Free spirit

6 March 2020

Simple measures that could save you heaps

Long weekends often involve a motoring getaway or long-distance day trip. That uses fuel. But while I can’t control petrol prices, I can offer some tips that could cut the cost of your trip.

Check your tyre pressures. If needed, inflate to the recommended level. This information is in the car handbook and usually on the door pillar.

Ditch the air-con. If the temperature is bearable without air conditioning, leave it off.

Get in the right gear. If you drive a manual car – congratulations, you’re in the minority – then change into top gear as soon as possible.

Change your oil and air filter. Dirty oil lowers engine efficiency, as does a blocked filter.

Give your vehicle a wash. A dirty car is not as wind resistant as a vehicle with clean surfaces. Mud caked on wheel arches and across the roof can impact fuel efficiency.

Remove roof racks. If you don’t need them to cart bicycles or canoes, take them off and you might get a small boost in fuel efficiency.

Clean out your boot. You’ll probably need some gear for your trip, but remove that cricket set you’re not going to use and ditch the back catalogue of Kylie CDs. That extra weight is making your vehicle’s engine work harder.

Lastly, consider your start and arrival times. If you can avoid traffic jams by altering when you drive, you’ll trim your fuel bill.

But there’s something much more valuable than money: your life. So drive cautiously and get home safely this long weekend.


Words: VACC CEO, Geoff Gwilym. As featured in the Herald Sun 6 March 2020.

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