We’re pretty lucky that traveling to the beach from Monterey is close and easy to access, but many other summer destinations take a much longer drive. If you’re planning on taking a drive inland for camping or theme parks, or have family members to visit who live a couple of hours away, you’ll want to make the most of your fuel this summer. At Robert’s Collision and Repair, we just so happen to know a thing or two about cars and fuel economy. Here are a few tips from the experts at your favorite auto repair shop in Monterey about conserving fuel this summer:
Engine Oil Quality.
Old engine oil can negatively impact your fuel economy and the overall, health of your engine. The first step is to make sure you follow your vehicle's specifications for regular oil changes to save you some money at the pump.
Unless you’ve got plans for that suitcase of extra clothes and the mounting pile of garbage accumulating behind the driver’s seat, it’s time to clean out the car. Keeping safety gear and frequently used accessories (see our last blog on awesome stuff to keep in the car for beach trips), take out the garbage and winter accessories like extra coats and rain gear that tend to pile up. The lighter your car, the less work the engine has to do to move it, and the farther you’ll get on less gas.
Work on Bad Driving Habits.
If you have a tendency to accelerate or brake harshly, there’s no time like the present to work on that! Not only is it a safe driving practice that should probably be corrected anyway, but gentler driving habits will increase your car’s fuel economy as well.
Ditch Cruise Control.
Although many people say leaving it set at the speed limit helps, it can hurt your fuel economy. Not all roads are simply smooth sailing. Put yourself back in control and see #3: drive carefully and smoothly, you’ll fare far better at adjusting to the precise environment you’re in than a computer will, as long as you work on driving with a bit less aggression.
Tires, Tires, Tires.
To get the most out of your fuel, make sure your tire pressure is up to par. If you had winter tires, switch to all season or summer tires to make the most of your traction. Those wheels that take you places are (unsurprisingly) very important when it comes to your car’s efficiency, so stay on top of their maintenance.
The slow, start-and-go pace of heavy traffic is just about the worst thing for your fuel economy. Take a bit of time and plan your route ahead, or have a passenger pull up a route on their phone or GPS that shows where the traffic is so you can avoid it. For example- heading to Santa Cruz to hit the boardwalk? It can take you 45 minutes, or it can take 2 hours depending on when you leave and what route you take. Plan it out ahead, and you’ll save money on gas to buy more cotton candy when you get there!
Use A/C Wisely.
Running the A/C uses up the precious energy provided by your fuel, so using the A/C economically is important. This is trickier during the summer, but possible. If it’s too hot outside, go ahead and run the A/C. But, keep those car windows rolled up so that the car remains cool. Alternatively, drive alongside the ocean and enjoy the cooler air with the windows down rather than blasting the A/C unnecessarily. Using other tricks to keep the car cool help to conserve gas as well. For example, investing in a sun visor for the front window will keep your car cooler while it’s parked, and your A/C won’t have to work as hard to cool the car down again.
That F-350 may be a powerful car to drive, but you hardly need it for a quick trip the grocery store. Choosing the car that is best suited to the trip is a great way to increase your fuel economy this summer. If you’re packing up for a quick trip to the beach, take the smallest car you can. Of course, if you’ve got a camping trip for eight planned with two tents, a grill, and a week’s worth of food, bringing the truck and maybe the minivan too will be unavoidable. Just be smart about which car (if you have multiple to choose from) you drive and at what time of day. It will save you a dime or two at the gas pump.
Finally, we have one last tip for you to increase your fuel economy during the summer. Few things are as costly when it comes to fuel economy as a poorly functioning engine. If you notice any strange smells or clanking sounds coming from under the hood, get that checked out before you head out on vacation. Come to Robert’s Collision and Repair to make sure your car is roadworthy before accidents happen or you burn through a bunch of extra gas. We’re happy to work with you until your car is once again running efficiently.