Who doesn’t want better gas mileage these days? Maximizing your fuel efficiency will not only save you money, it is better for your vehicle and the environment! With some proper maintenance, and simple tips and tricks, you can make fewer trips to the pump, which will be friendlier on your car, and your wallet.
- Tires - The right tires for your driving conditions are important. For the best gas mileage choose low rolling resistance tires. These are designed to maximize fuel efficiency and performance by increasing the tire’s grip on the road. Tires for racing and oversized off-roading tires are designed only for specific uses, and shouldn’t be used as your vehicle’s primary tires.
- Tire Inflation- Proper tire inflation for driving conditions will promote a smoother, more efficient ride. Tire inflation should be watched more in temperature extremes, and should be checked only when the tires are cool and have not been driven on recently.
- Wheel Balance- If your wheels aren’t balanced, they can wear unevenly or even bounce, preventing full contact with the road, diminishing fuel efficiency. For the best gas mileage, have your wheels balanced with every rotation.
- Proper Alignment – A vehicle with proper alignment will have less pull due to tires not working together with the driveline, and should use less gas. Proper alignment can also help save your tires, and decrease engine drag by creating less resistance, boosting your vehicle’s performance.
- Oil changes – Proper and frequent oil changes can be one of the best ways to maximize your gas mileage. Your vehicle will run smoother and cleaner, using less fuel. Make sure you are checking with your owner’s manual for exact specifications and using the recommended oil weight.
- Air filter – Air filters can be visually checked and changed when dirty, or checked with every oil change. If you live in an area with smog or pollution, or drive on dusty roads or through frequent road construction, you may need to check and change your air filter more often. Without clean, cool air mixing with the fuel to create combustion, your vehicle consumes more gas, and therefore lowers your vehicle’s efficiency.
- Maintenance - Maintaining you vehicle will improve its overall health, with the added bonus of better gas mileage. Regular tune-ups will replace spark plugs, checks for leaks in hoses, and tighten any belts. On your own, you can maintain your fuel filter, fuel pump, and gas cap, and watch for leaks or cracks. This is not only a fuel waster, but can be a safety hazard.
- Driving Habits- Stop and go traffic for city dwellers happens, which will lower your fuel efficiency. But many driving habits that can suck up extra fuel can be avoided- like jackrabbit starts, hitting the gas pedal as soon as a light turns green, rather than easing into it. Excessive speeds and freeway driving can also lower gas mileage due to the constant acceleration.
- Use the Right Gas - Unless your vehicle requires premium gasoline, most vehicles do just fine on regular unleaded gas. In fact, premium gas can burn less efficiently, actually reducing your gas mileage and wasting gas. Not only do you spend more at the pump, you’ll be fueling up more often.
Air Conditioning- It’s not a myth that driving with the air conditioner on can reduce gas mileage significantly. In the hotter months, it is nearly unavoidable. But, when possible, driving with the windows down or taking shorter trips will help you and your wallet in the long run.