Even when prices at the pump aren’t too bad, it doesn’t hurt to know how simple car care and pinch pennies. Well now that the cost per gallon is way up, Audra Fordin has some advice on how to keep the dollar signs down. It’s less money at the pump and more money for “Your Drive.”

AUDRA FORDIN: There are a lot of simple, common sense things that you ought to know about when it comes to maintaining your car and saving money at the pump. Here with us today is our online parts expert Tom Taylor. Welcome Tom.

TOM TAYLOR: Thanks for having me.

AUDRA FORDIN: We’re so glad you’re here and I’m excited to learn about some money saving tips.

TOM TAYLOR: Yeah, if you—uh, if your fuel economy has declined by 10 percent and you’re putting 100 dollars’ worth of gas in your car every time you fill up, that’s—that’s 10 dollars you’re—you’re wasting every time you fill up. And that’s enough to pay for the parts you need to maintain your vehicle, to, uh, make it—the vehicle last longer, make it perform better.

Um, the first one is just the engine air filter. Those still, like in old cars, they need to be replaced every 30,000 miles or so, depending on your—how dusty and how many—how buggy your environment is. And then the old trying to do the spark plugs, instead of 30,000 miles the owner’s manual may recommend 100,000 miles, and that’s certainly possible. These—these examples here do have 100,000 miles on them. The gap isn’t too far out of spec; but, there’s other parts that need a repla—be replaced along with the spark plugs which may wear out sooner, and that’s these, um, boots and these seals and these springs. Those parts that replace the spark plug wires, they used to be—they’re in older cars, and those, like spark plug wires, those can, um, crack over time and start arcing and, um, causing misfires and such.

AUDRA FORDIN: I remember, maybe 20 years ago, when spark plugs used to need to be replaced every 30,000 miles; and now they put platinum tips on them and dual tips so they don’t need to be replaced, like you said, for 100,000 miles. But from my experience, I have seen spark plugs, because of heat in the engine, that actually seized in there, which cause a whole other set of problems for the consumer.

TOM TALYOR: Uh, another part that may not be in the owner’s manual surprisingly— it really should be there—is the oxygen sensor. Those need to be replaced typically every 60,000 miles or so because bringing signals from the exhaust that tell the computer what the fuel/air ratio is—do I need to add more air or add more fuel? And if those aren’t working, then the computer loses track of how the engine is running. The computer can compensate for a while if one of these parts is worn out or a signal’s off, but you’ll immediately start losing fuel economy if the computer is, like, ignoring a few misfires here or there. That sort of thing.

AUDRA FORDIN: Sure, that’s a cause and effect right there. If you get contamination, there’s a carbon build up and that causes some fuel economy problems as well, and that air filter can cause you up to 10 percent in fuel economy.

TOM TAYLOR: Yeah, so one tank of gas you’ve saved enough. If you stop wasting that ten dollars, you have enough money, more than enough money to buy a new air filter.

AUDRA FORDIN: Exactly. Well thank you so much, Tom. And if you have any questions or comments, reach out to us, right here at MotorWeek.