by John R.
Buying a vehicle can be a great thrill, but as the odometer marches on, you might start to feel overwhelmed by all the little expenses that shrink your wallet quickly. These suggestions will help keep it plump.
GET IT ALL — DOWN TO THE LAST DROP
Gas prices have risen sharply in the last year; try this tip for getting your dollar’s worth of the “liquid gold.” Don’t prepay for gasoline — choose the “pay at the pump” feature. When you are done filling up, leave the nozzle in the opening to your gas tank. Don’t replace it; instead, stop the gas flow by depressing the lever on the pump that shuts it off. Then, when the gas sale has finshed, squeeze the handle on the nozzle and get those few teaspoons left over in the hose that you have already paid for. Sure, it is not a substantial amount, but over time, those teaspoons become gallons, and saving gallons means more money in your wallet.
KEEP A CLEAR VIEW
Your car’s windshield is arguably one of the most important pieces of safety equipment on your car. So why is the job of keeping it clean left to two skinny pieces of rubber less than 1/16th of an inch thick? The average cost of new wiper blades is $15, and during a typical year, you could spend about $45 replacing them.
Help those skinny little slivers do their job and lengthen their life by keeping them clean and wiping them down every time you fill up. Your windshield can look dirty even after you wash it. The culprit may be your wipers. By getting rid the guts and grime that build up from regular driving — not to mention highway driving through super-buggy areas, they will do more cleaning and less mess-spreading.
DO TREAD LIGHTLY
The tire professionals are right: rotating your tires can really extend the life of your tires. However, rotation won’t stop them from wearing down over time. One trick to keeping the tread deep is to avoid gravel or bumpy roads. Stick to streets paved with asphalt; a smooth surface means less work for the tires.
Also, park your car in the shade whenever possible. The obvious benefit for doing this is a cooler car, but it can also help your tires last longer because UV rays and heat can weaken the rubber that meets the road.
Finally, drive like grandma. There was wisdom in her slow and steady pace. Braking hard, taking corners at higher speeds, and rapid acceleration (or burning rubber for the over 50 crowd) will definitely land you in the tire replacement line more quickly.