Category Archives: Car Tips

Top 5 Family Vehicles of 2021

If you’ve got a growing family, then you might have your eye on one of these top family vehicles. Some have refused to abandon all traces of sportiness and spirited performance, while others have focused purely on safety and cargo space. A long list of options seems to be the thread that runs through them all. Each one of these top-rated family vehicles provides optional features, powertrains, and packages.

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Top 5 Family Vehicles of 2021

2021 Subaru Forester

The 2021 Subaru Forester is one of the best all-around family vehicles. It has a subdued wagon body style but comes with standard all-wheel drive and a gutsy suspension system that hints at the prospect of an off-road adventure. You can easily accommodate all your family’s gear with 76.1 cubic feet of cargo volume – the most on this list.

The 2021 Subaru Forester doesn’t compete with stylish crossovers. Instead, it offers functionality. The Forester has 8.7 inches of ground clearance and an off-road traction mode that lends confidence to any frazzled parent with 5 screaming soccer players in tow. Plus, the thin roof pillars and low beltline offer more outward visibility than other family vehicles.

Configurations and Specs

The 2021 Subaru Forester comes in five configuration levels: Base, Premium, Sport, Limited, and Touring. Like almost all Subarus, all-wheel drive is standard on all trims.

All Forester models are powered by the identical 2.5-liter flat-four-cylinder engine which makes 182 horsepower and can tow 1500 lbs. A constantly variable automatic transmission (CVT) connects to Subaru’s trademark AWD system.

2021 Toyota Camry

Sedans aren’t nearly as popular as they were 10 years ago, but the Toyota Camry remains viable as a family vehicle for 2021. It provides options. There are 12 model trims for the mid-sized Camry. You can choose the powerful V6 engine, 4 cylinders, or even a hybrid. There’s a front-wheel drive or an all-wheel drive. Plus, you can run through an exhaustive list of accessories and packages.

At a Manufacturer’s Recommended Sale Price (MSRP) of $24,970, the 2021 Toyota Camry is the most affordable family hauler on this list. The exterior has been updated and refreshed for 2021. It’s edgier now with sharp lines cut across the frame. However, it still earns top safety marks for standard automatic emergency braking and exceptional crash test ratings.

Configurations and Specs

The 2021 Toyota Camry is a midsize sedan accessible in six configuration levels: LE, SE, SE Nightshade, XSE, XLE, and TRD. A four-cylinder and an accessible V6 engine are offered. You can also get all-wheel drive with the four-cylinder.

The base four-cylinder engine pairs with a slick eight-speed automatic, but its acceleration numbers are unsatisfactory. A less powerful version of this engine works with a battery and two electric motors in the Camry hybrid, which is not any more exciting to drive than the base model powertrain. The actual gem of the lineup is the 301-hp V-6 that is accessible on the XLE and XSE versions in addition to the TRD variant.

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2021 Toyota RAV4

According to auto sales statistics from CarSalesBase.com, the Toyota RAV4 is the top-selling SUV in the country. It has an attractive entry cost of $26,050. That’s not all that’s attractive about the RAV4 from Toyota. The RAV4 is stylish with beefy fenders, a sporty front grille, and dual chrome-tipped exhaust ports. There’s even a TRD off-road edition.

Beneath that stylish exterior is some important safety features. The 2021 RAV4 has blind-spot monitors, rear cross-traffic alerts, parking assistance, and 2 years of no-cost maintenance. There are advanced cameras and radar systems on the RAV4 that provide road sign recognition, lane-keeping functions, and pedestrian detection.

Configurations and Specs

The 2021 RAV4 is accessible in six configuration levels: LE, XLE, XLE Premium, Adventure, TRD Off-Road, and Limited. All include a 203-horsepower four-cylinder engine paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard on the majority of the configuration levels, and those provide all-wheel drive as an option. The Adventure and the TRD Off-Road come standard with an updated AWD system which may enhance traction on loose and slippery road surfaces.

2021 Audi e-tron

With an MSRP of $65,900, the 2021 Audi e-tron SUV is the priciest family hauler on this list. It’s a fully electric crossover that promises a luxurious ride quality and enough technology to impress a 14-year-old social media influencer. The Audi e-tron is ideal for people who like the idea of traveling 200 miles on a single charge but find the interior of a Tesla to be far too austere.

The interior of the Audi E-Tron SUV is a home away from home. The 2021 Audi E-Tron has supportive front seats for all-day driving and 57 cubic feet of cargo space. It runs whisper quiet and you’d be excused for having to double-check if the vehicle is actually turned on. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the 2021 Audi e-tron the rank of Top Safety Pick+.

Configurations and Specs

The new Premium trim, which now functions as the entry-level spec for the 2021 e-tron SUV. With the addition of the Premium spec, there are currently 3 configurations available for the 2021 e-tron SUV, namely – Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige.

Beneath the e-tron’s bodywork are two electric motors, one situated in the front axle and the other in the rear. Collectively they provide computerized all-wheel drive, but the rear engine does the majority of the work. In regular driving scenarios, they create a joint 355 horsepower and 414 lb-ft of torque. But, putting the transmission in Sport mode temporarily unlocks 402 ponies and 490 lb-ft.

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2021 Honda CR-V

The 2021 Honda CR-V is a value-packed crossover SUV that has a hybrid fuel economy and a cavernous interior. According to Car and Driver, the Honda CR-V ranked number #5 in auto sales for 2020. The CR-V isn’t big on performance or style, but most family-minded buyers aren’t looking for those features.

It might not look like it from the exterior, but the interior of the CR-V opens up to 75.8 cubic feet of cargo space with the second row folded down. There’s a hands-free power liftgate, a customizable cubby in the center console, and the CR-V is a real fuel sipper. It gets 28 miles per gallon in the city and the hybrid version of the CR-V rakes in 40 MPG.

Configurations and Specs

The 2021 Honda CR-V is offered in four configuration levels: the LX, EX, EX-L, and Touring. All include the turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine (190 horsepower, 179 lb-ft of torque) and a constantly variable automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is optional.

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Summing it Up

These are five of the top value family vehicles on the market today. As you can see, these vehicles don’t try to step on one another’s toes too much. You have specialists and all-arounders. There’s only one sedan on this list, but new families will certainly find other small vehicles to fill their needs. There’s also only one luxury vehicle in this list to reflect the current temperament of car buyers. In this economy, less is more.

Right now, the RAV4 has a vice grip on the family vehicle segment. The 2021 Toyota RAV4 has to be the winner of this group simply on the strength of new car sales alone. The value that Toyota has packed into the RAV4 will provide the benchmark for other automakers for years to come.

Eight Types of Alternative Fuels for Vehicles

With the impacts of climate change becoming increasingly hard to ignore, more and more environmentally conscious consumers shift to alternative fuel vehicles.

According to a 2012 survey by French multinational corporation Capgemini, only 15% of respondents worldwide said they would purchase an alternative fuel vehicle. Demand for ecologically sensitive cars has risen since then, with over 74,000 hybrid vehicles registered in Spain and almost 22,000 alternatively fueled cars sold in Switzerland in 2018.

Whether you want to save the environment or save on gas money, an alternative fuel vehicle may seem like the right choice. However, it’s important to remember that, just like other products, alternative fuel vehicles have several different types, many of which may not appeal to the kind of driver that you are.

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What is alternative fuel?

Alternative fuel is any fuel derived from a source other than petroleum. According to the US Department of Energy, most alternative fuels in the US are produced domestically and from renewable sources, meaning that the US is less dependent on other countries for oil. Countries worldwide view alternative fuels as a better option than diesel or gasoline in terms of air pollution.

Air pollution is a global problem, and the choice of fuel plays a significant part in it. Researchers from the International Council on Clean Transportation and two US universities found that around 385,000 people worldwide died prematurely in 2015 because of air pollution from vehicle exhaust emissions, and diesel vehicles caused 47% of the deaths.

Alternative fuels like ethanol, biodiesel, electricity, propane, hydrogen, and natural gas are attractive because they produce either fewer or no harmful air pollutants. Ethanol, produced from crops, produces less greenhouse gas than gasoline or diesel, while biodiesel, produced from animal fats and vegetable oils, produces fewer air pollutants than petroleum-based diesel. Propane and natural gas produce fewer air pollutants and greenhouse gases than gasoline, but hydrogen produces no harmful air pollutants. Electricity may seem like a great choice considering it would not cause any tailpipe emissions, but generating electricity would still produce greenhouse gases and pollutants.

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Types of alternative fuel vehicles

1. Hybrid

Gas-electric hybrids are cars that combine a gasoline engine with at least one electric motor to move the vehicle. The hybrid motor then replenishes by recapturing energy through a regenerative braking system. There are several versions of hybrids used for different purposes, such as maximum fuel savings. The first hybrid models, from Honda and Toyota, arrived in the US in 1999. Gas-electric hybrids are considered the most common alternative fuel vehicles, with over 50 models in the market.

2. Plug-in hybrid

Plug-in hybrids have larger batteries than gas-electric hybrids, allowing the cars to run on electricity alone for limited distances, generating zero emissions. A plug-in hybrid’s battery pack can be fully recharged when connected to an electric power source like one at a public charging station or at home. A larger battery makes it more expensive but worth the 15- to 55-mile driving range powered solely on electricity. A larger hybrid battery is especially useful for people who have a short commute and can recharge the car daily. If the car loses charge, it will run on gas.

3. All-electric

Electric vehicles run on battery power alone, which means it does not have a gas engine. The demand for electric cars has been growing since they were made available in 2010, but “range anxiety” prevents many from going fully electric. Drivers fear that they may end up driving too far, leaving them stranded before they can get to an electrical power source they can use to recharge their vehicle.

4. Biodiesel

Any car that operates on diesel can also use biodiesel. Biodiesel is usually made from a combination of resources such as vegetable oil, recycled restaurant grease, and animal fats. It burns more cleanly than petroleum-based fuels and is non-toxic, sustainable, and biodegradable. However, most biodiesel contains a mixture with conventional diesel fuel. Biodiesel has also shown to partly solidify in below-freezing temperatures and corrode rubber hosing and seals.

5. Flex-fuel

Flexible-fuel vehicles run on fuel mixtures that contain up to 85% ethanol, made from corn. These have become more common in the US since the government required more vehicles to use renewable fuels combined with gasoline. Unfortunately, ethanol has less energy than gas, causing drivers of flex-fuel vehicles to gas up more frequently than if they had a car fuelled by gas. Many also believe that the corn made for ethanol pushes up the cost of corn made for food.

6. Natural gas

Natural gas vehicles use either liquefied or compressed gas to run a mileage similar to gasoline vehicles but with cleaner emissions. In 2013, the US Department of Energy estimated that around 112,000 natural gas vehicles were in operation. In 2017, over three million natural gas vehicles were in service in India alone.

7. Fuel cell

Cars powered by fuel cells produce zero emissions and can be up to three times more efficient than vehicles powered by gas. The fuel cells can convert oxygen and hydrogen into electricity, powering the car’s electric motor. They have yet to become widely available because of the lack of hydrogen fueling stations and the high cost of the vehicles.

8. Propane

Propane, sometimes known as liquefied petroleum gas, is a by-product of crude oil refining and natural gas processing. Propane vehicles are easy to maintain and produce reduced emissions; propane itself costs significantly less than gasoline but must be kept in a pressurized tank.

Alternative Fuel Vehicles – Which One is Right For You?

While steam- and solar-powered vehicles continue to be tested and developed for efficient and sustainable travel, the current options among alternative fuel vehicles seem promising. Deloitte estimates that electric vehicle sales will reach 21 million in 2030, and battery electric vehicles will account for 70% of total electric cars that same year. The cost of manufacturing batteries will reportedly continue to fall, making saving the environment all the more comfortable to do.

10 Tips To Prepare For Winter Weather Driving

Winter weather presents both challenging outdoor conditions and potentially hazardous driving conditions. Cold temperatures, plus ice, snow, and freezing rain can cause slippery roads and wreak havoc on your vehicle if you’re not prepared. If you live in a place with moderate to severe winters, keep reading to find out 10 tips for winterizing your car, truck, or SUV.

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Get a Winterizing Service

One of the first things to do in preparation for winter weather is to take your car in for a winterizing service. If you have some mechanical ability, you can also do most of these things yourself. The main thing to get checked is your battery. Low temperatures decrease your battery power, which can make an already-weak battery have even more problems. The next areas to check include the following:

  • Cooling system and proper antifreeze ratio and levels
  • Brakes
  • Belts and hoses
  • Spark plugs
  • Windshield wipers

These are all things to keep on top of at any time in the year, but getting stranded far from home in cold and hazardous winter weather is far worse than in milder times of the year.

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Install Winter Tires or Studs

Not all places allow studded tires, or if they do, only for a certain period of time. Studs do help your tires grip the road better in ice or snow. Another option is winter tires. Non-winter tires tend to harden in below-freezing temperatures, which makes it more difficult for them to grip the road. Winter tires are designed with different compounds that resist hardening in freezing temperatures.

Winterize Your Wipers

In the service section, it was recommended that you check and replace wipers. However, you can go a step further and install winter wipers. Similar to winter tires, these wipers are designed with rubber compounds that resist ice-hardening the blades. Make sure to remove them in the spring, or whenever it stops freezing in your area, as the blades are heavier and can tax the wiper motor. Another step you can take is to use wiper fluid formulated for cold conditions, ice, and snow.

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Prepare a Winter Weather Safety Kit

Even if you don’t think you’ll be traveling long distances in bad weather, it’s a good idea to prepare a winter safety kit and keep it in your car for emergencies. You never know when you might get stuck on the road due to a sudden weather system coming in. The kit should contain the following items:

  • Jumper cables
  • Blankets
  • Water
  • Flashlight with good batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Road flares
  • Phone charger
  • Chains
  • Knit hat and gloves
  • Boots

Make Sure Your Gas Tank is at Least Half Full

In the winter, it’s more important to keep your tank at least half full. One reason is that having more gas in the tank resists condensation. The second reason is that if you get stuck in bad weather or snarled traffic due to bad weather, you can make it through without running out of gas. The third reason is that running your engine and the heater might be your only warmth if you get stranded and are waiting for help.

Check Your Tire Pressure Often

Changes of 10 degrees Fahrenheit in the outside temperature can mean a fluctuation in tire pressure of 1 PSI. It’s important to check your tire pressure more often in the winter for this reason. Look to your driver’s side door jamb for the correct cold PSI for your vehicle. Don’t go by the number on the tires, as that is simply the maximum load.

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Know Before You Go

Any time that you prepare to head out in winter weather, you should check the road and weather conditions. Temperature and precipitation can affect traction. For example, zero degree weather will give you better traction on ice or snow versus 32-degree weather. Higher winter temperatures make surfaces more slippery.

Have A Winter Weather Emergency Plan

Go over what to do if you ever get stuck in a winter storm. Don’t leave your car, as it may be your only available shelter. Put out road flares if necessary. Keep your dome lights on to attract attention. Don’t run your car engine for a long period of time, as it might cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

Drive Appropriately For Conditions

The majority of accidents in winter weather are caused by drivers who are not driving for conditions. Remember that you’ll need more stopping distance on slippery roads. Even if you have a 4WD, it won’t help you stop if you’re driving too fast. Driving slower will make it easier to stop. If you have a manual transmission, you can downshift for engine braking instead of using your brakes.

Know Your Vehicle and Carry Chains

Some vehicles are harder to drive in winter conditions than others. For example, if you own a two-wheel-drive pickup truck, you’ll want to keep something heavy in the bed to increase traction for the rear tires. Rear-wheel-drive sports cars are among the worst vehicles to drive in snow. If you don’t own a 4WD, it’s also a good idea to practice putting chains on your vehicle, so that you can do it in an emergency. Chains might be the only thing that can get you out of a hazardous situation. If you’re traveling a pass, you might encounter a chains-required order before you can get over it.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, if you can avoid traveling in hazardous winter weather, that’s the best choice. More vehicles on the road simply make conditions worse and also makes it harder for emergency crews to work. If you absolutely must go out, use the previous nine tips to be prepared. If you have a 4WD vehicle, take that instead of a car or 2WD pickup.

Everything You Need to Know About Shock and Strut Maintenance

When it comes to car maintenance, keeping your shocks and struts in proper working order is equally as important as maintaining your engine. After all, your suspension system is responsible for absorbing every bump in the road you come across while ensuring your car handles smoothly, consistently, and safely. A faulty shock or strut will not only make your suspension feel rough and jarring, but it can also lead to unsafe and unpredictable handling characteristics.

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What’s the Difference Between Shocks and Struts?

While the terms are often used interchangeably, shocks and struts have a slightly different function and design. Shocks are standalone components consisting of a hydraulic dampening system fitted into a tubular assembly. Struts are essentially shocks that also incorporate the mounting assembly which structurally connects the shock into your car’s suspension and chassis.

A strut integrates all of the necessary mounting hardware and structural braces into a single unit. With a shock, all of the chassis bracings is mounted externally to the shock assembly. Many cars use strut systems in their front suspensions for their space-saving design while using conventional shock designs in the rear, where there is more room to mount external braces.

What Is the Function of Your Shocks and Struts?

Your car sits atop four coil springs that allow the chassis, body, and everything inside to bounce up and down when you go over bumps. However, if your suspension consisted only of coil springs, your car would ride like a pogo stick. The springs would compress and rebound uncontrollably, bouncing your car around as you drove down the road.

Your shocks and struts counteract the bouncy nature of your spring-loaded suspension with hydraulic dampening circuits. The circuits are filled with shock fluid that essentially braces your springs against the weight of your car. The hydraulic resistance within the circuits absorbs the movement of your car as it tries to bounce up and down, smoothing out the ride.

Ideally, the dampening behavior leaves you with a smooth ride that absorbs bumps while keeping your car as flat and controlled as possible when you’re maneuvering around the road.

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How Do Bad Shocks and Struts Affect Your Car’s Performance?

As you can probably imagine, your shocks and struts take a lot of abuse from being constantly hammered against the road. As your shock fluid, seals, and dampening circuits become worn out, your suspension increasingly loses its ability to dampen your springs as they compress and rebound.

As a result, your car will start to ride harshly, while feeling more vague and imprecise when cornering. Large bumps and potholes will be more likely to throw your car off balance, and your steering will likely feel much less precise when changing lanes at highway speeds.

A set of healthy shocks and struts is imperative to ensure that your car delivers the consistent handling performance and comfort it was designed to offer.

Three Telltale Signs that Your Shocks and Struts Are Going Bad

You can diagnose some of the most common issues with your shocks and struts by simply going for a drive and paying close attention to how your suspension feels and sounds.

  1. Harsh Compression 

Worn-out shocks and struts can’t properly absorb and dampen the impact of big impacts. Your suspension will feel like it’s harsh or bottoming out as your shocks start to fail.

  1. Springy Rebound

Likewise, your shocks and struts can’t properly absorb and dampen the sharp rebound of your coil springs after hitting a big bump. Your car will start to feel like it’s bouncing down the road on bumpy or uneven roadways.

  1. Squeaks, Creaks, and Clunks

Your shocks and struts are designed to produce the minimum amount of internal friction possible. That helps ensure that they can actuate plushly and silently. As the shock seals and fluid wear down over time, your suspension tends to develop squeaks, clunks, and other unusual noises due to internal shock components coming into contact as the suspension actuates.

Don’t Neglect Your Shock and Strut Maintenance

If your car feels like it’s riding rough, or if you’re hearing any unusual squeaks or clunks ring out when you hit a bump, have your car inspected and repaired by a reputable suspension repair shop as soon as possible.

Buying a Car? How to Prioritize What’s Most Important

Owning a car isn’t just a luxury for many; in some areas, having a car is mandatory for working and performing day-to-day tasks. Because there are so many factors to consider when buying a car, the process can feel overwhelming. By taking some time to focus on your priorities and budgeting appropriately, however, you can ease the process. Here are some guidelines when you’re in the market for a new car.

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What’s Your Budget?

Before considering other factors, take some time to find out what you can comfortably afford. Buying a car adds a number of bills you’ll need to pay every month, and falling behind on payments can lead to significant financial problems in the future. Determine how much you can pay per month for your loan, and make sure to factor in insurance as well. Set aside some money each month for a fund to cover maintenance and repairs, and make sure to factor in how much you’ll need for gas each month. Fortunately, there are plenty of options, even at a low price point.

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Day-to-Day Needs

Next, think about what type of vehicle you need. For families, having enough seats for everyone to ride comfortably is a top priority. If you regularly transport items, make sure the vehicles you look at have enough space in the trunk or have fold-down seats. Other factors outlined below are important as well, but it’s essential that your new vehicle covers your needs on a day-to-day basis.

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Safety

Newer vehicles are significantly safer than their older counterparts, but models still vary. Before deciding that a particular vehicle might be the right choice for you, make sure to look up its safety rating. Some vehicles score well in driver safety but offer subpar ratings for passengers, so factor this in if you regularly transport other people. If you have a child who’ll also use your vehicle, take a close look at the rollover rating, as inexperienced drivers are more prone to rollovers than more experienced drivers.

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Fuel Efficiency

One of the biggest costs of vehicle ownership is gas consumption, and vehicles differ significantly. You may prefer pickup trucks for their convenience in hauling around large items, but their poor mileage might encourage you to instead consider a smaller crossover to save on fuel costs. If you’re also interested in reducing your impact on the environment, picking a hybrid model can also save on fuel money at the expense of a greater initial cost. Again, make sure to look at your budget. A less fuel-efficient vehicle may be the right choice for your needs, but make sure you can afford the added cost of driving.

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Comfort

Do you take long trips frequently? Are you prone to back and neck pain? Make sure to factor in comfort when comparing models. It can be difficult to determine how comfortable a car is without driving it for an extended period of time, but seats with more adjustment options offer extra versatility. When taking a test drive, it can be easy to focus on performance and lose track of comfort, but make sure to note how you feel when driving.

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Entertainment

For those who spend a lot of time in their cars, entertainment options can be important. A good sound system makes listening to music more enjoyable, and Bluetooth connectivity, along with Android Auto and Apple Carplay, makes streaming your own content much easier. If you have children, having a television they can watch can make trips a bit more tolerable for everyone. However, it’s worth noting that aftermarket options are often a smart investment, particularly if you’re looking at older models. Saving money on the initial cost and buying a new head unit can help you get a better deal and better entertainment options.

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Performance

Some drivers scoff at the idea of paying extra money for more horsepower, while others place a high priority on performance. Wherever you fall, make sure to factor performance into your budget. If you can afford a sportier car, you might find your daily commute to be a bit more fun. If you’re looking at value, however, sticking with a less powerful engine can save you money on your purchase, at the pump, and possibly on your insurance premium.

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Look and Feel

Making a chart and comparing various models can help you make a wise purchase. However, you’ll likely own your car for a few years at a minimum, and having a car you enjoy looking at and driving is important as well. After you’ve narrowed your list, make sure to consider how happy you think you’ll be with your car over the long term. You’re more likely to stick with a car you love for longer, which can save you money over the years.

Final Thoughts

Whether you need a car as soon as possible or are simply exploring what options are available, taking an organized approach can help you make the right decision. Focus on your day-to-day life, and make sure to think about your priorities. A bit of extra planning can go a long way to help you make the right purchase for you and your family.

Comparison of Regular, Midgrade, and Premium Fuel

It is normal to visit a local gas station and be confronted with a host of different fuels that may or may not be suitable for every car. A driver probably knows exactly which kind of fuel their car needs, at least until he or she is confronted with the words’ regular’ and ‘premium.’ Would one be doing their car a disservice for purchasing the cheaper gas, or would the premium fuel not benefit it anyway?

Because the difference between regular and premium fuel isn’t immediately obvious, many car owners tend to spend too much at the pump. For a person who always seems to second guess which type of fuel to fill their car with, it is time to read up on octane.

Engines use these different octanes of fuel in different ways. This article describes how a fuel becomes “regular” or “premium”, the differences between grades of gasoline, and how to choose which one is best for any specific vehicle.

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What is octane?

Octane is the measure of a fuel’s ability to withstand compression before igniting.

Most internal combustion engines, or ICEs, are powered by a four-stroke cycle. The first step involves the intake valve opening up while the piston goes down, allowing air and fuel into the cylinder. The piston going back up then compresses the mixture of air and fuel, causing temperature and pressure to rise. In the third step, the spark plug ignites the mixture, essentially powering the car. In the fourth step, the piston pushes the remaining combusted mixture out of the exhaust port. The higher a person’s car’s octane rating, the more heat and pressure the fuel can withstand before igniting. This means the car would be less likely to combust at the wrong time.

Mistimed combustion is called “pre-ignition.” It is also often called an engine knock because it can sound like a knock. If a person hears a knock from their engine now and then, it might not be cause for concern, but constant knocking may harm the car’s engine. Many more cars are now outfitted with knock sensors meant to prevent the occurrence of engine knock by changing the timing of spark plugs. If changing the fuel does not relieve the car of constant knocks, it is time to take it to a mechanic.

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Choosing between octane ratings

Gas stations list octane ratings in large black numbers on a yellow background. Unleaded gasoline can usually be categorized into regular (87), midgrade (88-90), and premium (91-94). There may even be fuels named “special,” “ultra,” or “super.” If the fuel descriptions are too confusing, look for the listed octane ratings. The best way to determine which fuel would work for a car is by reading the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations in the owner’s manual.

Most vehicles that run on gas are made to run on 87 octane, while engines that use a higher compression ratio require higher octane fuels. Cars that run on premium fuel can run on lower-octane fuel, but it may hinder them from reaching their full potential.

It is important to remember that different states have different laws about which octane ratings can be labeled as regular, midgrade, premium, or anything else. Gas listed as regular is normally the cheapest, while the most expensive would be labeled premium. If a person has already checked their owner’s manual and the recommendations do not list any specific octane rating, they may want to test fuels with different octane ratings and see how they affect the vehicle’s performance. One can do this by emptying the vehicle’s gas tank as much as possible, filling it up with the gas they want to test, and taking note of how it performs throughout their travels. If the changes observed aren’t that significant, he may want to rethink shifting to premium gas.

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Why a person might want to consider regular gas

Regular unleaded gas is normally cheaper than premium gas by around 15 to 20 cents per gallon. It might not seem like much at first, but for a person who drives frequently, the savings compared to midgrade or premium fuel could add up to more than a hundred dollars a year. There is no reason to force a car to run on a more expensive fuel just because premium is synonymous with ‘superior.’

According to the Federal Trade Commission, using premium gas will not benefit a car if it does not require a higher octane to begin with. It will not give a vehicle better gas mileage or a cleaner gas tank, and it won’t allow the vehicle to suddenly travel at a much higher speed.

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Why a person might want to consider midgrade gas

Very few cars require midgrade fuel. Data from the US Energy Information Administration shows that only 7% of the gasoline Americans buy is midgrade. A big chunk of American gas money goes to regular fuel at 83%, while 10% goes to premium. The Federal Trade Commission recommends shifting from regular to midgrade if a driver hears a constant knocking in their engine. This could also slightly increase fuel economy. However, if midgrade fuel doesn’t do the trick, it probably isn’t the answer.

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Why a person might want to consider premium gas

Manufacturers recommend premium gas for cars with high-compression engines, but unless the manufacturer requires premium gas, most auto experts agree that using regular gas wouldn’t do any harm. If a car is required to use premium gas, the owner should not switch to a lower octane because it might decrease the engine’s efficiency and emissions control system through engine knocking. Defying a car’s required octane level may also void the car’s warranty.

In terms of the environment, engines that run on higher octane are also able to release less harmful emissions. A study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology even found that more widespread use of higher octane fuels and engines would lead to a cut in America’s annual carbon dioxide emissions by 35 million tons.

The verdict

It is common to want to spoil one’s car and go for more expensive fuel, but the price of premium gas has nothing to do with how well a certain octane will work with a vehicle. While the world awaits more environmentally friendly fuels and engines, drivers should take care of their car and take note of its performance on the selected fuel. When in doubt, a local mechanic can also help guide on fuel selection.

Comparison of Vehicle Drivetrains (4×4, AWD, FWD, RWD)

Every car has a drivetrain. If you’re thinking of purchasing a new car, you’re going to have to consider whether you want a front-wheel-drive (FWD), rear-wheel drive (RWD), four-wheel drive (4WD or 4×4), or all-wheel drive (AWD).

The subject of drivetrains doesn’t have to be complicated, especially if you understand each type of drivetrain’s pros and cons. The kind you choose can affect how your vehicle performs in different conditions, considering the drivetrain is composed of everything between the engine and wheels that help drive the wheels. The motor transmits power to the car’s transfer case, which sends that power to the wheels. The drivetrain is not to be confused with the powertrain, the latter of which contains every component that generates electricity for the car’s movement.

You’ve probably already seen each of the different drivetrains in action and hadn’t noticed. Most standard cars have FWD, while many sports cars, trucks, and SUVs have an RWD. Some SUVs could have an AWD, and lots of trucks are 4×4. However, no vehicle can have more than one type of drivetrain, so it’s crucial that you choose which would suit you best at the outset.

Historically, many vehicles were rear-wheel-drive, whereas today we are seeing an increase in the number of all-wheel-drive vehicles. How does each one work? Which is best for a vehicle? This article answers those questions and more, related to vehicle drivetrains.

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Front-wheel drive (FWD)

FWD cars have engines that send power to the front wheels. The FWD was first created in the 1900s, gained popularity in the 1930s, and entered the mainstream in the 1970s when manufacturers used it for small economy cars. Most new vehicles today are FWD. Because the front wheels pull the vehicle, the rear wheels don’t get any power.

One advantage of having an FWD car is that they’re usually more spacious. The way the manufacturer installs the drivetrain under the vehicle allows for more legroom or trunk space in place of components. At the same time, they’re lighter than other drivetrains and have the most weight-bearing on the front wheels making the car more balanced for traction and braking. The weight of the engine on the front wheels improves the tires’ grip on the road. This feature is especially handy in snowy weather or on rough roads, and with the right winter tires, it can weather the winter better than RWDs.

Because of their superior traction, FWD cars are fuel-efficient and emit less carbon dioxide, no matter the engine size. FWDs usually are less expensive than others because the manufacturers create front-wheel-drive powertrains as one piece instead of needing many parts.

The handling of FWDs can be quite tricky at high speeds, such as when turning corners and FWDs tend to torque steer, which is when the car drifts to the left or right upon hard acceleration. The good news is that electronic traction control can solve these problems.

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Rear-wheel drive

RWD cars have engines that send power to the rear wheels. Because RWD is the oldest kind of drivetrain, most classic cars are of this type. With RWD cars, the front wheels focus on steering because the rear wheels are the ones that receive all the power. Unlike FWDs, RWDs can work with engines either at the front, back, or middle of the car.

Most sports cars and luxury vehicles have RWD because the drivetrain allows for a better balance of weight. The more even distribution of weight throughout the base of the car also improves handling, making it easier for drivers to focus on how the vehicle performs instead of avoiding obstacles. Race cars benefit from the extra weight at the rear because it helps push the car forward. RWD cars can also tow trailers because the added weight adds to the RWD’s traction.

The biggest drawback of RWD cars is their inferior traction. In poor weather conditions and on slippery roads, they can lose traction and make the vehicle hard to control.

4×4 Drivetrains

4×4 cars, like AWDs, have drivetrains that can transfer power from the engine to all four wheels equally. 4×4 vehicles have all four wheels powered by the engine, while a car that is described as a 4×2 would mean it only two of its four wheels are powered by the engine, making it either a front- or rear-wheeled vehicle. 4x4s usually are more expensive than 4×2 vehicles.

The traction of 4x4s is superior, whether on unfavorable road surfaces. With all four wheels pulling the vehicle, 4x4s can maintain forward momentum in dry sand or muddy soil. If a couple of tires suddenly lose traction, the remaining tires can still pull the car forward. This feature acts as both a boon and a bane, considering that handling on normal roads can become difficult with a 4×4.

Most modern 4x4s offer a part-time system where they can operate as a two-wheel drive under normal driving conditions, helping conserve fuel. However, full-time 4x4s don’t provide this feature.

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All-wheel drive

An AWD is similar to a 4×4 but has a system that automatically shifts power between the car’s front and rear wheels. AWDs power all of the vehicle’s wheels all of the time by sending power from the engine to the differential in the center of the car. The differential then sends the power evenly to the front and rear axles depending on several factors, including road conditions and traction. 4x4s, on the other hand, sends power to all four wheels for maximum traction without considering these factors. If one or two of your tires lose traction and start slipping, the AWD can detect this and transfer more power to the tires that still have a better grip on the road, improving the car’s fuel economy.

AWDs, which can be used by crossovers and cars, is entirely automated, so drivers of these kinds of vehicles don’t have to provide any input for the mechanism to work.

Which drivetrain is best?

The most popular of drivetrains is the FWD. Market research company MarketsandMarkets estimates that the FWD segment will lead the automotive drivetrain market at a value of $140.01 billion by 2021. However, that doesn’t mean it’ll be best for you. Consider every type of drivetrain, take your driving habits into account, and then take the time to think about it.

2019 Nissan Altima Maintenance Schedule

To maintain your 2019 Nissan Altima sedan and keep it running in tip-top shape for many years to come, Nissan recommends keeping up with routine factory-recommended maintenance. To help you keep on top servicing, I will highlight the 2019 Nissan Altima maintenance schedule to make certain you understand exactly the kinds of services you will need. By following the maintenance schedule for your 2019 Nissan Altima, you can trust that your vehicle will perform well on every trip.

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Understanding Your 2019 Nissan Altima Maintenance Schedule

In regards to your 2019 Nissan Altima, how you care for your car makes a big difference in its performance. If you put in the effort to keep up with appropriate maintenance, your Altima could be on the road well beyond the 200,000-mile mark. Not an expert in what services your 2019 Nissan Altima needs and when? No problem. Rather than waiting for a problem to appear with your Altima, you can stay ahead of problems before they even start. Rely on the suggested maintenance schedule that has been created for your 2019 Nissan Altima sedan!

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What to know

The recommended 2019 Nissan Altima maintenance schedule is put together by Nissan, your automobile manufacturer. Based on driving conditions and climate in your region (and other contributing factors, like your own personal travel habits), your car’s scheduled maintenance needs can vary; however, recommended maintenance generally includes services like oil changes, tire rotations, brake pad replacement, filter changes, and fluid checks and exchanges. Keeping up with regular service appointments is an excellent way to maintain your 2019 Altima, reduce your risk of dangerous malfunctions on the street, and help you avoid costly repairs.

How it works

Breaking your maintenance schedule down by mileage is the simplest type of measurement when determining your vehicle’s service requirements. The services which correspond with each mileage mark ought to be repeated each time you accrue that number of mileage in your 2019 Nissan Altima. Let’s see which sort of services need to be performed and at what intervals now that you know the intricacies of your maintenance schedule.

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2019 Nissan Altima Maintenance Schedule Service Intervals

To get the most from your car or truck, it’s very important to stick to the regular maintenance schedule. Nissan has set a service program for the Altima that calls for a trip every 5,000 miles. The necessary services for various mile markers are given below.

2019 Nissan Altima Service Intervals

  • 5,000 Miles – At your first service, you will want to get an oil change and have your oil filter replaced. It’s also an excellent time to have your tires rotated so they will wear evenly. During this visit, the factory-trained Nissan technicians also inspect the brake pads, rotors, steering gear and linkage, axles, suspension components, front driveshaft boots, and exhaust system.
  • 10,000 Miles – During this visit, you should have your brake fluid replaced and your braking system (lines, rotors, drums, pads, and cables), transmission oil, differential oil, drive shaft boots, and transfer case oil all inspected and replaced, if necessary.
  • 15,000 Miles – At this service interval, you’ll need to have your Nissan Intelligent Key battery and in-cabin microfilter replaced.
  • 30,000 Miles– During this visit, you’ll want to look into getting your CVT Fluid replaced.
  • 40,000 Miles– When you reach this mileage, you’ll want your engine mounting insulator (NV200 Taxi only) and manual transmission oil replaced.
  • 60,000 Miles– At this point in your service journey, you’ll need more extensive service checks. You’ll need your air filter and engine filter replaced, your drive belts and fuel lines looked at, your car battery replaced, and your brake pads and brake fluid checked.

See 2019 Nissan Altima Owners Manual for a complete service schedule.

How often should you change the oil?

If you drove old vehicles, you may remember having to get your oil changed every 3,000 miles. No more! If you drive a 2019 Nissan Altima or a current model year, you may have your oil changed between 5,000 and 10,000 miles. If you are still behind the wheel of an older Nissan model, our support staff can make an appointment to see you every 3,000 miles to keep your vehicle operating at its very best. If you’re not certain where your vehicle falls on the regular oil change program, contact us now.

Factors that affect your oil change schedule

Did you know that the weather plays a part in your oil change schedule? That, together with driving style, can change how many times you want an oil change. From extremely hot temperatures to towing heavy equipment to driving on dusty streets or idling for extended periods, various things that affect your car’s need for an oil change or other maintenance.

If you’re not sure where your 2019 Altima falls on the routine oil change schedule, contact your local Nissan dealer.

Where to service your 2019 Nissan Altima

The average brand-new car costs more than $28,000, so customers can not afford to rely on anyone aside from a top professional. New car dealerships provide the highest level of specialized training, state of the art equipment and factory specified parts to secure your investment.

Money

Nissan spends significant money on constant training to make sure that technicians are up-to-date on your 2019 Nissan Altima sedan. Nissan technicians are certified, they have the newest tools to be able to best serve your vehicle and independent shops don’t.

Equipment

Today’s technicians have to be electronic experts in addition to good mechanics. That is why your dealership offers the most experienced technicians in the automotive repair industry. Some diagnostic equipment for today’s cars can cost over $100,000. Your dealership is required to buy & use this gear and maintain computer links to factory service specialists. Small repair shops can’t afford this equipment.

Parts

Only new car dealers have to carry a list of parts to cover all repairs to the cars and trucks they sell, assuring customers fast repairs and OEM parts. A dealer’s reputation is dependent upon customer satisfaction, that is why dealerships ensure their repairs. Additionally, original parts also carry extra manufacturer warranties.

Comparison of Conventional Motor Oil and Synthetic Motor Oil

All vehicles consume oil, but how often one needs to change their car’s oil depends on two factors: the car’s engine design and the operator’s driving style. When the time comes to take a car to the auto shop for an oil change, the mechanic may ask the car owner whether the oil should be replaced with conventional, traditional motor oil, or synthetic oil.

Once only common among high-performance cars, synthetic oil has quickly taken hold of the majority of new and old vehicles. According to the 2018 National Oil and Lube News annual survey, more than half of car owners have now chosen synthetic or synthetic blends when changing their oil. Nonprofit consumer organization Consumer Reports also found that around 70% of new cars in the 2019 model year were filled with either fully synthetic or blended oil. Automakers such as Honda are not making synthetic oil a requirement for their engines, but they do use synthetic oil to improve engine efficiency.

The question is, does switching to synthetic motor oil positively impact all cars?

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How motor oil works

Often referred to as the lifeblood of vehicles, motor oil lubricates the engine’s key components, protecting them from corrosion and keeping them cool. Most of the oil is normally composed of a base oil made of petroleum, synthetic chemicals, or a blend of both that acts as the main lubricant. The rest of the oil is composed of additives that dictate the oil’s viscosity.

As the engine oil enters the car’s engine, it circulates around the car’s engine oil pump, pickup tube, oil filter, and pressure relief valve, among others. By doing this, it coats the components to prevent excessive friction between them. At the same time, the oil can clear the engine of dust and dirt.

Eventually, the oil can break down and clog the oil filter with contaminants. Oil can also get stuck in the combustion chamber, or evaporate in the exhaust valve due to high temperatures. While oil consumption largely depends on the make of each vehicle, drivers also play a part in how often their car oil needs to be changed because more oil is consumed when the speed of the engine increases. There is no denying that every vehicle’s oil needs regular changing, but things can get a bit confusing when deciding between traditional and synthetic oil.

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The difference between traditional and synthetic oil

Traditional oil is refined from the naturally-occurring, unrefined petroleum product of crude oil, while synthetic oil is artificially created from chemical compounds meant to mimic the best aspects of crude oil. Synthetic oil can be sold as either fully synthetic or as a blend made of multiple base oils. Full synthetic oils are made without petroleum and have additives to aid in the oil’s degradation, while synthetic blends add a bit of the protection of full synthetic oils while still using conventional oil. The American Petroleum Institute classifies base oils into five categories, with the first three of those refined from petroleum crude oil, the fourth category covering full synthetic oils, and the fifth category for every other base oil.

Which is better?

For individuals who may have trouble choosing between traditional and synthetic oils, here’s a quick comparison between the two. It is important to note that additives may have a significant effect on an oil’s performance, so do not forget to look past the base oil and look into which additives each oil offers and how they can benefit the vehicle.

Synthetic oils are less prone to chemical degradation than traditional oils. When exposed to water contamination, extreme heat, fuel contamination, and other dangerous conditions, traditional oil may degrade and cause corrosion. It can turn into sludge and deposits, reducing the engine’s efficiency. It can also evaporate in the engine’s exhaust stream due to heat. Synthetic oil can withstand many of these conditions because it has better oxidation and high-temperature stability, protecting against breakdown.

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Viscosity

Synthetic oils have a higher viscosity index than traditional oils. Traditional oils can become thick when extremely cold, causing the oil to become stuck and preventing it from circulating in the engine, adding to the possibility of engine failure. Synthetics, on the other hand, can handle temperature changes better, allowing the oil to remain thin and continue coating the components to prevent excessive friction.

Cost

Synthetic oil is generally viewed as more expensive than traditional oil. However, prices vary based on a specific oil’s brand and formulation. In 2019, the American Automobile Association (AAA) reported that five quarts of traditional oil cost around $28, while five quarts of full synthetic oil cost around $45. When including the cost of labor, an oil change with the former will cost approximately $38, rising to $70 with the latter. However, in the long term, the performance of synthetic oil can make up for the difference in price, considering synthetic oils can last up to 25,000 miles.

On the other hand, traditional motor oil must be changed every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. For a person who may be worried about the cost but wants the benefits offered by synthetic oils, synthetic blends can perform better than traditional oil at a lower price point than full synthetics, but the change isn’t too significant. Experts recommend going fully synthetic instead of resorting to blends.

When to use a synthetic oil

Because synthetic oil can withstand extreme conditions, it is generally recommended for high-performance engines like those used in motorsports and those in luxury cars. Engines in extreme conditions like brutal cold and environments with hilly or mountainous terrain may benefit from certain synthetic oils. Synthetic can protect against damage from high ambient temperatures and long but slow trips carrying a heavy load, like that experienced by towing. Auto enthusiasts hoping for long engine life for their vehicle may also want to switch to synthetic.

Check the manual

Most vehicles today can run on either traditional or synthetic oil, but the best step to take is to consult the owner’s manual for the car before making the switch. If a vehicle owner fails to follow the auto manufacturer’s recommendations, the vehicle’s warranty may become void. This means the vehicle may not be covered by the automaker in case of engine failure, even if the change in oil isn’t part of the problem.

11 Simple Tips to Save Big on Gas

This article provides a set of 11 tips to reduce fuel consumption. Most are simple to implement even for those without too much knowledge about cars. The tone is rather informal and even the more technical explanations are light on jargon.

Few sticker shock experiences are as ubiquitous and as stubbornly unfair as those we encounter at the gas stations. Even if the current prices may be on the low side, it’s only a matter of time before they shoot up again and properly drain your wallet.

Now, we know there’s more to car ownership costs than gas, but it’s usually the bit that hurts the most as you get stuck with it again and again. Shaving even a little on that bill really adds up, especially if you cover a lot of miles each year.

Maybe getting a new, more modern, and economical car could be the best solution, but the idea of dropping $20k on a new car doesn’t really sound appealing? Well, read on.

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Tips to Reduce Fuel Consumption

This advice takes some work and dedication to implement, but once you get the hang of it, you can save up to 25% on gas! Oh, and not to mention – by slashing your fuel consumption, you’re also doing your part in going green as your car will emit less carbon dioxide. Welcome to the world of hypermiling!

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1. Drive without brakes

This is the simplest tip from the list, and it doesn’t really require much practical skill to do. It will make your driving safer and more comfortable for your passengers. If you see the light turning red, let off the gas and slowly roll to the light instead of driving up to the stop and then braking. Your car will automatically cut off fuel delivery, so you’ll be coasting for free!

With practice, you’ll also be able to time your coasts so that you arrive just as the light turns green without even stopping at the light. This practice is also easier on your brakes, saving you some pennies on maintenance costs. It doesn’t harm your car at all! Do the same with traffic – if you feel the person in front is going to slow down or brake, let off the throttle.

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2. Slim down to help reduce fuel consumption

No, not you – your car. If you’re in the habit of using your car as a storage container, consider this: for every 100 pounds of weight you remove from the car, you can gain about 2% in fuel economy. On average, this amounts to some $400 per 100k miles, which isn’t much, but it’s so simple to do.

3. Accelerate harder (but not too hard)

Many people associate hypermiling with slow drivers that hog up the road and cause traffic jams. This is false – if you drive properly. It is a common misconception that slow acceleration saves gas, but the truth is just the opposite.

Internal combustion engines, like the one in your car, operate most efficiently under a certain rev and throttle range. It turns out that feathering the gas pedal is actually pretty inefficient. Accelerating is just like removing a band-aid: you’re going to use fuel, and it’s going to hurt, but it’s best to do it at once.

When you need power, a rule of thumb is to press the pedal to about 80% of travel and shift just before peak torque, at about 3,500 rpm. Even though the instant fuel consumption will be abysmal, you’re actually producing more power per drop of fuel, which is very efficient. Of course, keep tip #1 in mind!

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4. Cruise in high gear

Once you’re up to speed, keep the revs low. Your car doesn’t need much power when you’re at a steady speed, and the lower the revs, the lower the friction and pumping losses which sap fuel. Try shifting into 5th gear as soon as you hit 40 mph – as long as your engine isn’t lugging, everything’s alright. When you need more power, just downshift if you’re driving a stick or press the gas pedal harder for kick-down to… well, kick in.

5. Go manual to help reduce fuel consumption

Driving a stick for efficiency reasons nowadays is a lot more controversial than just a decade ago. The days of bad autos with sluggish performance are long gone. Modern automatics post really good mileage figures, but manuals still allow for more control over the car.

You can upshift earlier and downshift when you need more power. Manuals are also easier to maintain and cheaper to fix if something goes wrong. Plus, with manuals, you get higher miles per gallon.

6. Idle less

Stuck at a long traffic light? Waiting for that friend you know will be late? Shut the engine off! Idling engines can burn up to 1 gallon of fuel per hour, which is especially wasteful as you aren’t moving at all. All stops longer than 15 seconds are good candidates for this technique but make sure your battery is in good condition and that this practice is legal in your area.

7. Drive slower (but only a bit)

At speeds of over 65 mph, wind resistance starts to play a much larger part of your overall fuel consumption. The vehicle will have to work harder to fight against the air. This relationship is exponential: the faster you go, the higher the impact. The average car is 23% less efficient at 75 mph compared to 55, but the difference between 65 and 55 is only 8%.

Don’t worry, you won’t be getting any slower. If you follow tip #4, you should get up to speed quickly, which means your average speed will be about the same, and thus – your trip time will, as well.

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8. Keep your engine warm

Winter conditions can be harsh on cars. Salt on roads can cause rust and corrode brake lines, and all moving parts suffer due to worse lubrication. Engines are no different, and the computer in your car will pump more gas to warm up your engine. Why does this matter, you ask?

There’s a method that’s easy both on your car and your wallet: If you have to run errands when it’s cold outside, it’s best to make the longest trip first. This will allow the engine to warm up properly, and subsequent shorter trips will be done when the engine is relatively warmer. This will considerably bump up your mileage, not to mention reduce the risk of engine damage.

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9. Go easy on the AC to help reduce fuel consumption

Count yourself blessed if you don’t have to deal with scorching heat – though perhaps it beats shoveling snow – but for the rest of us, AC is the fact of life from June to August.

But if you’re feeling especially thrifty, and fancy a sauna experience, you might want to dial down the AC and go old-school instead. AC on full-blast can bomb your mileage by up to 25%, so you might want to consider cracking your windows instead to create a nice flowing breeze. It’s not the greatest alternative, but it’s worth it if you’re driving in town.

However, don’t sacrifice your comfort and safety for the sake of money. If you’re feeling too hot, always run your AC to stay focused. You can make your AC more economical by running it on recirculate as much as possible. This will cool the air that’s already inside, which is presumably colder than the outside air. The compressor will have to work less and thus use less gas. Also, when you enter the car after it’s baked thoroughly in the sun, open the doors and let it air out first. Interior temperatures can get dangerously high!

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10. Pulse & Glide

Now for the most advanced technique. It’s not something to be done lightly, and in some jurisdictions, it can even be a traffic offense. It is best used in cars with shorter top gears. The method is fairly simple to grasp: Say you want to go 55 mph. Accelerate a few miles above the desired speed, to 60 or 65 (the pulse), and then switch into neutral until the car slows down to about 45 (the glide). Rinse and repeat. More advanced drivers will shut the engine off during the glide to eke out more savings, but be careful as you might lose your power steering and brakes!

This works because, as I said in tip #4, the car is most efficient when accelerating. By using pulse & glide, you’re spending less time in the very inefficient, light load mode that is highway cruising. And why neutral? Because your car will glide much longer when it’s out of gear.

11. Drive less

Save 100% on your gas bill! This is the most effective way of saving gas, although probably the least popular. Consider walking or riding a bike, particularly for shorter trips. These trips are more fuel-inefficient than longer journeys, but it’s also healthy and good for your budget.