Need to save some cash? Take a closer look at how you drive and maintain your car: you’ll be surprised how many unnecessary costs can be avoided.
Most drivers who opt for fuel- and cost-efficient vehicles do so in order to keep money available elsewhere, and also to reduce their carbon footprint. In the current economy, many drivers are looking for ways to save on transport costs. The good news is that saving money on your vehicle goes a lot further than the purchase price, and these tips could save you a small fortune down the road.
1. Keep it smooth
Smooth, consistent driving is one of the most reliable ways to save on fuel costs – it really makes a difference. Racing from one traffic light to the next saves you no time, and just uses up fuel, brakes and tyres at a much faster rate. This doesn’t mean you have to stick to the slow lane, just pay attention to how you’re driving and practice keeping it as smooth as possible.
2. Don't be idle
Many drivers waste hundreds of litres (and Rands) of fuel each year, simply because they keep their cars idling when it’s not necessary. Waiting for the kids to get in the car? Turn off the engine, even if you’re only waiting for two minutes. Those minutes add up, and an idling engine uses a lot of fuel. Idling unnecessarily is also bad for the environment.
3. HOT STUFF
This isn’t much of a concern during winter, but during the summer, you may need to keep in mind that air-conditioning costs you a lot in fuel money. No matter what car you drive, switching on the aircon will increase your fuel consumption. In order to save, try to use it sparingly by cooling down your car and then switching off the aircon for the rest of the drive. You’ll be surprised how long the interior remains cool.
4. TYRED OUT
Vehicle tyres are not only expensive all on their own, but can cost you a silly amount of money if they’re not kept at the correct pressure. Make a habit of checking your tyre pressure whenever you fill up. Underinflated tyres add significant friction, which means the engine needs to work harder, and that burns more fuel. Regular checks can save you a lot of money.
Once again, if your car is spending a lot of time in the garage, make sure you check the tyres at least once a month, as there could be slow leaks or small cracks forming, even when they’re not constantly rolling.
5. KEEP IT STRAIGHT
Whilst you’re perfecting the art of smooth driving (point 1), take note of your wheel alignment. If the steering wheel noticeably pulls to one side, you need to get your wheel alignment checked. Just like with tyre pressure, incorrect wheel alignment adds friction and increases fuel consumption. It will also cause your tyres to wear out faster, which means you’ll be buying new tyres more often.
If your vehicle is overdue for a service, it’s advisable to get the basics checked, especially if you’re back on the road and your vehicle is only booked for its service in a few weeks time (in some cases).
6. LOSE WEIGHT
Do you keep half your household scattered around your car? This additional weight adds to fuel consumption and probably costs you a lot of money each year. It’s a good habit to declutter your car every week, as all those loose items add up. Not only will you find ‘treasures’ you thought were lost for good, but you’ll have more spending money at the end of the day.
And in these days of hyper-sanitation, decluttering is just another safety measure to ensure surfaces are always easy to clean.
7. QUALITY COUNTS
Whether your car is 30 days or 30 years old, quality parts make a difference. Make sure your car is serviced and repaired at approved dealerships / mechanics and you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble and money. Quality parts may cost more (not always) to purchase, but they’ll last much longer and will keep your vehicle in good nick. Poor quality replacement parts may even cause other parts to fail in turn, causing a chain reaction of expenses that could have been avoided.
All of the above points may seem inconsequential on their own, but when you add them all together, these seven tips can help you save a lot of money.
To find out more about keeping your car running smoothly and keeping costs down, download our guide: Extending the Lifespan of Your Car.