Whilst useful, cars can be troublesome things to run from time to time. They breakdown, they need taxing and MOTing and they guzzle petrol like it’s going out of fashion. Now, there are dozens of urban myths, old wives’ tales and the like for saving money and taking the hassle out of looking after your car.
Have you ever been told it is more expensive to insure a red car? How about filling it up with petrol in the morning is more efficient than filling it up at night? Or better yet, that a dirty car is more fuel efficient than a clean one?
As you might have guessed, these tall tales are completely untrue. What you need to cut costs and increase the convenience of looking after your car are some real life handy hits. Read on for five of the best.
- Keep windows up and the air-con off
Having your car’s air conditioning switched on uses up fuel and consequently decreases its fuel efficiency. Moreover, driving with the windows down can dramatically increase the drag caused by air flowing over the body of your car, meaning more power (and hence more fuel) is required to make your car travel at the same speed. In the UK we are blessed with relatively mild temperatures for most of the year, so whenever possible keep the air-conditioning off and the windows shut.
In the summer months, when temperatures occasionally rise high enough to make travelling in your car uncomfortable without some form of cooling, it is better to wind your windows down when travelling around town or at lower speeds. This is when the drag caused by having your windows down will have least effect. Save the air-conditioning for motorway driving or the winter months.
- Get your tyres fitted at home
Sadly, no matter how carefully you drive, your car’s tyres will need replacing from time to time. Taking your car to the garage on a Saturday morning or having to take a day off from work just to complete this arduous task is annoying and unnecessary. Instead, find a local mobile fitting company (a Google search for something like‘mobile tyre fitters oxford’ should do the trick) who take all of the hassle out of replacing your tyres.
These companies come out to your home at a time that suits you and replace your car’s tyres at your convenience. Choose a local, family run business for the best service and no call-centres. Some will even allow you to book online.
- And keep them inflated!
On a similar subject, did you know that under-inflated tyres can decrease your fuel efficiency dramatically? It is estimated that up a billion pounds is wasted every year in the UK as a direct result of drivers driving with under inflated tyres.
The tyres on a 6 month old car will deflate at a rate of roughly 1PSI a month, so it is important to regularly check and top up your tyres. Moreover, keep an eye out for any abrasions or low tread that might indicate it is time to replace your tyres.
- Your car is not extra storage space!
It can be tempting to leave bulky items, sports gear or clutter that you don’t have immediate use for in your boot or on the back seat of your car. Not only does this clutter get in the way when you go shopping or try and fit anyone into the back, it can also be seriously detrimental to your fuel economy. Any extra weight you carry equates to a drop in fuel economy, so clean out your car and store that clutter in your home or the garage.
- Keep your screen wash topped up
Finally, and something that many drivers overlook, make sure you keep your screen wash topped up all year around. The screen wash tank should be filled with a mix of screen wash and lukewarm water, depending on the time of year. In the winter months, increase the amount of screen wash relative to warm water to prevent the mixture freezing over. This is a particularly important time of year to keep your fluid topped up as the low sun can cause a dangerous glare on the windscreen.