I am a big car and motorcycle enthusiast, I always will be. Everybody has a blood type and mine is 94 octane. I’ve been asked many times over the years about my opinion on certain cars, and been called upon as an expert to help many friends evaluate a used vehicle. I “get” cars, you need it to get to work, run your errands and sometimes put a smile on your face. Here’s what I know about saving money with your car.
Pay attention and anticipate opportunities to take your foot off the gas.
After all you need to stop at some point. This does two things. Firstly most people don’t know this but most cars made after 2005 have a fuel cut off system that kicks in when your foot comes off the gas pedal. What that means is even though you are in gear, and the engine is technically turning over while showing RPM’s, fuel is not being burned. My car has a fuel economy gauge and when I take my foot off the gas it reads 0.0L/100km when I coast to a stop. Secondly you don’t actually need to use your brakes as much since the engine is in gear and slowing you down anyways. That’s going to make your braking system last longer.
Inflate your tires properly.
This is so simple yet people rarely do it. Rolling on under/over inflated tires uses more gas, and can wear them unevenly causing more frequent tire purchases. Check your tire pressure and do this at least 4 times a year. Refer to your manual and keep all tires inflated properly; I keep mine around 33PSI.
If your car only requires regular gas – use regular gas.
It blows me away when I fill up at the gas station and I see a guy with a $3,000 car putting in 94 octane. Why would you waste your money? That’s dumb, the car won’t perform any better and in fact the engine compression was designed to work with regular gas so you may be doing damage to your motor because it’s harder to ignite. Despite what advertisers say, you don’t get any more power or economy with high octane gas. Savings on a 55 litre tank on regular vs. premium fuel equals about $4 per tank. That’s $208/yr if you fill up weekly. Save your money.
Replace your air filter
A dirty air filter restricts airflow in your engine; that can dramatically influence your fuel economy and performance of the motor. Air filters are cheap and easy to replace. Rule of thumb, take it out and hold it up to a light. If it’s too dirty to see through, replace it. I check mine once a year.
Remove excess weight from your car.
Motor-sports has known this for years; weight is a killer for winning races. Weight slows fast lap times and eats fuel. More pit stops are required for fuel because of weight. Get rid of your junk collection in your trunk and passenger cabin and your fuel economy will improve. I went as far as removing a 55lb full size spare tire from my trunk. Less weight equals better acceleration and fuel savings
Slow down on the highway
This is where you usually get your best fuel economy, but so many people are doing 130km/hr or more on the highway just burning through fuel. Air resistance is the big killer here. Remember when you were a kid and put your hands out the window on the highway and felt that pressure pushing your hand back? Picture that pressure all over the car, the faster your go the more fuel you need to push the car down the road. Slowing down and doing 100-110km/hr can improve your economy considerably. You can actually get your best fuel economy doing about 80km/hr cruising on country roads.
Buy inexpensive tires
I recently got a price quote for some new tires and they ranged from $590 to $1,470 for a set of 4 new tires installed. After doing some research I found the set of $610 Sumitomo tires were well rated and are made by a Dunlop factory. They drive very well and I saved a ton of money. Don’t buy high-performance tires for your car.
Stop putting big silly looking big wheels on your car.
It blows me away when I see people driving cars with these big 22″ wheels. Who are you trying to impress anyways? The guy or girl waiting next to you at the stoplight? You will never meet them again after you drive away. Save your money, your car already has wheels on it. Also switching from your factory wheels and moving up to larger wheels adds considerable unsprung weight to the car. A recent test showed that moving from a 16″ wheel to a 20″ wheel degrades acceleration, braking, handling and fuel economy all by about 25%. Stop the madness and save your money.
Stop burning rubber.
Nobody really cares if you have a faster car, really. Trust me even if you are in a Ferrari, somebody has something faster. Accelerating rapidly off the line is pointless, can get you a speeding ticket and is awful for your fuel economy. You aren’t driving a top fuel funny car and if you are, take it to the dragstip.
Don’t worry if your friends think you are cheap, these tips are guaranteed to save you money if you drive a car. As my accountant says “Cars are a colossal waste of money”. For years I resisted this concept, but the truth hurts sometimes.
Richard Cooper is Founder & CEO at Total Debt Freedom Inc. Canada’s most respected debt settlement company. Total Debt Freedom offers debt settlement plans that can save you 50-70% of what you owe and get you debt free in 1 – 3 years.