take a toll on gas. And it’s just not good for your tires to be underinflated.
Keep your car well maintained and oiled. We have also stressed the importance of regular oil changes, so this is nothing new. You can bring your car to Milex Complete Auto Care or Mr. Transmission for an oil change, and we can also check your tire pressure, change filters and provide any kind of general automotive repair. The harder your car engine has to work, and it will have to work hard if there’s thick, sludgy never-changed oil in it, the more gas it needs to use.
Comparison shop for your fuel. Sounds easy, but it can be hard to do. Many people fall into a comfortable routine of always buying their gas at the same place. But if you download a smartphone app, like GasBuddy.com or others like Fuel Finder and Gas Guru, you can see where the cheapest gas is located. Maybe it isn’t where you usually fill up.
Comparison shopping for gas can be especially smart to do when you’re traveling to an unfamiliar area, and you don’t already know who most often has the least or more expensive gas.
Use discounted gas. Maybe your local supermarket or wholesale club offers cheaper gas if you’re a member. Some credit cards offer cash back anytime you use your credit card to fuel up. That can help, too.
Many of the suggestions above for saving money on gas go hand in hand with proper car maintenance and taking care of your car. You may be surprised at how many of these small tips can add up over the long run.