| Home | Why? | Tip Topics | Links |  News  | Photos/Contact | Message Post | Recipes | Site Map |



New Tips added every day !

see  tip-of-the-day

                                        SENIORS' TIPS - - -


 "Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time."  ~Steven Wright

Readers: If you drive with gasoline,, here is a graph you must ponder!

Saving on auto or transportation costs does not involve one magic silver bullet. It comes as the result of doing many things a little better. Here are some senior suggestions.

1. Fabulous way to compare today's gas prices at stations in your neighborhood, or anywhere else in the US!  Go to: MSN Local Gas Prices  SeniorArk set it to show prices in the President's neighborhood. (Do you think he goes over to the Sunoco Station for a fill-up?)  Change it to your zip code and start saving today!   Thanks to Lisa T., Spencer, NY
2. In many towns the bus system gives reduced or free transportation to Seniors during non-rush- hour travel. Call them to inquire.
3. Your town or county may have special transportation that is free or very low cost to Seniors. This is especially true for visits to medical appoints, but may be broader than that. Go to our links/government page, click on your state, and contact your agency on aging to see what might be available where you live.
4. Change your oil frequently. This may be the most important thing you can do to extend the life of your car. I go to one of those special oil change shops because they check all of my fluids, as well as the air pressure in my tires. I mean, when did YOU last check your transmission or brake fluids? You can also return to them to have all of these items checked at no charge between oil changes. The last time I did this, they added a quart of oil, fluid to my window washer, and air in one tire.    They also make suggestions about filter changes, wiper blades, and other items  that may need changing. Be careful that you are not replacing a good item. The last time I visited, they handed my air filter to me so I could observe the dust that had built up.  I took the filter, banged it a couple times on the brick exterior of their building, and handed it back to be reinstalled. Most of the dust was on their driveway.
5. I have read that most of the damage done to your engine occurs the first 30 seconds when you start up.  This is because the oil settles to the bottom of the oil pan, so the engine parts run a few seconds unlubricated. So, I purchase a special additive for about $10 per quart and add it when my oil is changed. If you do this, be sure to ask the mechanics to leave your engine one quart low, or your additive will overfill. This special additive adheres to your engine parts when the engine is not running, so your parts are lubricated during that critical 30 second period. Ten dollars extra is a lot to spend a few times a year, but it is cheap if the life of the engine is extended.
6. Get a tire air pressure gauge and check that pressure frequently. There are multiple benefits to keeping the tires properly inflated. First, they wear more evenly if properly inflated. An over inflated tire wears in the center, while an under inflated one wears on the edges. Second, an under inflated tire will drag, causing the car to drive unevenly. Also you gas mileage will suffer. An over inflated tire will not grip the pavement properly, and may slip more quickly on wet pavement. I confess that I inflate one to two pounds over the tire manufacturers recommendation. The ride is a little bumpier than normal, but I hope to save a little more gas. I am not recommending this practice.
7. I know seniors who have wonderful new cars that rarely leave the driveway. Consider purchasing a car with another senior friend in the neighborhood, and sharing. Hard to do, but it sure will save money. This sure would not be my first choice, but it may be affordable. Agencies have even formalized car-sharing in some of the larger cities( http://www.carsharing.net/).   (http://www.flexcar.com/)   (http://www.zipcar.com/)   for example. Go to www.google.com, and search for "car sharing".
8. Go to a senior center in your neighborhood and find a friend whose driving you trust. Work an arrangement where you do certain tasks at the same time. You buy the gas and pay for parking, tolls, etc. Believe me, it will help you, and you will come out ahead in the cost area , and your friend will save money too.
8. Call your department on aging to see what is available.
9. When I was disabled for a time, my church deacon's board brought food to my home, and offered transportation to anywhere I needed to go. Call your clergyman and check it out. There are plenty of people in congregations who get much joy in helping you get somewhere. You may make their day. ASK FOR HELP!
10. Most Fuel-Efficient cars---2007   Edmunds.com
  1. Toyota Prius — 60/51*
    Affordably priced at $22K and up, the Prius is a bargain on many fronts. Real-world fuel economy doesn't match EPA estimates, but this hybrid car is still the most fuel-efficient vehicle on the market.

  2. Honda Civic Hybrid — 49/51*
    What's even more practical than the eminently practical Civic? The Civic Hybrid, which melds hybrid frugality with the poise and refinement of Honda's perennial best seller.

  3. Toyota Camry Hybrid — 40/38*
    The popular Camry offers a roomy cabin and acceleration that's more brisk than is typical for a four-cylinder family sedan. The newly introduced Camry Hybrid offers all this, plus a fuel-sipping hybrid engine.
  4. Toyota Yaris — 34/40
    With a starting price of $11K, the brand-new Yaris is the most affordable car in Toyota's lineup. Available as a three-door hatchback or a sedan, the Yaris offers a versatile interior — thanks to available sliding and reclining rear seats — and pleasant handling.
  5. Honda Fit — 33/38
    Coming in at about 20 inches shorter than the Civic, the Fit is a pint-sized new entry from Honda. For a price that starts at around $13K, you get agile handling and ample standard features.
  6. Toyota Corolla — 32/41
    You probably know that the Toyota Corolla is one of the most reliable cars on the market. What you might not know is that this roomy hauler is also one of the most fuel-efficient.
  7. Mini Cooper — 32/40*
    The Mini is known for its tiny dimensions and singular looks. What you may not know is that it's also one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles on the market. Its engineering and suspension come courtesy of BMW, its parent company, so if you slide behind the wheel, you'll definitely enjoy the ride.
  8. Hyundai Accent/Kia Rio — 32/35
    The 2007 Accent and its twin, the Kia Rio, nabbed the "Editors' Most Wanted Sedan Under $15,000" prize on account of agreeable handling and a generous standard features list. Both cars seem determined to upgrade our expectations of what economy cars should be.
  9. Honda Civic — 30/40*
    The Civic is a class leader in the small-car category, and with good reason. Available in coupe and sedan configurations, this Honda offers a roomy interior, composed handling and excellent safety ratings.
  10. Nissan Versa — 30/36*
    Fuel economy concerns have sparked the growth of the subcompact segment, with new entries like the Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris coming to market. The brand-new Nissan Versa is one of the best in this category, with a spacious interior and stellar materials quality.

11. Speeding, rapid acceleration, and rapid braking all waste gas – and reduce mileage by as much as 33 percent at highway speeds, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).  Avoid jack-rabbit starts, going instead for slow acceleration from a dead stop.
12. Speeding cuts fuel economy 7 to 23 percent, as gas mileage decreases rapidly above 60 mph.  Each five mph you drive over 60 is like paying an extra 25 cents per gallon, or more.
13. Avoid idling.  There are no miles-per-gallon to measure while idling. The larger the engine, the more fuel wasted by idling. If you will be stopped more than 30 seconds, turn off the engine.
14. Think ahead. Combine your errands in a given area. Put off a non-urgent errand until you need to do another. Go at a time that traffic is reduced---avoid commute periods.
15. Use cruise control when possible. Your car will adjust acceleration in a more fuel-efficient way than you will manually.
16. Fuel economy while using air conditioning is an interesting area. I have read that if you are driving around town, you will save dramatically by turning off the air conditioner and opening the windows. But on the open highway, the air "drag" of having your windows open offsets any savings you experience from not using the air conditioner. So on the interstate, close those windows and enjoy that cool air.
17. A light colored car and interior will reflect the heat of the sun, and you should need less air conditioning. Some folks also feel that placing an internal cover over the windshield and back window will reduce the heat buildup in your car while you are parked, thus reducing your inclination to hit the air conditioner immediately.
18. Go to this site for more gas-saving tips. http://www.aaanewsroom.net/Files/gaswatch02.pdf.
19. Great article from AOL and thecarconnection.com on which fuel grade to use in your car.
20. Your debit card might be a convenient way to pay for gas, but it's a no-win proposition. When you swipe a debit card at the pump, the bank doesn't know how much money you'll be spending until you've finished pumping. So to make sure you have the funds to cover the purchase, some stations ask banks to automatically set aside some of your money: That amount used to be $20, but with gas prices going up, stations have started asking banks to hold $50, even $100. That means even if you just topped off your tank for $10, you could be out $100 until the station sends over its bulk transactions, which can take up to three days. If your funds are running low, you might end up bouncing a check in the meantime — even though you had the money in your account.
21. Oil companies spend lots of money explaining why their gas is better than the competition's. Chevron's gas, for example, is fortified with "Techron," and Amoco Ultimate is supposed to save the planet along with your engine. But today more than ever, one gallon of gas is as good as the next.
22. Oil companies charge each station a different price for gas, depending on things such as the station's competition and its location. Buy your gas, if possible in an area of several stations who compete.
23. Call your local Jiffy Lube to see if they participate in a Senior discount. Many in the country do. My experience is that although they are a bit more expensive than some other locations, they do give some good service like topping off auto fluids and checking tire pressure. But be careful about the extras they will try to sell you. And if you decide to do extras, insist on watching. Recent TV investigations showed that when extras were suggested, some very expensive, they were never done. This problem is not limited to Jiffy Lube, I suspect.  I just hope my oil is really changed and the filter is not just shined up to look new. Mark it before you go in, and check it later.
24. Finding a good repair shop is one of the toughest tasks of car ownership, because there often isn't a good, clear choice. The key is, of course, to find a good, trustworthy mechanic before things go wrong. If you've already found a competent, honest mechanic, good for you. For the rest of us, here's how you might try: 11 Ways to Find a Good Mechanic
25. New car to save gas, or keep the old one? Even if it gets just 15 mpg, a paid-for vehicle can be a better money saver than a new car that saves more on gas. After all, the bottom line is how it much it costs to operate your vehicle; not just how much it costs to feed it. Does it really matter whether you're spending cash on gas at $3 per gallon or $300 per month on a new car payment?  More on this...
26. Do I need premium gas? Don't be gulled by slick oil company marketing ploys about the benefits of premium fuel: few new cars really need it and those that don't won't run any better from using it. Take a look at your owner's manual; it will tell you the manufacturer's fuel recommendations. What happens, in fact, if you use regular or even mid-grade gas in a car that really does need premium? If the car in question is a late-model one, nothing that will cause any permanent problems. The computer will adjust the ignition timing and other engine parameters to compensate for the lower-octane juice. You may notice a slight fall-off in acceleration, but no engine damage or drivability problems should arise.
27. 10 Steps to Buying a New Car
28.  10 Steps to Selling Your Car 
29.   How to Shop for Insurance      CLICK THIS INSURANCE NIGHTMARE
30. If you are having a tough time separating hybrid truth from reality, you're not alone. The warp-speed adoption of hybrids into popular culture -- and into hundreds of thousands of American driveways -- has produced more than a little confusion and misinformation.  Read: The Myths Behind Hybrids
30. Automobile insurance plays an important role in protecting consumers from serious financial losses resulting from accidents, but choosing the best options can feel daunting. The Better Business Bureau Inc., serving eastern Massachusetts, Maine, and Vermont has information to help cut the cost of auto insurance while remaining well protected in case of an accident.
 31. There are at least 7 things everyone should stock in the car in case of emergency. There may be times when this is our last line of defense. Emergency Car Equipment
32.  MPG versus Money  The conventional wisdom about many things is often not very wise. Tips on how to battle high gas prices, for example, can sometimes end up costing you a fortune.
33. If you just need a vehicle for short trips around your neighborhood, then you might consider buying a “neighborhood electric vehicle,” or NEV. In most states, these “carlets” can legally travel on public roads with speed limits of 35 mph or less. • These small, quiet and inexpensive cars can travel 25 mph for up to 30 miles before their lead-acid batteries must be recharged.  Read more
34. Fluid Flush Fallacy  Have you been swindled into thinking you need to change other fluids every time you ask for an oil change? See what an experienced mechanic says about that and his own industry. Inside scoop here
35. How does your state compare when it comes to auto insurance prices? See survey of 47 states done by Insurance.com
36. Interesting talk and tips on cars: http://www.cartalk.com/
37. Protect yourself----and your diriver's license.  10 Safety Tips for the Road
38. What is horsepower? For years we have thrown around the term "by the hundreds". Now you can be the smartest guy (or gal) in the grease pit. Definition
39. Survey of top 25 US cities. Least to Most Courteous drivers.
40. Gas prices have topped $3 per gallon in most of the US by May 2007. Here are some tips you can use that wil, according to Consumer Reports, save you a little gas:
  • Make sure your tires are properly inflated for starters. Besides posing a safety hazard, underinflated tires can reduce your fuel economy slightly, based on Edmunds.com's 2005 study.

  • Removing excess weight from your car can also help save you gas. The Department of Energy estimates that drivers can save anywhere between 3 and 6 cents a gallon (assuming gas prices of $2.97 a gallon) just by removing those golf clubs and other unnecessary weight from your trunk.

  • If your car comes equipped with cruise control, make sure you use it, especially on long trips. Edmunds.com's study revealed that using cruise control at highway speeds offered an average fuel economy savings of 7 percent.
  • But the biggest fuel saver is driving the speed limit and driving sensibly. Rapid starts and stops and exceeding the speed limit will dent your pocketbook. Just by adhering to one of those, the Department of Energy estimates that drivers can save anywhere between 15 and 98 cents a gallon, again assuming pump prices are at $2.97 a gallon. more from Consumer Reports
  • 41. Useful government site: www.fueleconomy.gov
    42. Thought about buying one of those gas saving devices. Save your money. Read the US Government test results. http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/autos/gasave.pdf
    43. New Car Hits 92mpg. Is the Ale the Car of the Future?
    44. SeniorArk feels this might take the fun out of riding in a car, but we do print reasonable and safe submissions. Bill W from Florida says:  "You can strip your car of all the interior. I know it sounds really bad but take everything out that doesn't need to be there. This will reduce your car's weight, and increase your gas mileage. Do you really need your back seat? Your carpeting? Interior door coverings?" Glove box door?"
    45. See the 25 Things You Should Always Have In Your Car from thesimpledollar.com
    46. Ready to take that road trip, but dreading the construction delays you might encounter? Now you can access construction projects, delays, and a lot more at this Federal Highway Administration Page. Click the map for complete information on the state you need.


    Toyota iQ: Toyota could use a motorcycle-derived Yamaha engine to power its IQ, the microcar concept that was unveiled at the Frankfurt motor show in September. Frugal fuel consumption and very low emissions will certainly be priorities, as basic versions of the IQ will be aimed at developing markets as well as chic young European urbanites.

    Production of this diminutive urban runabout will begin late in 2008 and a compact 1.0-litre engine could be packaged into its small rear engine bay.  more

    48. Road test: Mini Cooper D  The Cooper D's on-paper stats are pretty impressive. The car's new 1.6-litre engine pumps out a respectable 110bhp, and pulling power (torque) is a considerable 177lb/ft available from just 1,750rpm. This all translates into a top speed of 121mph and a more-than-acceptable 0 to 62mph sprint time of 9.9 seconds. This combines with an average fuel economy of 64.2mpg and a C02 rating of 118g/km, which means VED tax band B.
    49.2009 Honda FCX Clarity The Honda Clarity. What you see pictured is the world's first fuel cell-powered car designed from the ground up expressly for that purpose with series production in mind...The Honda FCX Clarity takes the layout and design themes first seen in two years ago in the FCX concept to completion. As we reported earlier this week, the FCX Clarity will be available for lease to retail customers beginning in the summer of 2008. Read article.       See More 2009 Honda FCX Clarity Photos
    50. Many states have reduced fees for seniors, sometimes associated with income levels. My wife just applied for a reduced auto registration fee of $10 in Pennsylvania. The regular rate is $36. Finding this reduction was not easy on the state web site. But we were alerted by our state representative to this benefit. We will also qualify for a multi-hundred dollar reduction in our real estate tax. A PA senior may also qualify for reduced dog license fees, hunting and fishing license fees. Talk with your state government representative about benefits for seniors in your state.
    51. According to laboratory tests, hydroplaning occurs on a wet road surface at speeds of 50MPH or higher. The deeper the water, the worse it becomes. You're driving along in the rain, and suddenly your car is out of control, acting as if it were on ice. What is happening? A thin sheet of water has formed between the tire tread area and the road surface. Your vehicle has become a powerful sled and you're along for a wild ride!  Read more on hydroplaning.
    52. I don't know what you guys are paying for gasoline.... but here in California we are also paying higher, up to $3.50 per gallon. But my line of work is in petroleum for about 31 years now, so here are some tricks to get more of your money's worth for every gallon.
    53, Are those unsettling warnings appearing on your car's message center? You know, "service engine soon", "anti-lock brakes (ABS)", "check engine". First, yellow usually means be concerned. Red usually means STOP AND CALL FOR HELP. My "check engine" light was coming and going for a couple weeks. Rather than go to the dealer or service center for an expensive diagnosis, I stopped at the local "Advance Auto" parts store. They connected their computer, we ran the car, and they gave me the results---TOTALLY FREE. I need some kind of valve, and my plugs are misfiring for some reason. Nothing dire, but I was advised to take this information to my mechanic. I will ask them to replace the valve first, and then see if things improve. Then I may need a 100,000 mile tune up on my 94,000 mile , 11-year-old DeVille.
    54. One of our readers suggests this little "feel-good" trick in this day of $3.49/gal gasoline:  Fill up your tank for $7. For seniors and others who may only drive their car a few times per week on short trips, you can fill your gas tank for $7. How you ask? This is easy on the pocket book, and one that I prefer. The next time you fill your tank and you make a short trip, your tank is about perhaps 2 gallons short. On your next outing pull into the gas station and put in about $7 worth, no more. So your tank is not completely full perhaps. Well on your next trip get $7 more, no more. Try it, you'll like it. Isn't it a little bit better than spending $50 or more filling up?
    Sent by haiki

    SeniorArk adds: This little trick may make the fill-up less painful, but it sure is time consuming.

    55. Environmentalchemistry.com suggests: Highway driving in hilly terrain is another opportunity for saving fuel. Typically people try to keep an even driving speed up and down hills, which requires pressing harder on the gas up hill and riding the brakes down hill to maintain a safe and presumably legal speed. This wastes fuel up hill and opportunity down hill. If you maintain an even pressure on the gas peddle up a hill and allow some speed to bleed off near the crest of the hill you will have used less fuel to crest the hill and will have a wider margin of speed you can increase going down the other side before you have to touch the brakes. This habit has to be moderated by other considerations like how many cars are behind you and how long/steep the hill is, but it can be a useful way to save gas. Read entire article.
    56. Three simple ways to save money on your car.

     Check gas cap: One in six car owners on the road is spending more on gas than they need to because of their gas cap. Approximately 17% of vehicles on the road have gas caps that are either damaged, improperly placed on or missing altogether. Gas caps that aren't firmly closed allow gas vapors to escape resulting in the loss of 147 million gallons of gasoline each year which vanishes into the air.

    Check spark plugs: Dirty and worn spark plugs cause misfiring in the engine that wastes fuel, increases exhaust emissions and reduces power. Most people learn that they need to change spark plugs when their engine has a hard time starting, but they have been wasting money long before things got this bad since the wear is gradual. Most standard spark plugs need to be changed every 45,000 miles while long-lasting platinum spark plugs need replacement every 100,000 miles.

    Check air filter: Air filters get clogged with dirt, dust and other material from the road. As the filter becomes clogged, the airflow through it decreases, which results in a "rich" mixture of too much gas and not enough air going to the engine. The result is wasted gas and a loss of engine power. Simply replacing or cleaning a badly clogged air filter can improve gas mileage by as much as 10%.

    57. It appears that buying a used car every 5 years would be less expensive than purchasing a new car every 10 years.  Of course, pretty big assumptions were made in this post so the calculations were meant to be relative. The biggest issue with new cars is the massive depreciation after the first year.  If you are a new car person, why not buy an "almost new" car that is one or two years old?  At least that way you still get the new car feel, intact warranty, AND you don't need to pay for the initial 30% depreciation. Read More, if still available.
    58. In all new 2008 auto models, you'll hear a ding on your dashboard with an alert that your tire pressure dropped or if it's too high. The tire pressure monitoring system valve will help with your fuel efficiency and your safety. For all other models, remember, all vehicles give you a cheat sheet right on the inside of the driver's side door for tire size and pressure.
    59. Gas-saving myth and truth?
    60. 26 Great Tips on how to save money on gas in this expensive market.
    Owners of cars that run on natural gas save money by only paying 63 cents a gallon. Most owners say they fill up for less than seven dollars.  (Four Points Media )61. Most people are sick of paying high prices at the pump, but for many Utahans, neglecting to drive is not an option. Instead of not driving, some Utahans are switching to vehicles that run on natural gas. At a Flying J in Springville, the price of unleaded gas is almost $4 a gallon. But if you look over at the price on natural gas, you see it’s only 63 cents a gallon. Read Article
    62. 75 Gas-Saving Tips submitted by Jan in Oregon. Along with links to the source, Christian Personal Finance online.
    63. Is your life at risk because your tires are older than you think? ABC News exposes a problem with a lot of the tires being sold as new, but which have been on the shelf for years, dangerously drying out. Watch the report at: http://abcnews.go.com/Video/playerIndex?id=4826897  You will need the free Adobe Flash Player.
    64. Have your plastic auto headlight covers gotten foggy after years of hitting various forms of grit? You can buy a new cover for up to and over $100, or your garage may restore both for $50 (mine offers this), or you can try something like this or this. Be very careful, and search for a variety of advice online, using what makes the most sense to you.
    64. At any one time, 11 million students in this country are preparing for jobs in auto repair, home construction, Web design, computer technology, horticulture, cosmetology . . . the list goes on. And in each class, whether it's at a high school, a community college or one of 1,400 vocational-technical centers, the instructional mantra is the same: to learn by doing. Find such a school in your community and you might cut a $4,000 repair down to a size $600. Read more at MSN.
    65. Are you being cheated at the fuel pump? Read this information from one of our readers. And remember to always print out a receipt, and compare it with what the pump says.
    66. If you are a two car family, consider the possibility of cutting back on a vehicle. Use public transport or walk when possible or join a car pool. If you can't do without your car look at performing maintenance tasks yourself rather than using a garage, many of the jobs that need doing to your car are easily within the abilities of most people.
    67. Insurance for our two 1997 autos (value about $3,500 each) has climbed to $1,710 per year. I called my insurance agent, and we decided to trim here and there, while still keeping excellent coverage. The bill for the coming year will now be $1,135. That is a savings of nearly $600. Do it.

    We gave up something in Pennsylvania called "full torte", and settled for "mini torte". It has to do with whether we can sue the pants off someone in case of an accident. We retained comprehensive for damage to our vehicle, but increased the deductible to $500. We reduced our medical expenses coverage, since Medicare will pick up any excess cost. Dropped road service--we have AAA.

    68. 91. Before you purchase ANYTHING, go online and search this way: (Name the product, such as Panasonic TV), then add the words coupons, discount codes, sales. You should be able to find the best deal possible if you spend a few minutes going to the sites listed with the results of your search. A while back my wife and I wanted to fly roundtrip from Pittsburgh to Boston. We did this search, and up popped a lead to Jet Blue. Will you believe that we flew each way for $27?
    69. Each week I get an email from "Jenny" at the Pittsburgh Airport. In that email she lists the very best fares from each airline to various destinations. INVALUABLE!!! Check your airports online site to see if something like this is available. If not, tell them about Jenny.

    Seniors are waiting for your tip here.  *****   Or submit a useful link for a links section.

    Where can I find -- a great home -- in a great town --  for less than $50,000?

                      Click to add SeniorArk to your favorites!   

    www.SeniorARK.com                                        email: SeniorARK@aol.com