While some complain that used cars are more expensive due to poor fuel economy, this is not always the case. There are forces at work in your favor. Most drivers have noticed that gas prices are beginning to dip lower than the national average, which has been above $3.00 per gallon since 2010. To add to these savings, there are several things you can do to save money on gas. With fewer dollars going to gas, set the extra money aside for car maintenance. Additionally, adjust your driving habits to save fuel.
Under the Hood
The experts agree: a properly tuned engine increases the fuel economy in used cars. Use the money you’ve been saving at the pump to correct any serious problems under the hood. For example, a bad oxygen sensor can destroy your fuel economy. Fixing this issue will save you a lot of cash.
Tire Pressure & Oil
One do-it-yourself tip is to check the air pressure in your tires. Your used car’s owner’s manual should state how much pressure is needed for each season. While you’re at it, be sure you or your mechanic have been putting the correct type of oil into the engine. Additionally, when you have your oil changed, ask the technician to show you the air filter. If it’s dirty, purchase a replacement. Many people don’t realize this common mistake is costing them extra money.
While you’re at the gas station, check your gas cap. If it’s loose, cracked or appears leaky, it’s time for a new one. Another clue may be that your check engine light is on. This is often remedied by replacing the gas cap. If you need a new cap, try visiting your local auto supplies store, or order one from an auto parts warehouse online.
Still not getting the mileage you want? Check your driving habits! Are you always speeding? Do you stop and start quickly? Do you do a lot of city driving? These could all be culprits. Give yourself plenty of time to get from point A to point B. Go easy on your gas and brake pedal. Take highways when available instead of city streets. Call your fellow co-workers and suggest carpooling to cut down on your driving time. Never sit with your car idling for long. If you’re waiting, turn off the engine. While you’re working on your driving habits, you may want to consider the weight of items in your car. A trunk full of unnecessary objects makes the engine work harder and use more gas.
As you can see, with the right strategy, you can get great gas mileage out of used cars. It could well be worth your time to heed the tips offered above to save at the pump.