Auto maintenance tips

I am not an auto guru, not even close. I have noticed a few things on my cost saving journey that I wanted to share with everyone.

Top 10 Easy Auto Maintenance tips

1) Fill your gas tank at the halfway point

I don’t know why this occurs but I have noticed the top half of my gas tank gets better mileage than the last half. This is across different vehicles. The difference can be high as 4-5 miles per gallon. That adds up. 

I know it’s annoying but filling up your tank at the half way point can save you money spent on gas in the long run. I am not sure if the same is true for diesel.

2) Use better gasoline

I am not asking you to switch to higher octane gasoline. I am asking you to try better gasoline. My favorite is Shell. I have tried various gasolines, from warehouse clubs, grocery stores, independent gas stations, and major chains. I consistently get better gas mileage with Shell. Shell is 10 cents more expensive per gallon. Average prices near my house for Shell are 2.45 a gallon.  

We use both cars to commute. That gives us a good idea how much we average in miles per gallon per car. Try filling up with your favorite brand. On the second fill up get as much of your favorite brand again. Record the mileage of the second fill up. Repeat with another brand. I bet after four or five different gas blends you’ll have a great idea which works best for your vehicle. From my numbers above if you get more than 4% better mileage with Shell it is economical to switch. 

The reason I recommend the second fill up is to reduce the chance the first tank was influencing the results of the second. If they are both the same the odds are a better you will get a better picture of gasoline consumption. 

3) Check your tire pressure once a month

Knowledgeable people say keeping your tire pressure at the recommended level increases fuel efficiency. Soft tires are more comfortable, firm tires are better on gas mileage. Check it once a month to make sure they are not too high or low. 

4) Rotate and balance your tires

I am getting better at rotating and balancing my tires. Experts recommend every 6000 miles tires should be rotated and every 12000 miles tires should be balanced. This will save your tires from wearing out unevenly and that means your tires will last longer. That’s a big problem where I live, the heat takes a heavy toll on the tire. And new tires are very expensive. 

5) Have your alignment checked

A poor alignment will cause your tires to wear out unevenly. Check your alignment every time you get an oil change. This small step will save you from unnecessary tire wear.

6) Go the speed limit

I know that’s hard to do. Go with the flow if you have to, that’s generally safer. Going the speed limit has some advantages. Lower speed means less gasoline used. It also means you have more reaction space if the person ahead of you suddenly brakes. And the best thing is you reduce your chances of getting speeding tickets. One speeding ticket will easily overwhelm any other savings you can coax out of the other items on the list. That’s money in your pocket, not the city writing the ticket. 

7) Avoid accidents, at all costs

Having had my share of accidents I can detail to you many of the costs. Higher medical bills, rental charges, auto deductibles, and higher insurance premiums are some of the side monetary effects. One accident can easily undue months of progress on your budget. Let’s not mention the severe headache of dealing with medical providers, body shops, and insurance companies. A big mess. 

Accidents happen, you can minimize the chances they happen to you.

8) Shop for auto insurance

Why not? We compare all manners of things, why not auto insurance? My own auto insurance costs two thousand dollars a year. Sure insurance companies are there to make you whole. Don’t spend more than you have to spend. Auto insurance can be intimidating with all their coverages. Do some research on what they mean and what will suit your needs.

9) Bundle your auto insurance with your homeowners / rental insurance

You can get a substantial discount if you bundle policies together, just like cable, Internet, and phone bundles. 

10) Oil changes!

I almost forgot one of the most important things! Oil changes! 

Regular oil changes allows you to lubricate your engine properly. Excessive heat will break up the oil and make your engine work harder. Some cars actually burn up a lot of oil every month. Not having properly timed oil changes risks leaving your engine a greater chance of going to that engine heaven in the sky. Check online or in your owners manual how often you should change your oil. Many newer cars will give you a warning when it it is time to change. 

What are your favorite easy maintenance car tips? Shout them out below.

Vijay @ smilingdad

Published by smilingdad

My story is one of tragedy and redemption. We've made many mistakes along the way regarding our money. Our goal here is to show you how to take care of your money life long, and as much as we can, help the Earth along the way. I call it sustainable personal finance and ethical capitalism. Currently, I am a part time writer for Cleantechnica and part-time licensed financial professional, along with being a full-time dad.

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