Most teenagers use their parent's old car as their first car when they get their license. While these older cars aren't as fuel-efficient as newer models, there are ways you can save money at the gas pump. Try some of these tips and tricks to get the most out of each tank of gas.
Perform Vehicle Maintenance
One of the most important things you can do to an old car to keep it running at maximum efficiency is to keep up with its maintenance. Take care of all of these vehicle maintenance areas for an mpg boost:
Maintain Tire Pressure — Proper tire pressure can increase your mpg by 0.6-3.0%, while every PSI under average can drop it by 0.2%. Check the sticker inside your door or your owner's manual for the proper PSI.
Change Your Oil — Change your oil regularly and with the correct oil type, and you can boost your mpg by 1-2%.
Tune-up the Engine — This involves changing the air filter, spark plugs, and oxygen sensor. On average, air filters need changing every 15,000 miles, spark plugs every 30,000, and 50,000 for an O2 sensor.
Clean Your Battery — Make sure the battery terminals are clean. Corroded terminals make the car use more fuel to keep your battery charged.
Practice Fuel Saving Driving
One of the easiest things you can do while behind the wheel to save some gas is to not speed. On average, every 5 mph that you drive over 50 mph tacks on about $0.30 per gallon to your fuel cost. Other aggressive driving habits like constantly accelerating and braking can drop your mpg by as much as 40%.
Instead, get up to speed at a moderate pace, coast when you are going down a hill, and drive at a reasonable speed on the highway. Avoid idling when you can as well. If you are going to sit in your car for more than a couple of minutes, shut the engine off.
Remove Excess Weight
You probably don't think of all of the junk you are hauling around in your trunk, but it can definitely lower your average mpg. Whether it is a case of water, tools, or even just random stuff, take everything out of the car that you don't use on a regular basis. Be sure to leave anything you need in case of a roadside emergency.
You can raise your average mpg by 1-2% for every 100 pounds you remove from your vehicle. Taking off a roof rack that you aren't using can boost it by another 5%.
Plan Out Your Trips
Another way to save on gas money is by planning out where you need to go ahead of time. This way, you can plan the most efficient route and avoid unnecessary driving that only wastes gas. Avoid driving during times of days with heavy traffic, so you don't idle away gas while at a standstill. If you can drive partway to your destination then use public transportation, it not only saves you money but is better for the environment.
Save Money at the Pump With These Tips
While having your parent's old car is better than not having one at all, make it more efficient by trying these tips and tricks. For more driving tips, sign up for an in-car driving lesson at DriversEd.com. You'll learn driving techniques that will help to improve your mpg until you can get a new car of your own.