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Cheap Car Maintenance

Cheap Car Maintenance

Why cheap car maintenance? I don't believe that spending a lot of money on fuel additives or special tires or whatever I see suggested elsewhere will really help you to improve your bottom line, and that's what this article is about. For instance I do not believe that your fuel economy suffers much if you change your oil every 5,000 miles instead of 3,000 miles (but it does save money not to change oil that often).

Pump it up

Inflate your tires to the specified level (I usually go about 0.2 PSI above). This will reduce the contact area of your tire to the road and therefore reduce the friction. It will help you to get a slightly improved gas mileage.

If you don't need Snow Tires or Chains, remove them. Don't drive around all summer with Snow Tires. They are softer and have a deeper profile which will increase friction.

Rent a smaller car

Remember that mass and acceleration equation? Well, a small car always has a better fuel economy due to its smaller mass. Smart budget travelers therefore rent smaller cars and don't care much about the status a shiny big car conveys. They rather indulge in a good drink at the end of the day (when they don't need to drive anymore) with all the gas money they saved. Their vacation pictures look just as glorious, but they still have pocket change for bigger prints.

Reduce drag

Why are you driving around with that ski-, bicycle- or luggage-rack on your roof if you don't need it? Didn't you know that this increases the wind resistance of your car? Well now you do. Seriously, removing those will save you quite a bit of gasoline.

Eco tuning

Chip tuning for your engine used to be pretty big way back when gas cost less then water. These days the buzzword is eco tuning. Many tuners offer replacement chips for your engine computer that increase the power while at the same time saving gas. How is this possible? Well to cut this already long article short, they improve both ends of the curve. At the upper end they give you more power (with reduced efficiency) and at the lower end a better efficiency. You choose with the gas pedal which mode to use. Make sure you use manufacturer approved tuners if you don't want to lose your warranty.

Use the correct grade of motor oil

The grade of the oil pretty much tells us about the viscosity. If you use the wrong grade, you may increase the friction in your engine. It gets hotter and uses more gas.

Air filters

Replace your air filter when you need to, or your mix won't be right. However don't replace it every time the mechanics tell you to (they make money with it). Try to find out how often you need a new filter.

Turn off the light

Well, this one might be a safety concern. Many Rental Car companies have daylights enabled on their cars which are rather efficient. However every electrical equipment is powered from the alternator which will increase its load on the engine to produce more power. So when you can do it safely, turn off those headlights.