Some owners keep their automobiles running like finely tuned Swiss watches. They carefully follow all of the manufacturer’s recommendations in the owner’s manual. They buy premium grade oil, order regular check-ups and rush to the repair shop when they detect any unusual noise.
However, most of us are inclined to skimp a little on maintenance and some of us never see the repair shop until the car quits. Sometimes this is due to finances but most of the time it is a matter of convenience. We need our cars to take us where we have to go and we’re reluctant to give them up even for a short period of time.
But, now that gasoline is still at astronomical prices, we need to re-think our maintenance practices. Letting some things go can cost us money in extra fuel consumption. For instance, repairing a faulty oxygen ensor can result in a 40% improvement in gas mileage. Tuning an engine can increase mileage by 4%.
You should be sure that your air filter is always clean. If your engine is fuel injected, airflow regulates the quantity of fuel that is burned. The process of mixing air and fuel is quite precise so the filter needs to be clean to ensure an efficient mixture. The air filter also protects your engine from impurities, extending the life of the engine as well as saving on gas.
It is also important to check oil regularly and change dirty oil. An engine with clean oil operates at maximum efficiency, which translates into gas savings. You should definitely use the grade of motor oil recommended by the manufacturer. Using one weight oil in an engine designed for a different weight can lower gas mileage up to 2%.
You can also realize greater efficiency from using a high-quality multi-grade oil but if there is a price difference you need to compare the costs involved.
And when your tires are not properly inflated, your gas mileage decreases by 5%. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that millions of American cars run on tires that are not correctly inflated. Correctly inflated tires will also last longer and are safer.
The owner’s manual always states the correct pressure for the tires. If you are driving a pre-owned car with no owner’s manual, you can call a local dealer or research the information on the net.
Radial tires are supposed to improve gas mileage by 5% when driving in the city and by 7% when driving on a highway. So if you don’t already use radials, you might consider switching.
Another benefit of radial tires is that they last longer. However, you should be careful not to mix radials with conventional tires unless the owner’s manual clearly states that this procedure is acceptable for that model car.
In addition, tires need to be properly balanced. Properly balanced tires reduce road friction thereby increasing fuel efficiency.
You also need to check wheel alignment to ensure that wheels are properly aligned. Wheels that are out of alignment also cause your car to burn extra fuel.
Although the savings from each practice might be small, the overall savings is worth the extra effort.