Q: I have heard gas prices are likely to go over $4 soon. I spent nearly $70 filling up my tank the other day and it’s hitting my wallet hard. Do you have any suggestions on what I can do to get more MPG?
Panic at the Pump in Texas
Dear Panic at the Pump,
A: You are not alone. Many are concerned about rising gas prices. There are several things you can do to improve your gas mileage. First, make sure your vehicle is maintained regularly. That can have an impact on how efficient it runs. For example, you save up to 3 percent by simply keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. Plus, properly inflated tires are safer and last longer. Also, the way you drive greatly impacts your fuel economy. If you are one to speed up and slow down a lot, you are also one who’s MPG is down a lot. Try to use cruise control whenever you can. Don’t race up to red lights only to slam on your brakes. Instead, coast and make the most of your fuel. Change your air filter regular. Clean out your car; that extra weight adds up to higher fuel costs. Last but not least, think ahead. By planning out your route a little, you could save a lot.
Ready to Buy?
For those thinking about a more fuel-efficient vehicle, there are more choices than ever – even for those who want a larger vehicle, truck or SUV. You can do research online or ask your local dealer about your various options. Not only are there electric and hybrid models, there are many manufacturer offering regular gasoline engine vehicles with as much as 40 MPG, as well.
Q: I am officially ready for Spring. What do I need to do to my car as we get ready for spring and warmer weather?
Ready for Spring in Texas
Dear Ready for Spring,
A: This is a great time to look at what you need to do to get your car back in shape. The best part is by taking a little time now, and perhaps a little money, you can save yourself a lot of trouble down the road.
First things first, take a look at the exterior. Now could be a great time to hand-wash your vehicle. Then you can look to see if winter driving left any damage behind. Are there scratches or chips? If so, you need to get some touch-up paint or take it to your local dealership to let them address those issues quickly. This will help ensure you don’t have any rust or future paint issues that tiny nick. It’s also a good ideal to give you wheels a good cleaning and look for any issues. Also, give your windows a good look over to see if there are any chips or cracks. If you repair them while there small, you can potentially avoid having to replace the whole windshield later. Speaking of your windshield, also check your wipers. With spring showers around the corner, this is definitely a good time to replace them, if needed.
Your interior can take a beating during the winter with all the moisture, mud and grime being trekked in and out day after day. If your carpets faced more than it’s fair share, it may need more than just a good vacuuming. Look to see (or smell) if it could use a good rug shampoo. The same goes for your cloth interior, too. If you have leather seats or vinyl, this is a good time to use a treatment that can help ensure your seats don’t dry out and crack, especially as the Texas temps heat up. Take a look outside. Is it hard to see? Give your windows a good wipe down and run a cloth over the entire interior to remove dust, etc.
Make sure you or you have all of the basics checked. Is it time to change the oil and filter? Does your car need a tune-up? Have you checked your coolant, cooling system and all your hoses and belts? Have you have your battery tested? There is no time like the present!
There is one thing between you and the road… your tires! It’s paramount that you make sure that they are in good condition. Look for any damage, such as cuts, nails or abnormalities in the tire. Also, with the season come changes in the temperature. That can often affect your tire’s pressure. It’s wise to always check and maintain the ideal pressure, but that’s especially true during temperature changes.