7 Simple Ways to Save Money on Gas

save money on gas

Image by Chris Potter via http://www.stockmonkeys.com

Cars are awesome. Without them, you couldn’t go anywhere.They sure are expensive, though.

Let me take some of the edge off. Here are seven ways to save money on gas.

1. Carpool.

If you work for a pretty big company, you probably know a co-worker who lives in your neighborhood.

Ask around! There’s no reason to drive separately. Take turns so you can split the cost. You’ll save money and reduce emissions, which will protect the planet you call home. Talk about a win/win!

2 .Check your air filter.

Some mechanics like to sell air filters to people who don’t need them. That doesn’t mean air filters are a scam. A clean air filter improves air flow in your vehicle. If it gets clogged, this can have a detrimental impact on your gas mileage. So, how often should you change your air filter? It depends. Check out the OMV (owner’s manual for your vehicle) to find out.

3. Take care of your tires.

Only 15% of drivers know how to check their tire pressure. The other 85% are wasting a lot of money. According to the US Department of Energy, properly inflated tires can improve your fuel economy by 3%. That would save roughly seven cents per gallon.

4. Stop being in such a rush.

Now that you checked your air filter, take a deep breath and slow down! Most people don’t follow #5-7 because they are in such a hurry, so I thought I should mention this first. Driving is less stressful when you give yourself an extra 10-20 minutes to reach your destination. Worried about being too early? Don’t be. Toss a book in your purse. That will occupy you!

5. Be gentle with the gas pedal.

What’s the point of slamming the gas when a traffic light turns green? The people you wait with at one red light will probably catch up with you at the next one! Be gentle. Flooring that pedal burns up a lot of gas. A gentle touch will save tons of bucks.

6. Don’t tap your brakes too much.

Avoid sudden, jerky movements. They are bad for your fuel economy. It is better to drive at a steady pace. If you need to slow down, don’t slam the brakes. Just take your foot off the gas pedal. This is only possible if you leave a safe distance between you and your bumper buddy ahead of you. 🙂

7. Use cruise control when possible.

It’s hard to maintain a constant speed on a long trip. That’s why cruise control exists. Alternating from 65 to 75 MPH burns more gas than maintaining a steady 70 MPH. Use the tools that are available!

Talk to me

Are there any saving tips you would add to this list? If so, tell us in the comments. Click here to share this blog with your friends so they can save money on gas, too.

Mechanically Yours,



Ask Audra: Should You Buy a Car for Your Teenager?

buy car for teenagerShould you buy a car for your teenager? Tough question. I know this isn’t what you want to hear, but it depends.

First and foremost to any driver is that you know how to open the hood!

You’ve got three options. Let’s take a look at each one.

Option A: Buy a car for your child and cover all of the cost.

If reliability is your primary concern, option A might be your best bet. This puts you in control. Teenagers put style before safety. If left to their own devices, they will probably buy the “cool” car. If it’s your money on the line, you have the power to make the unpopular (but smart) decision.

The downside? It’s easy to mistreat something you didn’t pay for. Teenagers aren’t known for being grateful. They might even be mad, because they didn’t get the car they wanted. That’s 100% illogical (they got a free car!), but it’s often the case. Also, this doesn’t teach your child how to manage money. Reality will catch up with them sooner or later.

Option B: Share the family car with your child and split the cost.

If cost is your primary concern, option B might be your best bet. This is a gentle transition into owning a vehicle. Make sure your teen understands what costs they are responsible for. Ask them to pay for gas and oil changes at minimum. You can cover tire changes and other auto expenses until they save a decent amount of money.

The downside? The full cost of vehicle ownership can still come as a shock. Every time you get a repair, take your teen to the mechanic so they can see exactly how much you’re paying to maintain the vehicle. Even better, teach them about the importance of having a “car jar” to  fund emergency and maintenance services. If you don’t teach them now, they will come begging for money later.

Option C: Let your child buy their own car and cover none of the cost.

If personal growth is your primary concern, option C might be your best bet. This is a brutal introduction to the real world. That said, your teenager might end up better off for it. They will get used to the responsibility that comes with owning a vehicle at a young age. And you better believe they will take very good care of that car!

The downside? Like I said, this is brutal. Most teenagers don’t have enough money to buy a good car. They would probably have to work a summer job. That could steal time and attention from studying. And they might get suckered into buying a car that isn’t safe or reliable if they are not taught how to care for their investment. If you choose to go this route, don’t let them go shopping without you.

Talk to me.

Do you plan to buy a car for your teenager? If so, are you going to cover the repair and maintenance costs? Why or why not? Tell us in the comments. Click here to share this blog on Facebook to invite your friends to the conversation.

Mechanically Yours,


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5 Things You Shouldn’t Do in Auto Shops (#1 Will Surprise You)

audra fordin anderson cooper WAKI’m amazed at some of the things people do in my auto shop.

Sometimes, a customer will march inside and announce, “I don’t know anything about cars!” Seriously.

I use this opportunity to educate them, but less honest mechanics might capitalize on the situation. Don’t do these five things just to be safe.

1. Lose your cool.

Stay calm, no matter how afraid you might be. Getting upset will just make a bad situation worse. Never tell a mechanic you’re “clueless.” Stick with the facts. Describe what happened and let the professional do their job.

2. Try to diagnose your car problem.

The Internet is a great place to research, but it’s hard to make sense of it all. You won’t figure out what caused your car problem in a single web search.

3. Make yourself look small.

Body language is a big deal. Fidgeting, crossing your arms, and avoiding eye contact will make your insecurity loud and clear. Listen to a song that makes you feel positive and upbeat before you go inside. Put on some confidence!

4. Tell them to do “whatever.”

Telling a mechanic to do “whatever” is the verbal equivalent of a blank check. There are tons of services that could be performed on your vehicle. You don’t need most of them. Be as specific as possible. Otherwise, you might get stuck with a bill for unnecessary repairs.

5. Pay for repairs you didn’t request.

Would you pay for a steak dinner that you didn’t order? I didn’t think so. If a mechanic does a repair without your permission, ask for a manager and refuse to pay for it.

Talk to me.

Don’t do these things in auto shops. If you do, you’ll look like an easy target. That’s no good for your pocketbook! Click here to share this post with your friends so they can save money too.

Mechanically Yours,


Save BIG Money on Gas Commuting to Work

traffic-jamCommuters, you spend endless hours in your car. Stuck in a traffic jam on your way to work in the morning. The local drive-thru to pick up that coffee you can’t make it through the morning without.  Then stuck in rush hour, yet again, on your way home from work. And don’t get me started on the delays if there’s an accident that happens to take up at least one lane of the highway .

There’s that saying that time is money, but in the case of cars, money is time. When you spend as much time in your car as the average commuter (about 30 minutes – 1 hour, each way, to work in low traffic situations) that means you can spend at least 5-10 hours a week, just getting to work. That also translates to $$: maintenance and insurance are requirements. And though filling up with gas is also the nature of the beast, there are ways to save at the pump.

Gas SymbolHere are a few things you can do today to get better gas mileage right away. In real estate they say location, location, location. In auto repair, we say maintenance, maintenance, maintenance!

Change Your Filters

A well maintained car will operate with greater efficiency. You will have better performance, be safer on the road, and get the best fuel consumption. Something as small as a clogged fuel filter can restrict the flow of gas, which makes your car work harder, which wastes gas, which wastes money! The same is true for your air filter. If your car cannot breathe fresh air, it struggles. Struggling uses more energy from the engine. More energy = wasted gas

Use the Right Octane
If your car require 87 octane, there is no benefit to using a higher octane. It’s not like any of us are dying to put 89 or 91 in with these prices, but remember you get the best performance from your engine when you use what the manufacturer recommends.

Check Your Tire Pressure
Tire Pressure SignIt’s FREE! Having your tires filled to the correct tire pressure will yield you about 4 percent on fuel economy. Under inflated tires are like a person not picking up his feet when he is walking in the mud! You need more energy to move, and more energy = more gas! Which means more money!

Constantly Passing People

This afternoon, I was in traffic on the expressway watching a driver next to me speed up to weave in and out of the cars. He ended up right next to me when traffic came to a slow/stop! Ha, I thought to myself, that guy is frustrated … and he wasted a ton of gas going nowhere!

Junk in the TrunkJunk in Trunk
Take the junk out of your trunk! Just like people, the heavier your car is, the more you have to lug around. Lose the weight and the car will have less to lug around. An extra 100 pounds can reduce your fuel economy by 1 to 2 percent.

Aggressive, Hard Driving

Hitting the accelerator pedal from a stoplight, braking hard, and speeding up to get to the next stop light? These are prime examples of wasted gas. Give yourself extra time to get to your destination and think “smooth and steady” as you drive. The DOT says that every 5 mph you drive over 65 mph is equal to a 7 percent decrease in fuel economy.

Organize Your Trip
Map out where you’re going and organize your errands so you’re not driving back and forth.

Don’t Idle
Sitting in an idling car is just bad. It’s against the law and it’s a huge money waster. When a car is idling, it’s using fuel, and if you are just sitting there, you are getting 0 MPG.

Have any ways you’ve saved on gas that I haven’t mentioned? Share them below in the comments!

Mechanically Yours,


10 Painless Tricks to Save Money Every Day

Nowadays, people barely read their automobile manual, let alone tinker with their engine. Audra Fordin, the owner of Great Bear Auto and Body Shop in Queens, NY, tells Shine that you can save hundreds of dollars a year by tackling basic repairs yourself. “There are a ton of things you can fix–from wipers, to fuses, to headlights–with ten dollars and a screw driver instead of a trip to the garage.”

10 Painless Tricks to Save Money Every Day

Fordin, a fourth generation mechanic, learned her trade by her father’s side. “My dad was a workaholic,” she laughs. “I was a little girl who wanted to hang with daddy. In order to do that, I had to work.” Fordin is spreading the knowledge. A mom of three, she works with the Girl Scouts and runs workshops and an instructional website, Women Auto Know. “Its always easier to be ripped off when you are uneducated,” she warns. “With education comes confidence. You won’t be messed with as easily.”

Here are her top money-saving tips:

1. Changing your coolant on time can save you at least a thousand dollars in repairs over the course of your car’s lifetime. It helps keep your car cool in the summer and warm in the winter. If you ignore the coolant, your engine can overheat. Fordin says it’s worth the couple hundred of dollars it will cost to drain the entire system of coolant every few years before replacing it with new fluid. Consult your manual to see the exact timing for your car.

2. Maintaining the correct tire pressure has a “massive chain effect,” Fordin says, on the health of your car. The car body will be under less stress, you’ll use less gas, and your tires will last two to three times longer. She recommends checking the tire pressure with a gauge (“kicking them doesn’t work”) every time there is a temperature change of more than ten degrees.

3. If it’s just regular maintenance or a minor repair, go to your garage when you have time. Don’t ask your mechanic to hurry or tell them you have no time to wait. “If they rush, they may make mistakes and you’ll pay for it.”

4. “Don’t say: ‘I know it’s probably something bad!'” If you are ignorant about your car, some mechanics will take full advantage.

5. Ask your mechanic to show you the problem. “If they say you need a new air filter, look at it! New brakes –look at them. Anything they want to replace should be shown to you.”

6. Don’t tell your garage you are going out of town and ask them to hold your car for you. It might be used as a loaner.

7. Don’t ask, “Do I need new tires?” Fordin explains that tires have indicators built in that to help you keep track.They are embedded in the tread and show when the tires begin to wear down. For more info and tips, check out Fordin’s Glove Box Guide.

8. Keep a log maintenance log. Write down your mileage, the repair, and the date. This way you “won’t end up changing your oil 2000 miles before you have to.”

9. Keep your receipts so you have proof of maintenance and repairs. It’s the only way the work will be guaranteed. Producing all of your receipts can also help you sell your car. Fordin says, “It makes the next owner feel comfortable about the purchase.”

10. “If they fix something without your authorization, consider it free,” says Fordin. “It’s your vehicle, you make the rules about what gets repaired.”