Memorial Day Weekend: How to Find Cheaper Gasoline and Prepare Your Car




(CNN) – People get vaccinated against Covid-19. The restrictions are relaxed or lifted. And there are plenty of people ready to take off as Memorial Day 2021 approaches.
But while many of us have focused a lot on personal health while weighing travel decisions during this phase of the pandemic, what about the health of our vehicles?

If you’re like a lot of people, you probably haven’t used your car for many long trips in the past year or so. For some people, the car even stayed idle.

So before you hit the road this weekend or later in the summer season, do a much-needed “health check” on your car. Read on to find out how to play the road doctor and get your vehicle undergoing a wellness checkup.

How to prepare your car for a road trip

Are you ready for the road and Memorial Day weekend in places like Miami Beach, Florida?

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

The experts of YourMechanic.com – an auto repair startup that comes to their customers’ homes – have identified some of the things to do before starting a road trip:

– Check your tire pressure. Look over your tires for bald spots. Also measure your tire pressure to avoid spontaneous punctures or tears.

– Have your battery tested. If the load is less than 12 volts or if there is damage or severe corrosion at the terminals, replace the battery so you don’t get stuck on the road.

– Do not forget the air filter. Keep the air in your car fresh and fresh by cleaning and possibly changing the air filters before a long road trip. This is especially important if you plan to drive during the day in the sun.

Pack the light. Find out about your car’s weight load capacity in your owner’s manual so you don’t overload your tires or your car’s engine.

In an email interview with CNN Travel, Anthony Rodio, CEO of YourMechanic, said that “after being parked for months or weeks, the main issues that plague car owners are dead batteries and deflated tires “.

“You’ll know if your battery is dead if your engine doesn’t start. But the tires can be trickier,” Rodio said. “Even solid tires can have improper tire pressure … so be sure to inflate all four tires to the levels recommended by the vehicle.”

Don’t forget your fluids

Cars can be thirsty, as can their passengers.

“Engine oil and fluids are one of the most overlooked auto maintenance items,” Rodio said. “Timely oil changes are essential for car maintenance because lubrication prevents friction between expensive metal engine parts.

He also said oil was not a good place to go cheap. He recommends spring for a high quality oil “because it tends to last longer and is formulated to withstand extreme temperatures during the hot summer months.” You can ask your mechanic for suggestions.

“Before a road trip, you’ll also want to make sure your fluids, such as antifreeze and coolant, are fresh and full,” he said.

How to find cheaper gas

Apps can help you locate the cheapest gasoline in your area.

Apps can help you locate the cheapest gasoline in your area.

Andrew Kelly / Reuters / Alamy Stock Photo

Gas apps can help you on your quest to find cheaper gasoline. Here are a handful of popular options you might consider downloading to your smartphone:

AAA mobile: The mobile version of the famous AAA TripTik Planner comes with membership. Get pricing information as well as the best route planning.
Gas buddy: They also offer a card to save money on gasoline purchases.
Gas guru: Owned by Pages Jaunes, it offers information on car washes, auto repairs and ATMs, as well as gasoline prices.
Geico: The insurance company has a mobile app to help you find good prices near you.
Waze: This participatory navigation app can also help you navigate to stations with cheaper prices.

How to stretch a gas tank

So you’ve refueled the best deal on fuel. Now how can you stretch that full tank? AAA has some ideas. Here are some highlights:

– Drive the speed limit. According to AAA, aerodynamic drag results in a significant drop in fuel consumption as speed increases above 50 mph.

– Do not stay inactive too long. If your car is stopped for more than 60 seconds, turn off the engine to save fuel. Many newer cars have automatic engine stop-start systems that do this.

– Develop a “coastal” state of mind. When approaching a red light or stop sign, release your foot early and let your car go at a slower speed until you need to apply the brakes.

– Use your cruise control. It helps you keep a constant speed and save fuel. But AAA warns to never use cruise control on slippery roads that could cause loss of control.

– Shield! In hot weather, spread sunscreen on the windshield to reduce heat build-up. This reduces your need for air conditioning – and therefore fuel – to cool the car.

If it’s not very hot, try natural cooling.

“People are also surprised to learn that air conditioners use a lot of gas, so open the windows for a natural breeze when possible,” Rodio said.

Finally, regular maintenance of the “spark plugs, fuel injector, air filters, and fluids will help your engine run efficiently and avoid using too much gas,” he said.

Top image: Getty Images



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