IT'S not just what you drive, but how you drive that can stop you burning cash at the same time you're burning fuel.

For example, you can save a few cents here and there by taming that kangaroo in your shoe when you pop into town to do the shopping.

Change gears at the appropriate time and keep a steady pace and don't ride the brake.

To make the ride smoother - and cheaper - run your errands when the roads are quiet. Peak-hour traffic means you'll be sitting around with an idling engine and that will put a significant dent in your wallet over 12 months.

If you're on the highway, the following suggestions will save you fuel, wear and tear and other costs.

  • Always stick to the speed limit - you will save on fuel and dodge a costly fine.
  • Turn off (or down) the air-conditioner because it adds to your fuel consumption.
  • If your car is relatively new, it may have different driving modes and the cheapest will be economy. Other modes - such as sport - will deplete your fuel reserve significantly.

To save money longer term, make sure your car is serviced regularly so the engine is well tuned, the filters and other replaceable parts are kept in good nick, and the oil and other fluids are as fresh as they need to be.

Your car's wheels and tyres have one of the vehicle's hardest jobs so they deserve your attention. Check their pressure every week or so.

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Make sure they have slightly more air than they actually need - this will save you some dosh when it comes to fuel, thanks to better handling.

It's important to keep your wheels aligned as well.

Every now and then you will have no choice but to load your vehicle to the brim, but don't make it a habit because constant heavy haulage will drag your wallet through the mud.

Try to keep the amount you carry in your car to a minimum, and if you have to tow a trailer or put stuff on the roof-racks make sure you pack everything so wind resistance is kept to a minimum.

Remember roof and bike racks and other add-ons such as spoilers increase a car's drag rating and that means more fuel will be used.

When you're at the petrol station don't get sucked in by the hype of premium versus normal fuel.

Use the fuel that is right for your car because the difference could mean big bucks over the vehicle's lifetime.

Only use premium if your engine is designed for it; otherwise stick with the lower octane fuels.

And never try to fill the tank past the pump's automatic shut-off because it's likely to end up on the ground - and that means less money in your bank account.



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