How to save fuel when you’re driving

You probably spend more time in it than you think. But what’s the best advice on getting more out of your car? We’ve got some common, and not so common, tips on getting the best out of your car.

Tyres

An easy one to do. Keep your tyres inflated to the correct levels because if you don’t then your car needs more power and petrol to move. You can normally find the correct tyre pressure for your car either in the petrol cap or on the side of the passenger door frame.

If you can afford to, it’s also worth investing in premium energy saving tyres as the savings over time will pay for the extra cost with a better miles per gallon (MPG) range.

And make sure the tread on the tyres is legal using the 20p test. If the inner rim of the coin is visible when putting the coin in the tread then you may need to change your tyres.

Change your oil and spark plugs

Your engine is the heartbeat of your car. And its two most important consumable components are the oil and spark plugs. If you have the tools, changing your spark plugs is quite easy, though changing the oil is a little more labour intensive – and messy. Our advice is to make sure you change them at regular intervals. Oil you should change at least every year and spark plugs, unless you’re fitting the manufacturer plugs should be changed every 20,000 miles. Ask around at your local garage as they should be able to help.

Half fuel strategy

If it’s good enough for Formula One  drivers then it’s good enough for you. In order to get quicker times around a track some F1 cars will only fill up the tank halfway – because it makes the car lighter. The average fuel tank will hold around 50 litres of fuel. If you’ve ever weighed 25 litres of liquid you’ll know it’s not exactly light. So a lighter car can be better for your pocket. On a further note it’s always worth de-cluttering your car of any excess baggage,just so you’re not driving around with more weight and less efficiently.

Easy braking

What’s the first thing you should do to stop your car? It’s not hitting the brake, it’s taking your foot off the accelerator.  If you can anticipate the flow of traffic, read the road ahead and use your brakes less you’ll put less strain on the car and your brakes. Of course we’re not suggesting you anticipate last minute braking decisions, just those where it’s safe to do so.

Change gear at the right time

In case you didn’t know what that big dial on your dashboard is, that isn’t your speedometer, it’s probably your rev counter. It will have numbers from 1-8 with ‘x 1000 rpm’ displayed on it.   Why should you bother with it though? When you’re changing gear, assuming you’re on an even surface, you should change gear between 2000 and 2500 revs depending on the car. Or higher when going uphill. Changing gear outside of this range isn’t good for the car and also uses more petrol as you’re either over-revving or the gearbox needs more time to run in the most responsive gear.

Don’t drive when you’re angry

It’s like the other saying ‘don’t go shopping when you’re hungry’ as you’re likely to buy more based on your current desire for food. If you’re angry behind the wheel you’re likely to drive aggressively, speed and therefore use more petrol. If you have to, take a minute to relax before you turn on the engine. You, and your pocket, may feel better for it.

Monitor your drive

Some insurance companies offer lower premiums for those people that are willing to sign up to a ‘Telematics Box’, or commonly known as having black box insurance, for their car. It essentially monitors how you drive and feeds it back to your insurer. If they deem you to be a ‘safer’ driver then they will reflect this in your insurance premiums.  Some more details are on confused.com.

Always shop around and negotiate your insurance

Each year, when getting a renewal for car insurance it will normally have gone up. Shop for your insurance, rather than renew as more than likely you’ll be able to save cash, unless you’ve had an accident or points added to your licence.

Look to put high ticket purchases like this through a cashback account – you could get up to 10% back against some purchases. If your annual insurance is say £500, you can get back £50 to spend elsewhere.

Keep cool, but not under 40mph

Having the air-con turned on will use fuel. If you’re driving at speeds under 40mph it’s probably worth just opening your windows unless you’re driving through a tropical storm.

Having your windows open whilst driving over 40mph will increase drag and use more fuel. So it’s better in this situation to turn the air conditioning on.