LEESBURG, Va.Shopping smart and traveling economically are the two major buzz phrases for this holiday season. As thousands will be opting to take to the road instead of the air for their annual visit to grandmothers house, Joel Burrows (The Car Doctor), vice president of training/R & D at Precision Tune Auto Care in Leesburg, Va., has timely advice to help commuters save money at the gas pumps this holiday season.
1. Keep tire properly inflated (recommended air pressure is posted on the drivers door or in the glove compartment). Under-inflated tires cause drag; over-inflated tires cause improper tire-to-road contact. Both conditions will result in abnormal wear.
2. Plan your day. Limit trips by running all errands at the same time or on your way to or from work.
3. Have a certified technician perform an engine and emissions analysis to ensure that the engine is running at maximum efficiency.
4. Avoid making quick starts or stops. To avoid jamming on brakes, stay a safe distance from the car in front of you. When possible, slow down simply by taking your foot off the gas.
5. Maintain steady speeds; use cruise control on the open road.
6. If you are in warm climates, do NOT use your air conditioner when driving in the city. DO use your air conditioner on the open road rather than keeping windows open. (Open windows create wind drag, straining the engine.)
7. Use proper octane fuel. Higher-octane gas, which produces less energy, not only costs more, it also yields lower miles per gallon.
8. Dont let the engine idle more than a minute or two. This is extremely important on cold morning start-ups.
9. Todays vehicles run on a fine film of fluids. Make sure you service all fluids on a regular basis and in accordance with the manufacturers recommendations. Engine oil level should be checked at every fill-up.
10. Use overdrive gear for highway driving.
For added piece of mind, The Car Doctor suggests an engine and emissions analysis to ensure there are no problems and that the engine is running at maximum efficiency. This, too, helps reduce your fuel bill. And for safety, he recommends bringing a cell phone and road map.