Regardless of today’s relatively low prices, nobody wants to spend a lot of money on gas. You can buy a vehicle with the best gas mileage, but if you really want to make the most out of your fuel budget, you are going to have to pay close attention to the way you drive and the way you maintain your car. Here are some tips to help you make your car more fuel-efficient and, hopefully, be able to save at the pump.
Check the Tires
Many drivers hit the road with tires that are underinflated or overinflated. This can have a significant impact on your mileage. For examples, tires that are underinflated eight pounds per square inch (PSI) can increase fuel use by as much as five percent. So, make it a habit to check your tire pressure regularly. Also, be sure to use the recommended PSI in your vehicle’s owner’s manual and not the one on the tire.
Schedule a Tune-Up
Fuel efficiency starts with an efficient engine, and an efficient engine needs to be kept in good shape with regular tune-ups. Changing the oil on time, replacing spark plugs when needed and keeping your engine clean and functional all will lead to better fuel efficiency. Keep in mind that your car will run at its best if you use the oil recommended by the manufacturer.
When you have a tune-up, check the condition of the air filter. If the air filter is clogged with grit and grime, you aren’t going to get the engine power that you need. When the car can’t pull enough air through the filter, it will compensate by sending more fuel to the engine, which increases your fuel use significantly. If the air filter is dirty, the engine can even stall while idling. Replace the air filter when needed.
Are you carrying heavy items in your trunk? The more weight in your vehicle, the more fuel it takes to move the vehicle. You can improve your gas mileage by lightening the load wherever possible. Reducing the weight on your car by 100 pounds can increase your fuel efficiency by up to 2 percent. Every little bit can help.
The way you drive can impact your fuel efficiency as well. First, make sure you aren’t driving with your foot on the brake. Instead, coast when possible to slow down, and use the brake when you need to stop. Second, avoid unnecessary idling. If you have to stop for several minutes or more — while waiting for a train, for example — turn off the car, as idling consumes up to a gallon of fuel per hour. Finally, aim to drive smoothly, avoiding harsh stops and fast accelerations, which lead to excessive fuel use. Avoiding rough roads can also help you drive more smoothly.
As you can see, fuel-efficient vehicles are ones that are well-maintained. Even if your car is a gas guzzler, you can take measures to make it more efficient. With these tips, you can help your car run as efficiently as possible and enjoy the benefit of lower fuel costs.
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