Four strategies that can make your driving habits more affordable
Driving is one of those things where you pay that bit more for the convenience factor. The cost of petrol these days has got many of us wondering what we can do to save money on motor costs.
If you drive a petrol car, don’t despair. Luckily you may be able to save money simply by changing your driving habits and doing a little bit of basic maintenance. Here are a few ways to do it.
1) Drive smoothly
If you’re liable to slam on the brakes at the last minute sometimes or accelerate too fast, don’t! By making your car work harder to maintain momentum, you drain the petrol faster. You may also wear down your tyres faster, meaning you will have to pay for new ones more often.
Try and remind yourself to avoid these habits while driving. Look far enough ahead to anticipate the road’s layout. If you see traffic lights turning red or amber as you approach, slow down in advance so that there’s a chance it might be green again when you arrive. This can help cut down on time spent wasting petrol while you idle at the red lights (but if your car has stop-start technology, even better!)
2) Get a regular service
Regular car servicing matters because it keeps your engine working as efficiently as it can. It can improve the MPG (miles to the gallon) your car returns. The mechanic will ensure your spark plugs are fit for use and keep the oil levels and filter as they should be.
You should have your car serviced either once a year or every 12,000 miles. If you drive a lot or feel like your car just needs an extra check-over, you can book an interim car service any time you like.
3) Drive gently when the engine is cold
Did you know that when the temperature outside is colder, your car is better off if it has some time to warm up before you rev it?
Until the 1980s cars had carburetors, so drivers often sat stationary with the engine on for minutes to let the engine warm up. Nowadays, 20-30 seconds is all a modern car really needs. When the engine is at the optimal temperature, the fuel injection system is then able to run the car on the most efficient mixture of air and fuel.
Letting your car idle for longer than this isn’t great for the environment or for the engine, so don’t get carried away!
If it’s cold outside and you prefer to set off immediately, the second-best option is to drive gently until your engine has had a chance to heat up. This should still help somewhat with petrol efficiency.
4) Check your tyre pressure
It’s a simple check anyone can do. In fact, the recommendation is that you check them every month.
Take your car to the petrol station regularly and make sure your car tyres are kept at the pressure recommended in your car manual. Don’t have your manual to hand? Check the sill inside the driver’s door or the inside of your fuel tank flap.
When your tyre pressure is too low, your car is likely to burn fuel faster. The tyres could also wear out faster and in the worst-case scenario, the car may even suffer a tyre blowout. So there are two very good reasons why you should keep up with these checks!
With a few simple changes in driving habits, you can start conserving more petrol immediately.