DrivingDriving can be one of life’s great pleasures, but it needn’t break the bank. If your car’s beginning to put a strain on your wallet, consider these :

Lighten the load

Reduce the weight of your car by taking out everything that you don’t really need (other than safety equipment). This might include :

  • large items such as roof or bicycle racks (especially if they’re only used occasionally, just put them on when you need them)
  • items of clothing such as jackets carried ‘just in case’
  • rubbish such as food and drink containers (everything helps)

Another aspect of this idea – keeping your car as light as reasonably possible – is to only partially fill up with fuel each time. This doesn’t mean you’re running on fumes; half-full will usually do (unless you’re planning a long trip).

Use the highest gear possible

Think for a second of how great it feels to be cruising along at 100kph or so (around 60mph), in top gear with no other cars on the road. That type of situation is also one your car enjoys, and the sound of the engine backs that up.

If you’re in a situation that allows you to change up a gear, do so. On a related note, try to avoid any unnecessary idling. Your wallet will thank you.

Keep the engine tuned

A regular tune-up will not only keep your engine sounding the way it should, it’ll perform the way it should. A benefit of this is keeping the car’s fuel consumption as low as possible.

There’s no need to pay for anything fancy here; in fact, cleaning or replacing the air filter can make a big difference by itself.

Don’t use cash on toll roads

If you use toll roads and have the option of paying with cash or electronically, go with the electronic option. Aside from the fact that it’s just easier, it’s the difference between stopping to pay the toll and simply slowing down.

Keep your car clean

Yes, I’m telling you to go and wash the car. Aside from ending up with a nice clean car, it does actually reduce drag somewhat. Not a lot, but enough to notice over the course of a year.

For bonus points : get out the wax. Do it properly.

Now that you’ve got a nice clean, lightened, tuned car; go out and enjoy it. Saving money doesn’t need to be a chore.