By Winnie Were Wanzetse
Every few weeks we find ourselves having to dig deeper into our pockets to counter the rising cost of fuel. Sometimes it is ridiculous that fuel that used to last us a number of days with the same consumption now goes a few days short. Ever wondered why sometimes you spend more money in servicing your car compared to other times?
Here are a few of life hacks that can help you save a few bucks off your overall car expenses:
- Invest in good tyres
It is very tempting to buy cheap tyres, but did you know how expensive they turn out to be in the long run? Poor tyres make your car struggle more in some areas, consuming more fuel in the process. Such low cost tyres are usually of inferior quality and thus need replacing more frequently because they wear out faster. Also make sure your tyres are A-Grade to ensure they are of the fuel efficient kind.
- Maintain right tyre pressure always
Always take a few minutes off your busy schedule to have your car’s tyre pressure checked on a regular basis. Under-inflated tyres have been found to use 6% more fuel than for those with the right amount of pressure. It may not be as easy to check your tyres pressure by just looking at them, so make sure to drive into a service station where all these can be checked easily.
- Be merciful of cold engines
Your car engine is usually at its least efficient when cold. Be careful to start slowly and pick up speed with time when its efficiency has been pumped up. If you drive quickly right from when you start the car, you wear out the engine much faster in the process.
- Avoid accelerator when starting car
The temptation to step on the accelerator when starting the car is usually too strong especially for the speed junkies. In the olden days, one needed to use some fuel to get the car running. All cars today however have engine electronics that regulate the car starting procedure allowing them to start cleanly without an input of fuel. Remember to keep your foot off the pedal to save some fuel and long-term protect your engine.
- Petrol engine vs diesel engine
Long ago, purchasing a diesel engine instead of a petrol engine automatically meant a major save on fuel consumed. Diesel engines used to present the best fuel economy but, with time, the petroleum engines have caught up and perform just as well on fuel efficiency. The best way to increase efficiency is to make decisions based on annual mileage. If your mileage per year is high then a diesel engine would serve you best. Alternatively you could consider using a hybrid vehicle which is currently the most efficient vehicle.
- Source (genuine) car parts yourself
In event that any of your car parts requires replacing, ensure you source them yourself. Since you are trying to save as much coin as possible, you should source the most fairly priced genuine pieces. Genuine parts last longer and complement a car’s efficiency. Sourcing parts yourself also allows you to also save on some coins because some suppliers or mechanics inflate the prices to make a quick buck. This also goes for garages, do sufficient research on a garage before putting your car in their care.
- Reduce unnecessary weight
Empty your boot of all unnecessary junk and lose the rack/ roof rails/ roof bars too if you do not engage in everyday luggage/ cargo movement. You may not know this, but every extra 50kg you carry requires about 2% more fuel to move. Roof bars weigh between 3kg-5kg, and increase drag on the car and thus increase fuel consumption by 10%.
- Wash your car yourself
As crazy as it sounds, there is a lot to be saved from washing our cars ourselves. The cumulative amount spent getting our cars washed by others could easily fuel your car for a week or two! Plus washing the car yourself allows you to examine your car for any visible damages that could have escaped.
- Practise overall safe (defensive) driving
Always drive as safely as you can. Try to avoid collisions and other damages to your car by driving and parking a safe distance away from others. Do not leave your engine running idly especially during traffic jams. It is cheaper to turn the engine off and then back on when the traffic starts moving. Try to avoid potholes and terrain that could mechanically weaken your car as much as possible.