The Finance Fiend

Getting Financial Freedom by 35!

Saving Money at the Pump May 13, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rebecca @ 12:20 pm
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While gas prices are much lower than they were last year at this time, they will of course rise again. Summer is also the traditional time for travel since children are out of school and inclement weather is far less common. So how are you going to save yourself money on your car? Here are a few easy tips to help you out.

Check your tire pressure

Tire pressure can greatly affect your mileage in your vehicle. If your tires has less air in them, more of the tire surface is touching the road.  This means the engine works harder to move the car.  While, having more of the tire touching the road may be good during poor weather conditions, it does decrease how far you can get on a tank of gas.  Last weekend we checked our tire pressure after the check engine light went on. (For the car newbies, the check engine light can mean anything, but I knew it had been several months since adding air.) It was at 31mpg, and I like the pressure to be close to 40 in the summer.  After filling the tire, the check engine light went off, and we noticed that our in town gas mileage increased by about 3mpg to a reasonable 24mpg.  Last weekend we did some highway traveling for Mother’s Day and got about 33mpg for the trip.

Change Your Air Filter

Air filters are another simple maintence for your car that can affect engine effiency.  It won’t necesarialy increase your mileage, but it will affect acceleration.  A clogged filter will slow air from entering the eingine area, making you push on the gas pedle more to accelerate.  While there is no tested increase in gas mileage, if you have to push harder on the gas to get anywhere, you will be using and wasting more gas.  This also affect wear on your car engine.

Get a tune up

When you get a tune up on your car, they check your your spark plugs and throttle, as well as things like fuel and air filters.  Proper maintenence can easily save you money in repairs as well as at the gas pump.  Fuel filters are made to last $5000 miles or more depending on how dusty of an area you live in. If you drive on gravel roads often, tis a good idea to replace your fuel filter.  Once they become completely clogged your car won’t start and that can mean a trip to the mechanic as well as a tow.

Get an oil change, and use the right oil

When you get an oil change, they replace the oil filter and remove al lthe old oil from your car.  Oil is lubricant for the car’s engine.  All those moving parts of your engine move smoothly thanks to oil.  Also, check your manual and find out what kind of oil is best for your engine.  Using 10W-30 if you car needs 5W-30 will make your car work harder and decrease your gas mileage.

Combine Trips, and shop early

If you run 3 errands and make threetrips from home for each of them, you are using more gas than you need to.  I don’t like to do all my shopping in the one stop stores, but it can save your car some hard work.  If you need to mail a package, and go to the grocery store, it might make sense to go to the grocery store that has postal capabilities.  Even if you don’t choose to go to these stores, its helpful to time your errands properly.  If I run errands early in the morning it can take half the time of later in the day.  Lines are shorter, there is less (or no) traffic, and sales people are more helpful.  Maybe its because they have just started work, or maybe its because they have less customers to assist.  Some stores even do thier discount markdowns in the morning and you can find a larger selection of discounted items at 9am than at 9pm.

Last of all, Lighten the load

Keep your car light! If you went to the store and bought 200 lbs lf mulch for your yard and have it sitting in the car for the next week until you have time to put it down. Stop! You are effectively carrying around a large adult, or three kids in your car at all times.  Even if you can’t put the mulch down immediately, out it in the garage, or on the porch.  Also, if you usually carry sand or kitty litter in your trunk in the  winter, take it out.  Most parts of the country don’t have to worry about freak snow storms by mid may.

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