It’s that time of the year where I have to renew my car registration, I felt its also a good time to write about some of the tips that could potentially save us some money in maintaining the car.
With depleting fuel levels, where ever we are going it’s either interstate or local shopping — the cost of driving per km can only go up.
Following are some of the tips that are practical and proven to reduce the cost of maintaining the car and save you some money
~Greens in a row
Most traffic lights are phased for efficient traffic flow. All Green lights get switched on synchronously and so are Reds. You probably go through more greens in a row if you maintain the recommended phase or syncing your phase with green lights.
~Air Conditioning vs Open window driving
Both air conditioning and open windows consume more gasoline than normal driving condition. There has always been a confusion which is better, rule of thumb is to leave the air conditioning on and windows closed if you are driving more than 40 km/hr speed. Open windows create the drag, thereby demanding more fuel on higher speeds.
~Minimize those excessive idling times
Waiting to pick up a friend or waiting in line for gasoline. If you have to leave the engine running idle for more than a minute, it consumes less fuel to start and stop the car.
~Know when to use Cruise Control
Avoid using cruise control while driving in a hilly area, as it tries to maintain set speed by braking and accelerating, causing more fuel wastage. Also, it’s not ideal to maintain cruise control in unpredictable traffic conditions. Other than the above-mentioned circumstances, using cruise control saves you some gas and effort.
~Clean and Wax your car
It is proven that a cleaned and waxed car is more aerodynamic than an unclean car.
~Maintain Sensible Driving
Take a longer view of the road, predict your circumstances and be alert. Aggressive acceleration and hard stopping increases wear and tear of your car’s engine and mechanical parts. A much smoother driving not only reduces the requirement for fuel and maintenance cost but also reduces the penalties and demerit points.
~Keep the generator clean and tidy
Cars starting problem are frequently linked to a corroded battery. Clean the battery terminals with a paste of baking soda and water. Remove the negative terminal first when cleaning. Frequently cleaning the terminals also increases the life span of the batteries by efficient charging.
If driving a manual, maintain the highest gear possible. Optimum RPM to change your gear is between 2000 to 2500.
Don’t push the brakes past 5% of wear indicator (A wear indicator is a small piece of metal attached to the brake pad that contacts the brake rotor when the pad material has been worn down to a certain level. When the wear indicator grinds against the rotor, it makes a squealing noise as you apply the brakes. This noise is a signal which tells you it’s time to have your brakes examined.), replacing brakes on time saves you from expensive brake rotor replacement.
~Carry what you need
Don’t carry more than you need. Avoid those roof and trunk racks they not only decrease aerodynamics but also create extra drag thereby reducing the fuel efficiency
~Maintain those tires
Every time you fill the tank make sure your tire pressure is maintained at the recommended rate and ask your mechanic to check and rotate your tires as needed.
~Buy your own parts
Planning to change those parts of your car?. Most dealers cost you 30% to 70% more than regular retailers. Try to find parts on reputable eBay sellers or other retailers and ask your mechanic to fit those, this way you will only be charged with labour cost.
~Plan your trips
Frequent starting and stopping of car cost you more. Consolidate all your frequent pendulums into one trip.
~Get some exercise done
Avoid going into those automated car washes. Take a bucket and sponge to give your car a nice wipe. It costs much less to clean it at home than driving through a car wash.
~Check traffic conditions
Check the traffic before you start. This is a habit that’s sure to save you money and some time from watching those auto boots. Before you embark on a journey go to Google maps and check the traffic conditions and plan least congested route.
Stop going around for a better parking spot. All spots are as good as, till the vandalism hits. Next time try to park in the first available parking spot, getting rid off this habit of prime spot search will save you some fuel.
~Don’t drive solo
Take advantage of carpooling, this will cut your fuel costs by third and also reduces frequent car service costs. Some cities allow cars to use bus lanes, when cars have a high occupancy rate, thereby beating congestion and increasing fuel efficiency.
~Think of other alternatives to commute.
Consider the option of taking public transport to work. Walking to and from public transport adds valuable minutes to your daily exercise.
Try it out for a few days and see if it works out for you
~Purchase a fuel-efficient car
Look at downgrading to small or medium-size cars or purchasing those fuel-efficient cars. Fuel-efficient cars are not only good for the earth but also for your wallet. Even if it costs you a bit more in purchasing efficient cars the price will eventually be paid off in terms of mileage and maintenance.
~Unconfirmed but a worthy habit
It is said that you get more gas to buck by filling the tank on relatively colder days or at nights. Cooler temperature makes petrol denser hence getting more out of the pump.
Using the grade of motor oil recommended by the car manufacturer improves engine life and improves mileage by 1-2 per cent.
~Before buying new wiper blades
Before you go down to the shop and buy new wiper blades, try cleaning them with alcohol spirit or sanding them with very fine sandpaper. Most of the time its the bug and dirt that makes it look like blade has worn out.
~Ditch this Myth
You need to warm up your car for 5 minutes before the drive. This used to be true in older cars, but now all the computerized cars are designed to warm up quickly on run, so you might as well be saving fuel by not idling it for 5 minutes. A warm car consumes less fuel otherwise.
Readers, what other tips are you following to reduce the cost? Please share them with us below.