Car Maintenance for the Low-Mileage Driver

If you’re already a Metromile customer, chances are that you’re a low-mileage driver. Only paying for the miles you drive is just one of the perks of being a Metromile customer and low-mileage driver. Another major perk of being a low-mileage driver? Getting away with less-often car maintenance.

Car-Maintenance-for-the-Low-Mileage-Driver

Are you Low-Mileage?

Wondering if you are a low mileage driver? As a general rule of thumb, you are most likely a low-mileage driver if you are clocking less than 600 miles per month or fall into the following categories:

  • You’re retired and no longer commute to and from work
  • You work from home and/or live close to work
  • You regularly use public transportation
  • You utilize a carpool
  • You have an extra vehicle that doesn’t get driven much

If you fall into one of these camps and realize that you don’t drive your car very often, there are some things you can do to ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck when having your car serviced. So, without further ado… here are our best car maintenance tips for the low-mileage driver.

Car Maintenance Tips for Low-Mileage Drivers

  1. First things first: You’ll still want to take the car to your auto repair shop at least every 6 months to monitor the condition of your vehicle. Surprised? Things can go wrong if your car isn’t being driven regularly (yep, even if it’s garaged!).
  2. Only change dirty oil: Despite popular belief, oil only needs to be changed when it’s dirty. Check your oil dipstick once a month to keep tabs on the status of the oil. If it starts to look black (instead of a golden color), it’s time for an oil change.
  3. Drive the car at least once a month: At a minimum, you should be starting up your engine and driving your car on the highway for at least 15 miles once a month. This will ensure all fluids are flowing properly and keep your car running smoothly for years to come.
  4. Check for furry visitors: Car engines make yummy little homes for furry creatures like mice, squirrels, and rats, especially during the colder months. Check the condition of the fuel lines and other rubber components under the car to make sure they are not being chewed or eaten.
  5. Install a carbon eliminator: Add a carbon eliminator to your gas tank yearly to avoid carbon build-up. What is a carbon eliminator, you ask? It removes tough carbon deposits from rings, valves, ports and combustion chambers to improve engine performance, reduce fuel consumption, restore power and extend engine life.
  6. Do the following every six months:

    1. Have your car placed on a lift for a tire inspection. This ensures your safety every time you hop in the car. While your car us up on the lift, check the undercarriage and tires for dry rot, damage, etc.
    2. Check the air filter and ventilation system. In addition to the engine, both the air filter and the ventilation system can make great homes for all sorts of furry creatures.
    3. Check all the fluids. In cars, both the antifreeze and brake fluid deteriorate with age. Checking these every six months ensures that everything is in working order.

Things You Don’t Actually Need to Do

As it turns out, there are things that a low-mileage driver like you just doesn’t need to do very often (or at all). You should just about never need to use nitrogen in your tires (which will save you an extra $5 per tire). You also will never need to flush your transmission fluid, because most car manufacturers now use 100,000-mile (or “lifetime”) fluid. Additionally, modern coolant and antifreeze is also meant to last for the lifetime of the car and will save you about $50 to $100 in changes.

An example of unnecessary car maintenance for the low-mileage driver is changing the engine oil too often. As a car owner, it used to be the norm to schedule in an oil change every 3,000 miles. However, with modern lubricants, most newer engines have recommended oil change intervals of 5,000 to 7,500 miles. If your engine requires full-synthetic motor oil, it might go as far as 15,000 miles between services. For us low-mileage drivers, that means an oil change once every two years or so!

Maybe when you were reading this article, you realized that you might be a low-mileage driver. Awesome! Hopefully, you found these car maintenance tips useful and be sure to grab a free quote from us (if you’re not already a part of the Metromile fam!). If you are already a member of the Metromile fam, share us with all of your friends and family and get $25! As always, stay safe out there and see you on the roads.

Julianne Cronin is a Bay Area freelance writer, content creator, and founder/editor of the women’s lifestyle site, The Wink. You can find her working on her capsule wardrobe, collecting cacti, and trying out the latest beauty products on Instagram

5 Basic Car Maintenance Tips for a DIY Car Safety Check

Summer has arrived and it is full of road trips, drives to the beach or pool, and campfires with delicious s’mores. It also means the dog days are here and your car can start to feel like a mini sauna when left outside. Your vehicle might not be used as much in the summer, which may mean the sun is beating down on it all day long while it sits in the driveway. That can’t be good for it – right?

DIY-Car-Safety-Checks

It is never fun dealing with a break-down when you and your loved ones are on the way to somewhere fun and adventurous. Regardless of what season it is, you should regularly check your car to make sure it is in good running condition.

5 DIY Car Safety Checks to Perform Regularly

  1. Tire pressure: This is a regular check you won’t want to miss completing. Luckily, most newer cars will alert you if your tire’s pressure is running lower – #blessed. But, if you have an older vehicle, this is something you will want to check regularly especially when the weather changes. Grab a pneumatic gauge and read up on what your tires recommend air pressure is. If it is running low, take it to the nearest air pump to fill it up to the right level. Do not exceed the max air pressure your tire can hold. Also, don’t neglect your spare tire.
  2. Battery Life: The threshold for a car’s battery is around three years, but it can run out even quicker in the heat of summer. If you start your car and you hear a slow cranking noise, then it might be time to replace it. Try your best to keep your battery clean. Having dirt and grease build-up acts as a conductor which can drain the battery quicker. If you are parked for prolonged periods of time, be sure to start your car every so often to keep the battery level up. Checking your battery is a good to do, especially right before hitting the road for a long trip.
  3. Engine Cooling System: Do a quick look to see if your engine coolant level is full and the liquid doesn’t look dirty. If the coolant level is below the marked line or the fluid isn’t green or orange, then your car can overheat. It is always good to replenish the coolant every so often, especially during these summer months.
  4. Lights and Signals: Make sure that all your headlights and signal lights are working and shining brightly. This is a good way to check to make sure the alignment of your lights is spot on. Do a good cleaning of your headlight covers every once in awhile so they can shine bright like a diamond.
  5. Air Filters: No one wants to breathe in gross air, especially in a confined place like a car. Clean both your engine air filter and your car’s cabin filter. Depending on your air filter type (dry v. oiled) you can use either a vacuum to get the dust and dirt or use a cleaning solution to rinse it off. Having a clean air filter will improve your vehicle’s performance and efficiency.

Say hello to summer and feel confident when driving your car. Performing regular safety checks on it will keep your vehicle in tip-top shape. If you find that your car is parked in the driveaway during these hot days, more than it’s driving around then pay-per-mile auto insurance might be the perfect fit for you. Our low-mileage customers save on avg. $611 a year when switching to Metromile. Get a free quote now.

Kelsey Glynn is a blogger and owner of Social Graces, a business to support others in their social media needs. She is a contributing blog writer for East Valley Moms Blog, a social media content creator, and an avid photo taker. She is Metromile’s Senior Social Media Advocate and helps to maintain our online communities. You can catch her adventuring around AZ and living the mom life on Instagram.

The Complete Guide to Adapting Your Vehicle

Whether you have a disabled family member or you yourself are living with a disability, you know that disabilities come with their own set of challenges. However, being disabled doesn’t automatically mean that you need to give up your freedom and hand over your car keys. Now more than ever, there are technologies available to adapt vehicles to meet your specific needs. These new technologies will continue to broaden opportunities for people with disabilities to drive safely and comfortably. Your vehicle should act as a workhorse in your life, and the good news is that adapting your vehicle to suit your disability is now simpler than ever.

The-Complete-Guide-to-Adapting-Your-Vehicle

Don’t know where to start? Here at Metromile, we believe that all of our customers should feel empowered to take to the open road with confidence. That’s why we’re here to answer questions you didn’t even know you had about adapting your vehicle to fit your needs. Here’s a breakdown of what types of tools, technology, etc., that you’ll need to adapt your vehicle. Let’s get into it!

Evaluate Your Needs

The first step in this process is evaluating what your needs are. A driver rehabilitation specialist will perform a comprehensive evaluation and will determine the adaptive equipment that best fits your needs. See how to get in touch with a specialist here!

Here’s what you can expect the specialist to evaluate:

  • Vision
  • Coordination and reaction time
  • Muscle strength, flexibility, and range of motion
  • Judgement and decision-making abilities

The specialist will also assess your ability to drive with the adaptive equipment and how the equipment will wear on your body over time. Once finished with the evaluation, the specialist will provide a comprehensive report containing driving requirements/restrictions, as well as specific recommendations for future adaptive equipment.

Finding the Right Vehicle

Now comes the fun part – car shopping! Finding the right vehicle to meet your needs doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Keep the following in mind when you’re car shopping and you’ll be good as gold.

Here are the questions to ask when shopping for a vehicle:

  • Does the vehicle have the cargo capacity to accommodate and carry the equipment you require?
  • Does the vehicle have the space and capacity to accommodate your family members or other passengers when it is loaded/modified with the equipment you require?
  • Will there be adequate parking space at home and work to fit the vehicle? How about when you’re loading/unloading a wheelchair? What if you use a walker?
  • Are there any additional options that are necessary for the vehicle to be safely operated?

There are also some features that you can look for in a potential vehicle, such as:

  • High or extra-wide doors
  • Large interior door handles
  • Adjustable foot pedals
  • Large/oversized knobs with clearly marked labels
  • Support handles to assist with entering and exiting the vehicle (this is also a handy tool that fits in most car door jambs!)
  • Seat adjusters that can move in all directions
    • Specifically, a seat adjuster that can raise the seat so the driver’s line of sight is 3 inches above the adjusted steering wheel
  • Dashboard-mounted ignition (rather than steering column-mounted ignition)

Remember that your mobility equipment dealer and your driver rehabilitation specialist are qualified to ensure the vehicle you select can be modified to meet your adaptive equipment needs.

Safety Tips

As a rule of thumb: both new and advanced drivers will need safety training on how to use the new adaptive equipment. Literature and off-road training will not be sufficient, as most types of adaptive equipment are quite complex. It is important to meet with your driver rehabilitation specialist for on-the-road training of your new equipment because they have the expertise and extensive knowledge of adaptive technologies.

Additionally, make sure that your vehicle is always in tip-top condition before hitting the road. Keep a running checklist and be sure to check it often for things such as:

  • Proper tire pressure
  • Frequent oil changes
  • Fluid levels (power steering, brake fluid, and engine coolant)

Keep in mind that your adaptive equipment may need more frequent check-ups or special attention than the rest of your regular vehicle maintenance!

Remember: just because life handed you or a family member a disability does not mean that you have to give up all of your freedom. There are so many great adaptive technologies available now, the key is figuring out with ones are right for you. Be sure to check out Metromile to get a free quote – it only takes a moment and could end up saving you a pretty penny! Be safe and see you on the roads!

Julianne Cronin is a Bay Area freelance writer, content creator, and founder/editor of the women’s lifestyle site, The Wink. You can find her working on her capsule wardrobe, collecting cacti, and trying out the latest beauty products on Instagram

How to Prepare Your Car For Winter

Winter is coming? No, my friends (and Game of Thrones fans) – winter is here. From your car door freezing shut to navigating ice-covered roads, there’s no doubt that winter weather can seriously take a toll on the health of your car. If you didn’t get a chance to winterize your vehicle this fall (#nojudgement), there’s no time like the present to remedy that. Before going into hibernation this season with Netflix at Club Couch, make sure your car is in tip-top shape to handle anything the winter weather blasts your way — If for no other reason than you know, to ensure you’ll be able to replenish your Netflix snacks.

How-to-Prepare-Your-Car-for-Winter-

Step One: The Annual Physical

While you were out having fun in the sun and sand this past summer, your car was still working hard for you. Since you make it a priority to get yourself an annual physical, you should absolutely make it a priority that your vehicle gets a checkup as well. Bringing your car in for a tune-up will ensure that all fluid levels are correct and your vehicle’s battery has enough juice – two things that are super important, especially in the wintertime. Without proper fluid levels (antifreeze, oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, windshield washer fluid, and coolant), your vehicle may be in serious trouble; having enough charge in the battery will ensure you’re not stranded with a car that won’t start. Windshield wipers and headlights/taillights should also be checked to ensure the highest quality visibility in winter conditions.

Also, be sure to have the pads on your brakes checked, particularly if you have an older car with a lot of mileage. Two of my previous cars had brake failure, so it’s of the utmost importance to get this checked – especially in older cars and especially during winter when road conditions are poor.

Step Two: The Lincoln Test

Just when you thought pennies were the most useless of all American currency, they come through in the clutch! If you’re opting to keep your current tires on your car throughout the winter season, do the ‘Lincoln Test’ to ensure your treads are up to snuff. Simply place the edge of a penny into the tread of your tire with the top of Lincoln’s head facing toward the car. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head with the penny fully inserted into the tread, then your tires won’t last you through the season. Consider swapping them out for snow tires or all-season tires, which will be much more reliable in winter weather than standard tires.

Step Three: Oil Switch

Depending on where you live, this step may be optional. The general rule of thumb is this: the colder the weather, the thinner your oil should be. The viscosity level of engine oil is noted by the first number in the name – for example, a 5W-30 oil is less viscous than a 10W-30 oil and therefore performs better in the winter months. Switching out your oil for a less-viscous option may be a prudent move if you live somewhere that gets wicked cold (can you tell that I’m a New Englander?). This tip also applies to transmission fluid, so be sure to get both checked out!

Step Four: Wax On, Wax Off

You know the stuff that your city sprinkles on the roads before a snowstorm? That stuff is a magical combination of sand and salt – both of which can desiccate and decimate your vehicle over time! Salt is extremely corrosive, and sand can ruin a paint job, so we recommend getting a fresh coat of wax on your car before the snow flies. Most of the damage can happen on the undercarriage of the car as well, so be sure to look for a wax product that will protect behind the wheels, the quarter panels, and front grille in addition to the body of the car.

Step Five: In Case of Emergency

Keeping an emergency kit in your car is a good idea all year round. However, you will need to make a few modifications during winter months to make sure you’re covered in case you get into an accident or your car breaks down. Winter-specific items to add to your emergency kit include: a snow brush/ice scraper, flashlight, warm hat and winter gloves, a bag of sand (this can help give traction if you get stuck), small shovel, extra coolant, a blanket, jumper cable, road flares, and waterproof matches or a lighter. Always good to throw in some energy bars and bottled water, too!

TL;DR – your vehicle needs year-round TLC, but it is especially important during the winter months to keep you safe and get you where you need to go. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Metromile and get a free quote. Stay safe out there and we’ll see you on the roads!

Julianne Cronin is a Bay Area freelance writer, content creator, and founder/editor of the women’s lifestyle site, The Wink. You can find her working on her capsule wardrobe, collecting cacti, and trying out the latest beauty products on Instagram

Away From Your Car? Here’s How to Keep it Protected

This week in preparation for holiday travels we wanted to share some car tips about keeping your car in the best shape when you aren’t using it at all. If you have a car, and don’t use it very much, you could save big on car insurance with Metromile’s pay-per-mile insurance. Get a free quote now!

Mercedes Benz at Airport Parking Lot. Car Tips

Cars are wonderful instruments of convenience. They allow us to live freely, save time and stay connected to the people we’re closest to. That’s why it’s ironic the troubles a car can cause you if you’re leaving for an extended amount of time. There are plenty of reasons why a person might leave their car. We all have demanding responsibilities to our families and work that might demand unique things from us. Vacations, moving between states – the list goes on and on.

But cars aren’t meant to be neglected. Leaving without preparing and securing your car could give you fits once you return. A new battery is nearly a given and you might even run into more severe issues like engine trouble. You can save yourself that headache with a little know-how. Here are our top car tips for keeping your car in tip-top shape when it isn’t being used.

    Car Tips: Storage

    The first issue is pretty simple: Where can I safely store my car? Many people opt to leave their car with a friend or family who can keep an eye on it and potentially drive it around a bit. This is a great solution if you can find something so convenient.
    There are still issues, however. A car that’s parked on a street for prolonged periods of time is always at risk of being towed. And if your car-sitter cannot make the time to give your vehicle’s engine a chance to heat up and work a bit, you’ll still need to make some precautions.
    Another option is a vehicle storage facility. This can include outdoor parking – like at an airport – or even something indoors. These facilities will provide you a secure location for your car with constant supervision. Depending on your needs and how long you’ll be gone, these are a great place to start.

    Car Tips: Security

    We all leave things in our cars that we use regularly. To save on the hassle of emptying your car and locking everything up tightly, picking the right place to monitor your car will be another major convenience.
    Take the time to look up local laws on parking and car ownership as well. It’s good to double check that sort of thing to prevent any issues. Especially considering you won’t be in town to fix any troubles that may arise.

    Car Tips: Preparing Your Car

    Sitting for prolonged periods of time isn’t healthy – and that’s just as true for cars. The battery will bleed away it’s charge, the gas can breakdown and moisture can damage car parts. But there’s plenty you can do to keep your car running smoothly once you return.

    • Disconnect the battery: By unplugging the negative charge of your battery, you’ll save yourself the trouble of needing a new battery once you return. The electronic parts of your car drain you battery slowly even when the car’s not being used. This is especially an issue in newer cars. Be sure to wrap the negative end in a thick cloth so it will not touch anything else.
      Note: If you are a Metromile customer we do not recommend unplugging your car battery as this will cause the Pulse device to stop sending us your mileage data. We do recommend you call us to let us know your travel plans so we can assist.
    • Top off your fluids: One of the biggest dangers to your car when you’re gone is moisture. Outside moisture can get into your gas tank, your engine, and plenty other placed where it can wreak havoc on your car over a prolonged time. By going to get your car serviced and your fuels topped off before leaving, moisture will have a more difficult time getting to the places where it can hurt your car the most. Another issue here is that impurities can leak to the engine. By putting in new fluids, you remove the possibilities of impurities that can hurt your car.
    • Get a full tank of gas and a fuel stabilizer : Remember that fluids thing? Same issue here. A full tank will repel outside moisture. Adding a fuel stabilizer is another great tip if you’ll be gone for a longer period of time.
    • Put the car on a jack :If you’re going to be gone for months, putting your car on a jack will save the tires. Tires can develop flat spots that render them faulty if left in one place for too long.
    • Cover it : Finally, make sure to cover your vehicle’s exterior. This is especially vital if you’re storing it outside. Dirt and other debris can leave stains on your paint if left for prolonged periods.

The easiest solution really is having a friend or family member help you with your car. But if you’ll be gone for longer than just a few weeks, it’s not always feasible. It’s always better to know how to treat your car and keep it safe.

Alex Briggs is a contributing writer for Ship a Car Direct.

4 Great Ways to Find the Best Mechanic

We use our cars to go pretty much everywhere. It’s our country’s lifestyle. Whether you need to visit the supermarket, friends, family, or any other need you might have, chances are you’re using your car. And that means we need our cars to work. Your vehicle gathers bumps and bruises from use just like you; the only problem is that these issues are much harder to diagnose in a car or truck. That’s why everyone needs the right mechanic to save them money, hassle, and heartache.

man working under VW bug. 4 Great Ways to Find the Best Mechanic

Not everyone’s a car part prodigy but finding right mechanic means you won’t ever have to be one. A skilled mechanic can teach you all the telltale signs to look for that require attention. Mechanics can be extremely helpful – so long as you know where to find the right one.

    1. Find the Best Mechanic: Look Around Online

    To start, look at review sites of mechanic shops. You can narrow in before you even begin searching in earnest by only researching shops where the staffs have all the certifications and accreditations for automotive repair work.

    It is also not a bad idea to investigate social media pages for mechanics, either. Social media has become an extremely valuable resource for businesses; a shop’s social media page will usually give a genuine feel for the people who work in the shop.

    Look for a shop that seems personable, friendly and at ease. You want a shop that’s comfortable with any and all questions you might have.

    2. Choose the Best Mechanic: Do They Have Enthusiasm for the Job?

    We’ve all seen people who were clearly unenthused about their job. In auto repair, that’s a kiss of death. Excitement and earnestness are crucial when you consider the job. A mechanic cannot just go through the motions; they must be thorough in searching for any and all issues with a car. Many vehicle issues are subtle or show only the barest signs of an issue before they become disastrous. If your mechanic’s simply plodding through their day, that won’t do at all.

    A good mechanic is one who enjoys working with machines on a daily basis. They’re passionate about their own vehicle and will talk cars all day long with you. Manual labor and grease are simply bonus perks that come with the job. If you find a passionate mechanic, stick with them and let them know you appreciate them.

    3. Understand your Mechanic: They Go Beyond Stating Problems

    There are many repair shops where you sit in your car and they’ll briefly run down the repairs before telling you how much to pay.

    But why are you paying? Didn’t they fix that thing last time? Why does it need repairing again?

    A good mechanic will actually explain these issues. They’ll go over the causes and help you plan to avoid the sorts of damage that you may be unwittingly afflicting to your vehicle. Some recurring problems are simply common with certain models. The best mechanics will stop to explain these issues and help you plan to prevent issues in the future.

    4. Love your Mechanic: They’ll Teach You Something About Your Car

    When you put yourself around people who are passionate about what they do, you’re bound to learn something.

    Experienced mechanics who enjoy their job and are usually happy to chatter about cars. Some mechanics may even bring you into the shop to show you the workings of your own vehicle. Don’t be surprised after a few visits to the right mechanic if you’re starting to pick up on some really technical details of car repair.

    That knowledge will only help you in taking better care of your car and doing the things that will allow it to run for a long time.

Visiting your mechanic shouldn’t feel like visiting the dentist. It should be a fun journey where most costs are offset by learning. A good mechanic won’t cost you money, after all. They’ll save it, instead.

Looking for other ways to save money on your vehicle? Metromile is excited to offer low mileage drivers a better option on car insurance with pay-per-mile. If you are driving 10,000 miles or less a year you could potentially see great savings with Metromile. To get a quote go to www.metromile.com/insurance and start by typing in your zip code.

Alex Briggs is a contributing writer for Newroadsautoloans.com.

How to Spring Clean Your Car with Household Items

Grab your old towels and sponges — it’s time to give your car a little spring cleaning! You don’t have to buy new cleaning products to get the job done. Here are also some useful ways to use household items to get your vehicle looking brand new again.

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  • 1 cup of baking soda and some baby shampoo mixed in a bucket of warm water cleans the exterior of your car.
  • Use your hand-held vacuum to suck up all the dirt, pet hair, or weird pieces of trash that have accumulated on your floor and seats. Sprinkle some baking soda on the floor of your car and vacuum for a fresh clean look.
  • To help remove stains, use carpet stain remover used for the carpeting inside your home. If you don’t have a bottle already, mix some cornstarch with a little water together to make a paste. Then scrub it into grease stained areas and let it sit. Once dry, vacuum it up or brush it away and voila — clean carpet! For small stains, mix equal parts vinegar and water together and buff through the areas that are in need of some extra TLC.
  • Clean windows are always a must. Don’t have any Windex? No problem! Simply mix water, vinegar, and alcohol together in a spray bottle to make your own glass cleaner. Use newspapers instead of paper towels to ensure a streak-free clean!
  • Grab some dryer sheets and olive oil to dust and add some shine to your car’s dashboard. You can even keep some additional dryer sheets in between your seats or under your floor mats to keep your car smelling extra fresh.

With these tips, your vehicle will look squeaky clean. If you find yourself spending more time outside and driving less during the spring season, you could save a ton of money by switching to Metromile’s pay-per-mile insurance. To see what your potential savings could be, get a quick quote now.

Premium or Regular Gas? How to Choose at the Pump

If you’re like many drivers, the choice you make at the gas station is simple and you buy regular, unleaded gasoline. But have you ever wondered what the difference is between each octane and why some spend more to fill up with premium? Most gas stations offer three octane levels: regular (about 87), mid-grade (about 89) and premium (91 to 93) but we’ve broken down the facts about each so you can make the right choice at the pump.

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Regular Unleaded Gas- Typically the cheapest per gallon, regular gas is the most commonly used octane. Your car owner’s manual lists the recommended gas and for those cars designed to run on regular gas, pumping up with premium will provide no additional performance, run faster or get you better gas mileage. Better quality ingredients and advances in technology make regular gas the best and most affordable option for most drivers.
Midgrade Gas- Few manufacturers suggest mid-grade gas, it’s more designed to offer a middle ground. It has slightly more additives so it could give you a small bump in fuel economy but generally the results won’t be obvious. The Federal Trade Commission says that if your engine pings, mid-grade gas could stop it.
Premium Gas- The most expensive octane, premium gas is recommended by some luxury manufacturers. Not using premium gas when it is recommended can cause engine knocking, which can eventually decrease the engine’s efficiency. Double-check whether your manufacturer requires premium or recommends premium as, according to auto experts, a recommendation means you can probably still fill up with regular, unleaded fuel much of the time. Regardless, if you know your car works best on premium stick with it.

Considering a switch to a vehicle that uses diesel instead of gasoline? Filling up at the pump with diesel instead of regular gasoline is more expensive, but premium gasoline is more expensive than diesel. Diesel does offer better miles per gallon but if you drive primarily in the city or less than 10,000 miles a year, you probably won’t save enough on fuel costs to justify a diesel purchase.

If you don’t find yourself at the gas pump very often, consider another way to save with pay-per-mile car insurance. Get a quick quote now to see how much you could save!

How to Get the Best Fuel Economy for Your Car

The following is a guest post from YourMechanic, which delivers mobile car repair by certified mechanics in over 700 U.S. cities. Their top-rated technicians can perform over 600 services at your home or office for up to 30% less than shops and dealers.

Every driver wants better fuel economy, and there are a range of methods to get every last mile out of a tank of gas. Here we look at different parts of your car that affect fuel economy, and share some tips that can save you dollars at the pump.

better_fuel_economy

Change Your Air Filters

The air filter is what your engine breathes through, so it can be the case that a dirty air filter will reduce your fuel economy. This is mainly true if your car has a carbureted engine (common before 1980), as modern fuel-injected engines have onboard computers that adjust the air-fuel mixture on the fly. Still, it’s important to replace the air filter when it gets dirty. We recommend every oil change or two, especially if you live in a dusty or dirty environment.

Maintain Correct Tire Pressure

Maintaining correct tire pressure is one of the easiest ways to improve your fuel economy. Think your tires are fine? It’s worth checking: the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that one-third of cars have underinflated tires. Underinflated tires have more friction and resistance on the road, leading to increased fuel consumption (plus premature tire wear and a higher risk of blowouts). You can use the air compressor many gas stations have to check and fill your tires once a month.

Be Mindful With Cruise Control

Keeping a steady speed using cruise control is a great way to conserve fuel. On a flat and level road, your engine can maintain efficiency. However, chances are the road you’re on has changes in elevation. When your cruise control senses an incline, it opens the throttle to maintain your speed. That rate of acceleration could be more rapid than how you would accelerate on your own. Turn off cruise control when you approach hills, accelerate gently, then turn it back on when the road levels out.

Drive an Automatic

To optimize your fuel economy, it’s best to drive a car with an automatic transmission. New automatics are becoming ultra-efficient through increasing gear counts – it’s not uncommon to see eight-speed automatics these days. Continuously Variable Transmissions (CVTs) have “infinite” gears and can hold engine speed at an optimal point for fuel efficiency, even as you accelerate. Still, for enthusiasts, a few less MPG’s could be a worthwhile tradeoff for the increased fun of driving a car with a manual transmission.

Use the Correct Grade of Fuel

Your engine is tuned to run on a specific octane of gas. If you’re using premium in an engine that’s meant to run on regular, you’re pouring money down the drain – it simply won’t give you any benefit in power, performance, or efficiency. However, the opposite it not true: if your engine is rated for premium and you fill it with regular, you could see a reduction in performance between six to 10 percent. If you’re unsure, your car’s octane requirement should be under the fuel filler door.

Keep a Regular Maintenance Schedule

The fact is, the more you drive, the worse your car’s fuel economy is going to get. Normal driving will wear down your car’s components and reduce the tight manufacturing tolerances it had when it was brand new. Fortunately, this is a very gradual process that happens over tens of thousands of miles. Eventual degradation is unavoidable, but keeping a regular maintenance schedule helps maintain fuel efficiency. We can come to your home or workplace to tune up your car and make sure it’s getting the best mileage it can.

Adopt Efficient Technology

In the past, large cars and SUVs burned up a lot more gas than their smaller counterparts. However, technology is leveling the field: hybrid drivetrains, clean diesel engines and low rolling resistance tires are a few ways that automakers are improving efficiency. These advancements mean new cars have better fuel economy than ever before, regardless of size. If you’re buying a new or used car, look for these features to help maximize your mileage.

The Future of Fuel Efficiency

Governmental standards and consumer demand has led to a reaction from the auto industry: the cars of today are more fuel efficient than ever before. Additionally, with hybrid and all-electric drivetrains on the rise, there are increasing options for cars that don’t use a drop of gasoline. It’s likely that in the next decade we’ll all be driving cars that get 50 miles per gallon or hundreds of miles to the charge. Who wouldn’t want to use less fuel?

How to Check Your Oil

The following is a guest post from YourMechanic, which delivers mobile car repair by certified mechanics in over 700 U.S. cities. Their top-rated technicians can perform over 600 services at your home or office for up to 30% less than shops and dealers.

Oil is necessary in keeping an engine running smoothly and efficiently. It keeps the many moving components in an engine lubricated, reduces wear and tear and helps dissipate the heat created during combustion. Without oil, with too little of it or with oil that hasn’t been changed in a long time, an engine can be severely damaged. This guide covers the basics of engine oil, as well as how to check it to ensure it’s in good shape to keep your engine running.

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Engine Oil Basics

There are several types of oil on the market. Oil is available in different “weights,” or viscosities, which is indicated on the oil container. There are also conventional and synthetic oils, which differ based on a particular engine’s use and performance. Generally speaking, for normal around-town and commuting driving, conventional oil is best, while for more demanding driving, such as hauling loads or high-performance driving, a synthetic blend is required. Check your owner’s manual to determine what type of oil your engine needs.

Oil circulates through your engine through a closed-loop system. It’s stored in the oil pan, which holds between four and six quarts depending on the car. When the engine is started, the oil pump sucks oil from the pan through the pickup tube, then through the oil filter, which cleans it on its way to the engine. It then flows through channels in the engine block, lubricating the necessary components before heading back to the oil pan to begin the cycle again.

It’s a good idea to make a habit of regularly checking your engine oil to make sure it’s topped off and that it isn’t contaminated. We suggest checking your oil level every time you fill up the gas tank, but don’t check it less than once a month.

Checking Your Oil

Checking and adding oil is a simple process that can be done quickly and without tools.

Step 1: Make sure the engine is cool. Never check the oil while the engine is hot. It’s best to check the oil after the engine hasn’t run in a few hours, as this allows the oil to settle back to the oil pan. If this isn’t an option, let the car cool down for at least 10 minutes. Check the oil when the car is parked on a flat surface so the oil is evenly distributed in the pan.

Step 2: Open the hood and prop it up so you can easily access the engine. (more…)