Prepare Your Car for Summer Driving Savings
Take these steps to keep your car running at peak performance this summer. You will be rewarded with a reliable ride for less.
Summer driving season is getting underway.
Hot weather can take its toll on vehicles, and a well-maintained engine will use fuel more efficiently. So, to keep your vehicle in tip-top condition and keep money in your pocket, follow these tips:
1. Make sure antifreeze is at full strength.
2. Check the radiator cap for a tight seal.
3. Have a professional check the cooling system. Flush and fill if needed.
4. Check your tires for wear and tear. It is recommended that you replace them when they wear down to 3/32″ or more. An easy test is to place a penny with Lincoln’s head down into the tread. If you can see the top of his hair, you should take your vehicle in and have the tires professionally inspected.
5. Keep tires properly inflated to the recommended tire pressure. Under-inflated tires increase rolling resistance and reduce fuel economy. They also wear more rapidly. This will save 3% to 4% on your fuel. Check the owner’s manual or the door sticker for the proper minimum cold tire inflation pressure.
6. Slow down and aim for a constant speed. Save 10% to 15% by driving 55mph instead of 65mph. Use cruise control whenever possible to help maintain a consistent speed and conserve fuel.
7. Accelerate and brake smoothly. Jackrabbit starts and hard braking use more fuel. Maintain a safe distance from the car ahead of you and anticipate changing traffic conditions, especially in stormy weather or construction zones.
8. Lighten the load. Remove extra or unnecessary items. If possible, avoid using a roof rack since it can reduce aerodynamics and lower fuel efficiency by as much as 5%.
9. Say no to idling. Turn off the engine if waiting more than a few minutes. Today’s engines don’t need a warm-up period. Start the car and gently drive away.
10. Minimize the use of air conditioning and the heater. Park in the shade to reduce interior temperature and the need for air conditioning. Use the vent setting as much as possible or open windows to circulate air.
11. Close windows at speeds over 50mph. It creates drag and increases fuel consumption.
12. Consolidate your errands. By planning ahead, you can bypass congested traffic areas, which leads to less idling and fewer stops and starts. When feasible, share a ride or carpool to work.
13. Use the right oil. Choose good quality, energy-conserving EC oils. Look for cans marked with the symbol ECII, the American Society of Testing Materials logo for fuel-efficient oils.
14. Keep the wheels aligned. Wheels that are fighting each other waste fuel. Rotate the tires as recommended in your service manual to help tires wear evenly.
Start living better for less.
Subscribe to get money-saving content by email that can help you stretch your dollars further.
Twice each week you'll receive articles and tips that can help you free up and keep more of your hard-earned money, even on the tightest of budgets.
Subscribers receive a free copy of our eBook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better for Less.
We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.
Don’t forget about spring-cleaning your vehicle. After months of slogging through dirty snow, sliding over ice, and splashing through mud puddles, it deserves some special attention, too. Preparing your vehicle for the warmer months will save you time and money.
Follow these tips to keep your ride looking and running smoothly this summer:
- Replace winter tires or rotate all-season tires.
- Wash and wax the exterior, and remove the salt built up in the wheel wells and the underbody. It can eat away at the metal and cause rust or failure of critical parts.
- Clean and dust the interior. Apply upholstery spray to protect from sun damage.
- Clean the upholstery and carpet. Wash seat covers. Clean and replace the winter mats.
- Change the oil and filter.
- Check all the belts and hoses, replacing any that are worn.
- Top off fluids.
- Replace windshield wipers in time for spring showers.
- Have the brakes inspected by a professional.
- Update the emergency road kit. This should include a good pair of jumper cables, a tire inflation kit, a sign or flares, essential medical equipment, extra water, and a flashlight with fresh batteries. You should add items that you need for specific trips.
Maintain and service your vehicle to keep it in good condition. Follow the recommended service schedule in your owner’s manual. Keep in mind your area’s seasonal weather. If you suspect something is wrong, take it in to be serviced right away because a minor problem can morph into a major repair if left unchecked.
Today’s vehicles are a significant investment for most families. Proper maintenance and following these tips will protect your investment. If you keep your car running at peak performance this summer, you will be rewarded with a reliable ride for less.
Reviewed March 2022
About the Author
Shaunna Privratsky became an expert in personal finance out of necessity. Between writing, reading and gardening, she is always on the lookout for bargains. Visit her at The Discount Diva.
Wouldn't you like to be a Stretcher too?
Subscribe to get our money-saving content twice per week by email and start living better for less. We'll send you a free copy of our eBook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better for Less to get you started.
We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.
- 7 Habits of Highly Frugal People
- 5 Simple Budget Cuts That Can Save $200 a Month
- How to Track Down Unclaimed Funds Owed You
- 32 Ways to Save Money on Your Utility Bills
- Do You Need Credit Life Insurance When Buying a New Car?
- How to Maximize Profits When Selling Online
- Staying Motivated to Continue Digging Yourself Out of Debt
- 9 Things You Need to Do Before You Retire
- You Didn’t Save Enough for Retirement and You’re 55+
- When Empty Nesters Reorganize and Declutter Their Home
- Reinventing Your Career in Your 50s or 60s
- What Mature Homeowners Should Know about Reverse Mortgages
- 2 Reasons to Collect Social Security Benefits As Soon As Possible