While not driving altogether is a great way to lower your gas bill, your teenager probably won’t enjoy walking to school. Instead of eliminating driving, let’s look at practical things that we can do to improve our car’s gas efficiency.
How Can I Increase My Gas Efficiency?
Declutter Your Vehicle
Reducing the weight in the car by 100 pounds can help you save on fuel. Stop using the trunk as a long-term storage solution for infrequently used camping gear and sports equipment. Besides, you should be able to get to the first aid kit and car jack without emptying the trunk to find them.
Roof racks, bike racks, and cargo boxes should not be permanent features on your vehicle. Removing them will improve wind resistance and help improve fuel economy.
Many newer cars have a stop/start feature. When coming to a stop the system automatically shuts down the engine. Then, when the brake is released the engine starts again. Whenever possible, turn off the engine.
Always try to maintain a steady speed and stick to the speed limit. Fuel efficiency is lost after reaching 45-50 miles an hour. Using the cruise control function on highways and interstates can help you maintain steady speeds. Be mindful that hard braking and heavy accelerating contribute to wasting gas.
Underinflated tires decrease fuel efficiency. Therefore, in order to maintain your vehicle’s gas efficiency, it is imperative to keep your tires properly inflated. Correct inflation will also ensure that the tread on tires lasts longer. For most vehicles, you can locate the correct PSI (tire pressure) on a decal on the inside of the driver’s door or on the driver’s door pillar.
Dirty connections, air filters, and spark plugs can all have adverse effects on fuel efficiency. A dirty air filter in a car is like having a tight chest and struggling to breathe. Dirty plugs can make a car difficult to start and contributes to fuel waste. A regular tune-up, clean-up, and tire rotation will save on gas, reduce your car’s emissions, and extend the life of your vehicle.
Reduce Brake Drag
Older models of brakes have calipers that can rust and bind. To check for rust and bind, an auto mechanic will use an infra-red thermometer. If you are seeing a decrease in fuel efficiency, take your car to your local auto body shop and have them check out your brakes. While the car is there, have a mechanic check the wheel alignment as this too can improve gas efficiency.
Check the Thermostat
A thermostat that is failing or broken can open too quickly or stay open. This lowers the coolant temperature and wastes fuel. Have a mechanic check the car’s thermostat at every regular maintenance interval. Keep an eye on the temperature gauge to see if your car is actually warming up or not. Replacing the thermostat is quite easy and they are relatively cheap at around $10.00.
Heed Warning Lights
A warning light means that something is wrong. If the check engine light comes on, this could be an indication of a problem with a vacuum leak or a sensor. It could be that the gas is not burning completely and going directly into the catalytic converter which is expensive to replace. If the check engine light comes on, take your car to a local auto mechanic to diagnose the problem and resolve the issue.
Additional Information: Gas-Saving Tips – U.S. Department of Energy
Dave & Rays Automotive Repair Shop in Omaha, NE
Our team has learned one thing: automotive problems are as varied and unique as the customers who bring them to us. Fortunately, our decades of experience in auto service and repair also mean that our skilled network of professionals is ready to accommodate an impressive scope of automotive issues. Contact us today.
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