Strategies For Saving – Cut Car Tyre (And Other) Costs
In these dark times, we must all tighten our belts, as well as having them tightened for us by the powers-that-be in Whitehall. It therefore makes sense to do what we can to save on our motoring costs, from saving fuel to making our car tyres last as long as possible. Here are a few hints to deter the wolf from ringing your doorbell too frequently.
Turning fuel into forward motion is a conversion of energy, from potential to kinetic. Maintaining as much of the former while benefitting from the latter involves applying efficient practices. Maximizing mpg starts with starting the car. Cold car tyres are softer than hot ones and cold engines are distinctly fuel-inefficient. So, if it’s a short trip, don’t use the car. Equally, you can save by being gentle on the gas when the car is cold.
Once the engine (and the tyres) are hot, keep to the highest possible gear. This doesn’t mean accelerating hard until you can use top gear. Instead, keep the rev counter needle low on the scale and change up sooner to keep it there. At the top end of the speed scale, observe the speed limit. We all know that speed camera or police radar gun fines aren’t cheap and they increase insurance premiums. It’s also the case that pressing on costs; the difference between 60 and 70 mph cruising can be up to 5 mpg in some cars.
There are several ways in which life can be a drag or rather, drag can be a costly luxury. Underinflated car tyres give greater rolling resistance and increase fuel consumption. Got a roof rack? If you have and it’s empty, dismount it. The air drag of even an empty roof rack is quite startling and you can do without it, and the weight of the rack itself. Similarly, air conditioning is lovely, especially on a muggy day, but it costs. Specifically, it can cost you to the tune of an 11 percent reduction in mpg. This is about balance. Open car windows create aerodynamic drag too. In general, open the windows to cool down around town but at over 40 mph, use the air con.
Underinflated car tyres aren’t the only things that weigh down fuel consumption figures. Some people carry the essentials but if your car is full of junk, every kilogram is costing you fuel. Figure out how likely you are to need golf clubs, dog blankets, Thermos flasks and half a dozen old newspapers on the way to the supermarket. This is a question that answers itself!
Some savings are more obvious than others. The number of miles of tarmac that pass under your car tyres is probably a given. That said, are you using the most fuel-efficient route? Try to avoid traffic if you can and keep up to date with en route road works. Motorways and dual carriageways, without all that thirsty stopping and starting, save fuel, as does the shortest route. Remember that a motorway detour, though a little longer, could be less costly overall.
Lastly, hidden costs. This is all about shopping around. Many things, such as new car tyres, may be what’s called a distress purchase. However, the firms selling the tyres, car insurance, spare parts and even fuel are in distress too. It’s worth looking out for the best deal.