Car maintenance

General maintenance is an important part of keeping the cost to own a car low.

The cost of car ownership is on the rise again this year, according to a new report from AAA. And if you’re a family on a budget or a senior on a fixed income, you may feel the impact already.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. From avoiding unnecessary insurance costs to reducing pain at the pump, savvy drivers can take practical steps to make driving a more economical mode of transport:

• Shop around for better insurance rates. If you have a good driving record, talk to your insurance company about reducing your premium. And if you are a senior and take a refresher course in driver safety specifically designed for seniors, you may be able to negotiate lower insurance rates.

• Make sure your tires are inflated to the correct pressure as indicated on the sticker on the inside of your door, not the number on the tire sidewall. Underinflated car tires can increase fuel consumption by up to 3 percent.

• Preventive maintenance, such as changing your air filter, can go a long way toward smooth, efficient performance. A clogged air filter can increase fuel consumption by as much as 10 percent.

• Keep record of your vehicle maintenance, including oil changes.  Try using a high performance synthetic motor oil, as opposed to conventional oil, to allow for more miles between oil changes. Premium synthetic motor oil, such as Royal Purple, can reduce maintenance costs and time spent out of service.  To learn more about the benefits of using synthetic lubricants in your vehicle visit

• Take a deep breath and change the way you drive. Aggressive driving is not only unsafe and stressful to your health, it can also reduce your fuel economy - as all that stop-and-go uses more gasoline than smooth braking and acceleration does. You can also improve your fuel economy by reducing idling time and lightening your car’s load.

• If you’re handy, you may be able to do some regular maintenance work on your car yourself. But for those jobs that are beyond your know-how, be sure to hire a reputable mechanic. Don’t be afraid to get quotes. Knowing the going rate for the service performed and parts replaced can help you from paying unnecessary costs.

Just because the cost of driving is on the rise, doesn’t mean you need to hand over your car keys just yet. With a few phone calls, a bit of preventive car and some tweaks to your driving habits, even those on the tightest of budgets can afford to keep on motoring.

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