With gas prices approaching all time highs, there are several things you can do to make sure you get the best fuel economy out of your vehicle. These four simple things can save you money and make the burden at the gas pump a little less painful.
Although rare with newer vehicles, an improperly tuned engine that misfires, stutters, or has a mixture that is too lean or too rich can waste gasoline. If your vehicle has failed to pass a smog test, or just barely passed, this could be a good indication that a tune-up is needed. If there is a more serious problem, such that the check engine light is on, make sure you get this sorted out as soon as possible. Fixing something like a faulty oxygen sensor or an emissions system can improve your gas mileage by as much as 35%.
Fuel Savings: $.10/Gallon
Replace Air Filter
An engine needs air to breath. If there is an obstruction to the airflow into the engine, it has to work harder and burn more fuel to meet the demand of your foot pressing on the gas pedal. A dirty air filter can have a big negative impact on engine performance as well as on your fuel economy. Fortunately, they are very easy to replace and you can buy them at any Wal-Mart or auto parts store. Usually they should be replaced when the oil is changed, but they may need to be replaced sooner if you drive in dusty or sandy environments. A clean air filter can make a huge difference on you fuel economy.
Fuel Savings: $.05 – $.10/Gallon
All four tires on your vehicle should be inflated to the recommended pressures for your vehicle. You can find this information in the vehicle manual or even on the internet. A tire that is under-inflated will create more drag which means your engine has to work harder to meet the demand of your foot pressing on the pedal. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.4 percent for every 1 psi drop in pressure of all four tires. In cold weather climates, the air pressure in a tire can drop by as much as 3 psi per month.
Fuel Savings: $.01 – $.10/Gallon
Make sure you use the recommended oil grade for you vehicle. You want the oil to provide protection to your engine, but using too heavy an oil can create more friction which means your engine has to work harder. For example, using 10W-30 motor oil in an engine designed to use 5W-30 can lower your gas mileage by 1-2 percent.
Fuel Savings: $.02 – $.05/Gallon