If you ask anyone currently travelling Australia what their biggest expenses are, I can assure you that their car & fuel costs will be right up at the top of that list. We want to share our best advice for reducing this figure as much as possible to leave room in the budget for more of the fun stuff.
If you are one of the handy few out there who can do your own car servicing then that’s definitely a bonus, but for the rest of us out there, there’s still ways you can bring this cost down too. When we’re in a larger town, we head to a Repco (or similar) and grab our own filters and parts. By supplying your own parts to the mechanic, you’re only paying for labour. We were recently quoted $500 for a service but when we mentioned we had all our own parts, the price dropped down to $300. We paid $100 for the parts, leaving us with a $100 saving.
Tyres Type & Pressure
You might be surprised to know how much of a positive impact running correct tyre pressures can have on your fuel economy. The ‘correct pressure’ will vary depending on what type of tyres you’re running. This is the test we use to ensure we are running the optimum pressures:
4 PSI RULE – Check your tyre pressures when cold and keep note. Start driving for roughly 10 – 15 minutes to allow your tyres to warm up and check the pressures again. If they have increased by 4 PSI then you are exactly where you need to be. Any more than a 4 PSI increase and your initial pressures were too low – any less than 4 PSI and your initial pressures were too high. Make a slight adjustment in the necessary direction and try the test again next time from cold. (Applies to bitumen road use only)
A quick daily ten minute check of your car not only makes sure that everything is in working order, it allows you to find small issues before they turn into a big one. Cracked pipe leaking coolant? Easy fix. Blown up motor from overheating? Not so much. You can follow our daily maintenance checklist here if you’re not sure what to look for.
Fuel Map & Carry Jerry Cans
Downloading one of the fuel comparison apps available today (such as Fuel Map) can allow you to find the cheapest fuel price in any location without leaving camp. It’s also a good idea to keep a couple of jerry cans of fuel with you so you can stock up when the price is low. This means that you won’t get stuck paying the high prices at roadhouses when travelling through remote areas.
Weights & Speed
This last one is a little obvious but it’s a key factor when trying to reduce fuel consumption. If you’re heading to a place where you can fill your water tanks on arrival, travel empty and if not, try to travel with your tanks only half full where possible to reduce your weight. Driving a little slower than the 100km speed limit on the freeway can reduce your consumption, but please be courteous to other road users and let them pass when safe to do so. Driving into headwinds will also guzzle your fuel fast, so some days when there is a headwind you’re better off staying put!
Got any other tips to add to the list? Add them to the comments below!