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22 Car Saving Tips
Thanks to drop in gas prices, car owners are heaving a sigh of relief. Still, there are many other ways to save on fuel and other auto expenses
By Excel V. Dyquiangco
When gas prices were pushing upwards of P50 just a few months ago, EDSA and other major thoroughfares suddenly flowed freely, as car owners left their vehicles at their garage to take public transportation. But now that they’re down to the P30 range, many are back to everyday driving.
One such motorist is Jesse Santos, a corporate communications officer from Pasig City, who uses his Toyota van at least five times a week, and spends between P500 and P1,000 a week for gas and other car-related expenses. But like with many car owners, he has nevertheless learned to be cost-conscious when it comes to fuel. Jesse says that he is quite cautious when it comes to the speeding up and slowing down of his van – all it takes is just to be aware of the cars and the traffic on the road.
“When I approach a stoplight, or the road is downhill or I see impending traffic, I set the gear to neutral,” he says. “The less I step on the brakes, the less gas I spend on.” He also minimizes the usage of his air conditioner – if the weather is cool, there is no need to turn it on. And he has his car regularly checked at least once a week.
Aside from what Jesse has mentioned, what are other tricks that are in store for car owners such as yourself to save gas and other car-related expenses? Here are a couple of cost-saving measures once you hit the road.
CAR CHECK UP
1. Make all necessary checks before driving. “You have to check your responsibilities before you travel,” Nelson Bustillo, technical training supervisor for Diamond Motors, says. “Check for the fluid, for the proper level, the engine oil. If it’s not in the proper level, your car can break down.” Just like Jesse, Nelson advises to have your car regularly checked by a reliable service shop at least once a week. He adds that for every 5,000 km check up, you should now make the necessary checks, and visit a competent service shop nearest you. It doesn’t matter how many months you have already used your car, as long as your speedometer reads 5,000.
2. Keep proper air pressure in tires. Incorrect tire pressure reduces gasoline mileage, wears out tires faster, and makes vehicle handling difficult. To prolong the lifespan of your car tires, Nelson also advises tire rotation: that for every 10,000 km, you should switch the front tires with the back tires, not unless the back tires show uneven wear. “The front tires support the control of your car so when tires with uneven wear are put in front, then these tires might explode.”
3. Coordinate your regular preventive maintenance schedule with Transport Services Administration (TSA). A poorly maintained car can use up to 25% more fuel.
4. Watch out for promos. According to Eddie Moreto, body estimator service advisor for Diamond Motors, car companies offer discounts for car repairs. You can save as much as 15% off on labor and 30% off on car parts. Diamond Motors for instance runs this promo until January 31, 2009.
5. Avoid prolonged warming up of engine, even on cold mornings – 30 to 45 seconds is enough time. Do not let the motor idle for unnecessarily long periods. Turn off the engine whenever possible. It takes less gasoline to restart the car than to let it idle for prolonged periods.
6. On the other hand, do not race your engine once started – wait for it to warm up first. Warming up the engine before driving gives you better gasoline economy.
7. Accelerate slowly when starting from dead stop. This allows the engine to function at peak efficiency.
8. Think ahead when approaching a hill or road incline. If you accelerate, do it before you reach the hill, not when you’re on it.
9. The most efficient speed is between 75 to 90 kilometers per hour (kph). On a highway, maintain a steady speed. Tests conducted by the Department of Energy have indicated a 25%improvement in fuel economy when speeds are reduced from 120 to 80 kph.
10. Avoid “revving” the engine, especially just before you switch the engine off; this wastes fuel needlessly.
11. Weaving in and out on the road wastes fuel.
12. Do not drive with your foot on the clutch. Avoid being a clutch driver because if you keep stepping on the clutch, the car suffers from inertia loss, which means that lesser power is used to make your car run. Lesser power means stepping on the accelerator too much – therefore, adding to fuel consumption.
13. Avoid jack rabbit starts, take-off and sudden stops. Gradual acceleration saves gas and car wear and tear.
14. Shift to high gear as soon as you can and stay there as long as you can. Low-gear speed consumes much more fuel than high gear speed.
15. Never fill your tank to the brim to allow fuel expansion (stop at the first click of the fuel nozzle – if nozzle is automatic). Keep the fuel cap tightened to prevent fuel loss through evaporation or spillage.
16. Load gasoline during the coolest time of day – early morning or late evening is best. During these times, gasoline is densest. Gas pumps measure volume of gasoline, not densities of fuel concentration.
17. Minimize vehicle loads. Nelson says that there are some car owners who turn their car into their house – cargo, balikbayan boxes, and other heavy equipment are stored in their vehicles for days. Transporting unnecessary weight in your car will cause it to add 10% to fuel consumption. “Just remove all the unnecessary things in your car,” he advises.
18. Avoid parking in the sun. Gas evaporates rapidly when exposed to hot weather.
19. Use car pools and other public transport vehicles.
20. Preferably use smaller cars. Smaller engines usually give better economy.
21. Plan your trips to save gas and time. If you don’t plan your routes, you tend to go whichever direction the road takes you and therefore, you tend to consume more on fuel.
22. Avoid congested roads and as much as possible, cover as many errands as possible in one trip.
Nelson says that “an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.” Practice gas saving tips not just to save on gas and money but to avoid car breakdown as well. Regularly check every inch of your car even before you feel that your car needs tune up. But once you feel that something is wrong, then have it checked at your nearest service shop before something even worse happens to your car. This might not only save you hundreds or even thousands of pesos, it might even save your life.
Can’t get enough gas saving tips? Check these out:
Top 10 Fuel Saving Tips
How to Save Money on Gas
How to Save Money on Gas – 29 Tips
Open Travel Info
9 Ways to Save on Gas
Thirty Gas Saving Tips
How to Advice