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. . . for our North East Victoria and Southern Riverina readers on our top five ways to save fuel, plus how to keep your vehicle sparkling clean

Our top five tips on how to save fuel

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1: Shop around for the lowest price for the fuel that suits your vehicle and try to keep your fuel tank topped up to avoid pump shock. There are several fuel watch websites you can got to if you don’t want to drive around the city or suburbs looking for the cheapest fuel. Supermarkets and other outlets offer reward cards with fuel discounts of around four cents. Sign up and reap the rewards


2: Plan ahead, drive less. Combine your daily runs rather than stagger them during the day. Do you need to drive to the shop if you can walk? Is public transport available, can you carpool, or can you work from home. If you are planning a long-distant trip, map out your route, taking the most direct way.


3: Check tyre pressures monthly and keep your vehicle maintained as per the service schedule. Air pressure placard can be on the trailing edge of the driver or front passenger door jamb, or on the inside of the fuel filler flap.


4: Reduce overall weight. Cut down on drag by removing roof racks and bike racks and remove anything heavy you may be carrying in the boot.


5: Drive steadily and sensibly. What was relevant years ago in terms of driving to conserve fuel is still relevant today, despite the huge gains in technology. Accelerate gently, drive to the conditions, maintain a steady speed, and stick to the speed limit. 

Keeping it clean

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EVERY car owner wants to have a clean vehicle with the least amount of effort, but how is this possible?

A clean car doesn't just look good, but also helps protect the paint and reduce corrosion over time. Just like you want to defend your car, keeping it clean is also important.

Of course, you need to be careful not to strip off the car wax, scratch the glass or paint, or leave bad water spots when cleaning your ride. But if you follow these useful tips, then you'll avoid common mistakes and instead wash your vehicle the right way.

Don't forget the interior

Before you get started on the exterior, check the interior of your car. Remove any bits of rubbish that may have accumulated over time and be sure to push the seats completely forward to see everything (maybe you'll find a lost $20 note).

Be sure to vacuum the seats and floor of the car, as well as using special car wipes for the dashboard, steering wheel, and around the radio and cup holder. You can also dust the vents and vacuum up any debris that falls out for extra cleanliness.

Ensure the inside and outside of your car windows aren't overlooked, either, as you need to be able to see through crystal clear glass for better vision of the roads. Your car must be perfectly clean everywhere, and this advice will make your windows look better than ever.

Select the right soap for your car

Many car owners have been told that using simple dish detergent is a fine choice for cleaning your vehicle… but this is incredibly wrong!

Dish soap is totally fine for your plates and cups to demolish grease, but those intense chemicals and detergents can remove the wax from your car and ruin the finish… no one wants that!

Specifically made car soap can be bought at any mechanics, auto parts store, or even in supermarkets. These products are great at removing dirt and grime but don't destroy your car's wax or rubber sealants. Simply find one that comes with good recommendations and has a nice scent.

Opt for two buckets instead of one.

The most efficient way to clean your car is by using two buckets. Fill one with water and car soap, and one with fresh water.

After you've rinsed your car with a hose using low pressure, dip your sponge or mitt into the soapy water and begin to work from the top to the bottom. Don't use circular motions, as a swiping motion from side to side is better for your paint.

The second bucket is to rinse off your sponge, so that you're not continuing to clean your car with dirt and debris still carried on the sponge (which can scratch the paint). Keep rinsing off the sponge every few minutes after you've been washing your car with soapy water.

Tip: If you drop your sponge or mitt on the ground, don't continue washing the car, as you'll likely transfer a lot of dirt, stones, and grime back onto the vehicle. Either grab a new sponge or wash it thoroughly with a hose.

When it comes to your wheels, leave these until last as they're bound to be the dirtiest part. You'll require a stiff brush to remove as much dirt as possible, as a simple sponge often isn't enough. 

Avoid washing in direct sunlight.

It's never a good idea to wash your car in direct sunlight, as the sun will dry up the water and soap incredibly quickly, leaving ugly spots across the paint and glass.

It’s best to wash your car under a roof, in the shade of a tree, or on a cloudy day. Don't think that the sun will dry your car faster, as it will undo all your hard work over the day!

Finish with a microfiber drying towel.

A household towel or dishcloth made from cotton or polyester isn't ideal for drying your car, as the fabric is too coarse and can make further scratches. A microfiber drying towel is soft and highly absorbent, which keeps the car paint safe and doesn't leave bad drying marks.

If you feel like it, you can complete the job with special car wax to further protect the paint and make your vehicle sparkle better than ever.

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