Let’s face it, getting your car prepared for the winter can be costly. From tune-ups to winter tire maintenance, the colder season can take a toll on your wallet. Unfortunately, the cold weather also affects your vehicle’s fuel efficiency, which will likely cause you to spend more on gas than in the warmer seasons. Tests show that when the temperature drops from 24 degrees to 7 degrees Celsius, your fuel consumption increases by 12% to 28%. Furthermore, your vehicle works extra hard to trek through the rough weather conditions our province dishes out. Luckily, isure has some tips on how you can save on gas this winter. By slightly adjusting your day-to-day routine, you can save money in various ways.
1. You may not need to “warm up” your car
For years, people have adapted to starting their car to “warm up” the engine before getting behind the wheel, generally in the morning. Though idling a vehicle does warm it up, it isn’t as effective as it once was. Instead, this method drains your gas tank more quickly. In many situations, your car and engine warm up much faster when driving on the road. Newer vehicles, especially those with push-to-start engines, generally begin warming up within 30 seconds of starting. If you have an older vehicle, you still may want to idle a little bit, but no longer than two or three minutes. Not only will this help you save on gas this winter, but your vehicle’s heating system will start sooner. On top of this, less idling means less emissions AND less chance of having your car stolen from your driveway. Never leave an idling car unattended!
2. Regularly check your vehicle’s tire pressure
As mentioned above, when the temperature drops, so does your tire pressure! Whenever the temperature drops by -12 degrees Celsius, your tire pressure will drop by 1 PSI (pound-force per square inch.) For every PSI, your vehicle’s fuel economy drops roughly 0.4 percent. This results in your vehicle going through fuel much quicker. Driving with under-inflated tires is also extremely dangerous, as you’re at high risk of losing control and skidding on icy roads. Additionally, you are risking a tire blowout altogether. This is why it is crucial to check your tire pressure often, especially in the winter months. For a more accurate reading, check them in the morning when the tires are cold and your vehicle hasn’t been driven.
3. Park in your garage if you have one to save on gas this winter
If you have a garage or warmer parking area accessible, use it! By parking your car in a warmer spot overnight, the slightly higher temperature will increase your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. It will also keep the interior of your vehicle slightly warmer due to the temperature increase. When the temperature drops, your engine fluids become more thick. This results in your vehicle using more energy to thin out your engine fluid and lubricate its parts. A bonus is that you’ll save yourself a few minutes out in the cold since you don’t need to remove snow from your car!
4. Remove excess weight/accessories from your car
A lot of people tend to leave their vehicle accessories on during the winter. This includes bulky items in the car or bike/ski racks on the roof or rear. As you can imagine, this will increase the weight of your vehicle significantly. This results in your vehicle using much more fuel to get from point A to point B. We know clearing out your vehicle can be a hassle, but it’s worth doing to save on gas this winter.
5. Get a winter tune-up and other maintenance
Everybody knows that a well-tuned vehicle is much more efficient on gas, especially in the winter. It also handles and functions better, and is easier on the environment. By making sure your vehicle is running as best as it can, you will ensure the best mileage for your car. Make sure to take a look at your battery, wheel alignment, and oil. Furthermore, you can (and should) get a professional to check out your tire pressure and other routine maintenance.
6. Be extra cautious on the road to help save on gas this winter
We all know how important it is to be extra careful during the winter road conditions. However, another reason to take extra precautions is to help you save more money. Excessive driving, as well as hard braking, can take a toll on both your vehicle and your gas tank. Make sure to adjust your speed accordingly when possible, or avoid driving altogether! Not only will it likely save you some money, but it will also ensure your safety.
7. Make fewer trips to save on gas this winter
When the weather is bad, you’re going to want to stay off of the roads as much as you can. This will also allow you to save on gas this winter! If you have multiple errands to run throughout the week, try to get all of them done in one trip. If possible, try to go to stores and stops close to each other. This will allow your engine to keep warm, thus saving you gas.
We hope our tips on how to save on gas this winter help you to cut costs during these colder months. Remember, now is the perfect time to make sure you are pleased with your current car insurance company, as well. If not, give us a call! We will find you the best rates in the province and provide customer service that cannot be beaten! Contact us or get a quote today.