Posted by: Marty Fahncke | May 7, 2008

How a little air cost me $485

Checking tire pressureIn the old days, I did all my own car maintenance. Oil changes, repairs, etc. I even rebuilt and replaced engines.

Those days are long gone, and now even the most simple automotive maintenance tasks are “outsourced”. I always have the “full service” oil change done on a regularly scheduled basis.

This is a little lesson in checking the work you are having outsourced:

I’ve done several family road trips in the vehicle in the one year I’ve had it. Since my car is almost brand-new, I don’t worry about anything breaking down on it. However, before a long trip, I would usually double check the oil, water, and tire pressure…just in case. Oil – full. Water – full. Tire pressure – 32 psi. All is well.

This past weekend, we were doing a 650 mile round trip, so I did my usual “clean out the car, and check the vitals before hitting the road” ritual, even though I had just had the full service done that same week.

Oil, check
Water, check
Tire pressure, check…wait a minute. I just noticed something. The fine print on my tire says 44 psi, NOT 32 psi! I didn’t realize, but my low-profile, performance tires needed WAY more pressure than regular ones.  I guess the guys at the oil change place never paid attention either. 

For a year, I’ve been running 12 pounds less than I should have been. DUH!

What difference does that make? Easy. On this latest trip, my gas mileage went from 26 miles per gallons to 30.38 mpg!

Over one year, and 25,000 miles, that little mistake has cost me $485 in extra gas.

Lessons learned:

  • Check the pressure in your cars tires, and make sure they are at maximum recommended pressure
  • When outsourcing any part of your business, or your life, make sure the person(s) you are outsourcing to follow the proper instructions
  • Don’t assume the “experts” do things right every time. Whether it’s oil changes, advertising agencies, or medical doctors, get a second opinion, and double-check their work.


  1. Checking my tires today! Thanks for the pearl of wisdom.

  2. @Ann Good for you! Let me know if it makes a difference.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: