How to Drive Smart and Save Money
With no end in sight to high gas prices, consumers should take control of how they maintain and drive their vehicle to get more miles per gallon. It is very important for the health and life of your vehicle to maintain schedule services to ensure that your vehicle lives a long and productive life. Whether yours is the latest model or you paid it off years ago, the trick is giving your car the maintenance it was designed to receive. We recommend the following ways to drive smart and save money:
- Combine errands in one trip.
- Lighten the load by getting stuff out of the car, including the trunk with the exception of important emergency items. Unnecessary items weigh the vehicle down, causing an increase in gas usage.
- Stay within the speed limit. Gas mileage usually decreases when going over 65 miles per hour.
- Avoid aggressive driving. Sudden stops and starts or rapid acceleration decreases your vehicle's miles per gallon.
- Check the condition of the gas cap. Approximately 17 percent of vehicles on the road have loose, damaged or missing gas caps, causing 147 million gallons of gas to vaporize every year.
- Open your windows. Auto air conditioners can reduce fuel economy by 10 - 20 percent. Consider using the air conditioner only when absolutely necessary.
We also recommend following these services to help:
- OIL SERVICE (Every 3,000 - 4,000 Miles) - Always refer to the manufacturer's specifications in your vehicle owner's manual, but a good rule of thumb is to have the oil and filter changed regularly, every 3,000 to 4,000 miles when using conventional engine oil and every 5,000 - 6,000 miles when using full synthetic engine oil.
- TIRE PRESSURE/ROTATION (Twice a year minimum) - Tires leak naturally and need the occasional check. When tires aren't inflated properly it's like driving while the parking brake is on. Under- or over-inflated tires wear out sooner. Furthermore, front and rear tires wear differently and should be rotated to even that wear.
- TIRES BALANCED (Anytime you get your tires rotated) - Tires that aren't balanced, wheels that are out of alignment and worn shocks or struts will cause your engine to work harder using more fuel.
- CHECK YOUR SPARK PLUGS - A vehicle can have up to 16 spark plugs, which fire as many as 3 million times every 1,000 miles, resulting in a lot of heat and electrical and chemical erosion. A fouled spark plug can cause a misfire which wastes fuel and reduces fuel efficiency as much as 30 percent.
- CHANGE YOUR ENGINE AIR FILTER - Have the air filtration system inspected frequently. An air filter that is clogged with dirt, dust and bugs chokes off the air to the engine and creates a "rich" mixture - too much gas being burned for the amount of air. This wastes gas and causes your engine to lose power. When you replace a clogged air filter you can possibly improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent.
- We can't control the price of gas but we can control how we maintain and drive our vehicles.