Driving tips to save fuel and reduce maintenance costs

May 28th, 2013 in Money Saving Tips

It’s easy to get into particular habits with your driving style that might not be ideal for your fuel efficiency and vehicle wear and tear. There is a lot you can do to reduce your fuel consumption and keep your car in good nick, so all your costs are kept to a minimum and your car stays reliable and healthy for a long time.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Driving style

Most of the stuff you can do to feel like a cool driver also generally makes you a financially strained driver… Driving fast uses more fuel and causes increased pollution, which is another reason (on top of the law of course) why you should always stick to the speed limits.

Revving your engine while you’re waiting to move off, for example at traffic lights or coming out of a parking space, also achieves nothing but fuel waste. Plus it can be distracting or disconcerting for other drivers and pedestrians, and the safety of yourself and other road users should always be your first priority.  

Running the air conditioning, especially when you’re driving slowly, increases fuel consumption too – so try to save air con for the motorway and only use open windows when you’re driving at slower speeds. Unless of course it’s unbearably hot, in which case it will be safer to regulate the temperature so the heat doesn’t make you groggy or sick.

How you use the pedals

A lot of people use their brake and accelerator pedals absentmindedly, causing wear to brake pads and using up a lot of additional fuel unnecessarily. When you are accelerating, try not to pump the pedal – drive smoothly and anticipate changes in speed ahead of time. Try not to jump between the accelerator and brake pedals, but gradually slow down so you can avoid using the brakes too much.

You can also slow a car without using the brakes at all if you can learn to time gear changes well. As you move down a gear the car will reduce in speed, and on a journey you do regularly you can very quickly learn how to time your gear changes to massively reduce excessive braking. Goodyear also recommends that you use the highest gear possible.

Looking after your car

Treat your car as you would like to be treated! Or something. Beyond your driving style, it’s important to make sure you keep on top of all the little maintenance issues that can affect your vehicle. For example, make sure the tyre pressure is good as cars run less smoothly and with reduced efficiency when the tyre pressure gets too low.

Refer to your car’s manufacturer for the recommended service intervals as it can vary from model to model. For example, Land Rover recommends that a Defender is serviced every year or 12,000 miles; whereas a Range Rover needs servicing every year or 16,000 miles.

Removing unnecessary weight

Make sure you’re not driving around with any extra weight in the car as this adds pointless demand on the fuel consumption. If you’ve got heavy equipment in the boot or on a roof rack that doesn’t really need to be there, find somewhere else to store it and you’ll definitely see a difference to your fuel costs over time. Don’t remove certain items which are required by law if you’re going abroad, though.

The great thing about these tips is that they all help to make you a safer driver too, reducing the chance of having accidents and helping to keep your insurance premium as low as possible. You can also save money on your car insurance policy by shopping around for a good deal. Driving can be quite an expense, but with the tips above you can make it much more economic. 

This post was written in partnership with Compare The Market.