As the credit crunch takes hold and we are all finding less money in our pockets it's a good time to look for ways to save money. From checking your car tyres to finding the cheapest parking spots, motoring costs can be reduced in numerous ways. Here are ten suggestions to follow:
1. Don't use your car for short trips
An obvious point to start with but probably the simplest way to save money. Even if it's a chilly morning, put a thick coat on and walk to the newsagents at the end of your road. A cold car engine uses far more fuel travelling short distances than it does on a long journey.
2. Research before buying car insurance
Rather than just renewing your old policy shop around to see what money you can save. Price comparison websites make this very easy to do and you will be amazed how much the quotes can vary.
3. Drive with care
Sudden acceleration and sharp braking will increase fuel consumption. The wear to your car tyres will also be increased, hastening the time when they need to be replaced.
4. Switch off the air conditioning
Use air conditioning only when really necessary. It can increase fuel consumption by 11%.
5. Use higher gears
Fuel economy can be improved by up to 20% if you are driving in fifth rather than third. Be careful not to accelerate too quickly into fifth as this will ruin all the benefit of driving in this gear.
6. Close windows and remove roof rack
If you are reading this article in winter, keeping your windows closed will not be an issue. But you may have left a roof rack on after a weekend away. This needs to be removed. Open windows and items such as roof racks adversely affect the aerodynamics of a car, increasing fuel consumption.
7. Plan journey before setting out
Extra journey miles, increased fuel consumption and driver frustration are all a result of not knowing the best route to your destination before setting out on a journey.
If you are planning a long trip try to use the motorways; there will be less stopping and starting which will improve the car's fuel economy and reduce wear on your car tyres.
Always plan the shortest route. It may not be the most scenic but it will be the most cost effective.
8. Keep to the speed limit
It has been proven that driving at the speed limit significantly reduces fuel consumption, especially on the motorways. The difference between 70mph and 80mph is considerable. In some cars it can be up to 5 miles per gallon.
9. Car sharing
Consider sharing a car on your commute to work or if travelling to an out of town retail park. Not only will this reduce your motoring costs, it's also a lot more fun having someone to chat to.
10. Check car tyre pressures
By spending an extra 5 minutes at the petrol station checking your car tyres are inflated to the manufacturer's recommended pressure, fuel economy can be improved by 10%.
Soft car tyres increase the rolling resistance on the road, making the car engine work harder and using more fuel. If one car tyre is a different pressure to the rest then there is an imbalance which will also increase fuel consumption.
By maintaining correct car tyre pressures money can be save in other ways including:
a) Increasing the life of the car tyres; under-inflated tyres wear out faster.
b) Improving a car's performance, especially braking and road handling.
c) Avoiding a fine of up to £2,500 if you are caught with unroadworthy car tyres.
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