.: K-Series News & Information :. - Gas prices getting you down? - Enter the daily driver and how to drive to save money!
  • Gas prices getting you down? - Enter the daily driver and how to drive to save money!

    Gas prices getting you down? - Enter the daily driver

    Many of us have taken that extra step and modified our car to the point where itís sucking down a little more fuel than it used to. Some of us even need to bump it up from regular to PREMIUM (93) octane (gasp!) and then there are the few, the insane, the hard core that run higher still or octane boosters (fetal position, cry). This is where a dedicated daily driver should be seriously considered.

    How do you pick what your everyday car should be? How do you find something thatís not a total piece, get good gas mileage and be semi reliable? Of course Iím talking about a Honda/Acura.

    Currently ANY Civic, Accord or Integra (Mid 80's to late 90's) would be my choice. Theyíre all over the place, parts are plenty for those that need a little extra TLC and tuning/fixing them is easy with a plethora of forums to choose from for maintenance tips.

    1986 - 89 Honda Accord (Sedan, Coupe, Hatch) (Price Range: $800 - $2000)

    1988 - 91 Honda Civic (Sedan, Wagon, Hatch) (Price Range: $800 - $2000)

    1992 - 95 Honda Civic (Sedan, Coupe, Hatch) (Price Range: $1500 - $3000)

    1990 - 93 Honda Accord (Sedan, Coupe, Wagon) (Price Range: $3000 - $5000)

    1991 - 93 Acura Integra (Sedan, Coupe) (Price Range: $1000 - $3000)

    1996 - 2000 Honda Civic (Sedan, Coupe, Hatch) (Price Range: $2500 - $4000)

    1994 - 1997 Honda Accord (Sedan, Coupe, Wagon) (Price Range: $5000 - $7000)

    1994 - 2000 Acura Integra (Sedan, Coupe) (Price Range: $4500 - $6500)

    What to look for first and foremost
    You need something that runs, and runs well. A car that will not fall apart the first time you accelerate, brake or slam the hood closed.

    • Leaking or blown struts/shocks: A bad ride will not make you want to drive this car to work and back everyday.
    • Leaking Oil: Major engine repairs are rarely on the list of things that most can do. Avoid this unless you can definitively tell that it's fixable.
    • White or black smoke from the exhaust - Same premise as above
    • Rust - This is huge for me. No point in buying a car that's already decomposing.
    • AC - A must for Floridians like myself, but could be removed for those in the north
    • Performance/Aftermarket Modifications - Modded cars may have been ridden hard, may not be the best candidate due to possible abuse.
    • Interior - Make sure it's all there and that it doesn't stink of death. While cars can be cleaned...some may be completely replaced.

    Take the car on a test drive. A nice 10 min drive in local traffic and highway (if there's one nearby) so you can see how the car reacts to slow driving/turning and higher speed interactions. Also, this gives you a chance to see if you like the overall driving "quirks" the car has and if it will suit you and your needs.

    HEED THIS WARNING: Don't get a car that you really like. "That doesn't even make sense, why not?" Well, if you get a car that you like or think looks really good...you're going to want to modify it. Once that starts to happen, then you'll have 2 garage queens and be shopping for another daily driver...if you aren't single at this point, you're about to be.

    So you have this "new to you" car, time to start saving millions! Not yet. You need to do the basic maintenance to ensure the best gas mileage possible.

    • Replace the air filter
    • Change the oil and oil filter
    • Replace the fuel filter
    • Check the tires, if they're good, make sure they're correctly inflated (and even over inflate them to create a smaller contact patch for better mpg)
    • SeaFoam - Use this in the crankcase/motor to clean out the carbon build up before you do your oil change. This product will clean up the engine and help with the drivability and gas economy.
    • Replace your wipers - I know, seems odd, but this should be done regularly anyway.

    Driving Habits:
    Here's a few tips to keep the gas consumption down.

    • Coast to red lights and down hills. Put the car in neutral, and ride it to the red. If you time this right, you can really maximize you time off the gas.
    • Slowly accelerate to the posted limit. "Gasing" it off the line sucks gas up, taking it slower and taking your time will save at the pump.
    • If you have to modify your car, these mods will help with the aerodynamics of your car and possibly help with your fuel economy.

      • Lighter wheels
      • Lowering the car
      • Aero mods (blocking off the bumper openings to deflect air out and around the car) Be careful to not do this excessively as your car will overheat without some fresh air.

    If you live in a more urban environment, I suggest looking into a scooter or motorcycle (depending on the distance of your commute). You can find used Honda scooters from $500-$1500 and at 70mpg, you just can't beat it! Look for our feature on the 2009 Honda Ruckus to see what Honda and the aftermarket are doing with these gas saving wonders!

    2009 Honda Ruckus (Price Range: MSRP $2149)

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