In the wake of the Budget, we can do our own budgeting and save money on motoring. Attending to everything from your car tyres to the way you drive can save your hard-earned cash and help you avoid a deficit of your own.
1: Check Tyres Pressures
Air is no longer free at many forecourts but checking your tyre pressures frequently can save you much more than the few pence it might cost. For a start, running car tyres at too low a pressure increases their rolling resistance. This makes the engine work harder to push the car along so fuel consumption suffers. Underinflated tyres wear out faster too.
Correct tyre pressures improve a car’s handling, road holding and braking. These checks can cut your fuel bill by 10 percent and increase your car tyres’ useful life.
A major upside of checking tyre pressures in that you can look over your car tyres at the same time. Being caught with unroadworthy tyres can attract a fine of 2,50 pounds.
2: Research Insurance Needs
The recession has increased competition in most industries. Car tyres have become cheaper but insurance premiums have become highly competitive. Shop around for the best deal and make sure you’re paying only for the insurance you need.
3: Don’t be a Drag
Correctly inflated car tyres won’t be too helpful if your car is being held back aerodynamically. Trundling around town with the windows open may be enjoyable but open windows equal aerodynamic drag. The same goes for a roof rack, which can impose a surprisingly high amount of drag, even if unloaded. So, remove the rack when it’s empty. Also, tidy out your car. Carrying anything you don’t need costs fuel.
Air-conditioning also saps power; switching it off unless you actually need it saves fuel. That said, aircon is a more efficient cooling medium than open windows at above town speeds. It’s a question of balance.
4: No Short Trips
Cars run inefficiently when cold. Even the most efficient can return single fuel consumption figures for a surprisingly long time when cold. So, try to use your car only when you know it will warm up fully. The same aspects apply when warming your car, particularly on cold mornings. Drive off as soon as you start the engine – a car engine running at tickover from cold uses a lot of fuel, warms more slowly and can suffer more wear. Here, the car tyres make no difference!
5: Plan Your Journey
Longer routes, stop-start driving, unnecessary mileage and diversions all have a negative effect on fuel consumption. Use the Internet, the radio, TV and your satnav to plan your journey. Avoid rush hour traffic jams, steer clear of roadworks or accidents, and try to use motorways wherever possible. Bear in mind that the shortest route may not be the most efficient; more miles under your tyres can work out cheaper in some cases.
6: Observe Speed Limits
Speed limits have always been in place for public safety, even if many have also become a political issue. Remember that travelling at 60 mph costs less than travelling at 80 mph and wears tyres less. Equally, remember that fines and points on your licence also increase insurance premiums. Moreover, you generally can’t argue with a speed camera or police radar gun.
7: Drive Carefully
With a few exceptions modern cars are powerful enough to be lively but burning your car tyres’ rubber on a regular basis, though fun, can be expensive. Fifth gear can give 20 percent better fuel economy than third can, provided you don’t select it too early. Tyre-shrieking starts and lurid cornering are best left to your imagination – and they wear your car tyres out faster.