Saving money with your car goes well beyond clipping oil change coupons – although it’s a great start. Keeping your car in shape can save you money on costly repairs or even from having to replace your vehicle sooner rather than later.
For example, did you know that if you see a gasoline tanker filling the tanks at a gas station, it’s best if you avoid that station for a couple of days? When tanks are filled, debris and sediment are stirred up and could end up clogging filters in your car. And that means costly unnecessary repairs. Go to another gas station!
And speaking of gas stations, I’m sure you’ve seen relative newcomers popping up everywhere. Be wary of these stations. A few cents worth of savings per gallon might not be worth the risks associated with their cost-cutting measures. If a station doesn’t change their pump filters regularly, you could end up with dirty gasoline which could wreak havoc on your engine. And that’s assuming these stations don’t water down their gasoline. But that’s a different story. Stick to brands you recognize. The few extra pennies will be worth it in the long haul.
While these two suggestions might seem pretty obvious, you might be surprised to learn there’s probably a pretty expensive problem brewing right under your nose. I’m talking about your key chain… and your ignition. Most of us have a few keys in our key chain. But as we go about our lives, keys begin to magically add themselves to the bunch – one for our parents’ house, another for our neighbors, this one’s for the office, and a backup of the other car, and the key for the business mail… and before you know it, you’ve got a pretty sizable amount of keys dangling from that key chain. Although you may not realize it, those keys are putting too heavy of a load on the tumblers inside the ignition. This means you could find yourself stranded if you can’t get your car on. Save yourself the tow bill, diagnostic, parts, labor, and rental costs. Keep your key chain light. That means no more than 4 or 5 keys and a fob (or two) – that’s it!
But really the best way to anticipate any problems with your car is to keep track of your car’s fuel efficiency. An easy way to do this is to fill up your tank, and record the mileage. Then drive until your fuel light comes on. Before you refuel, record the mileage again. Your car should be pretty consistent about how many miles it can move per tank. Sure, there might be some variation if you took more (or less) highways or streets, but overall you should see the same amount of miles from a full tank. The minute you see this number drop off significantly, it’s time to take your car in for service because something is going wrong and will only get worse.