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3 Tips and Tricks for Enhancing Fuel Efficiency in Cold Weather

Updated on December 24, 2017

As winter approaches, more and more vehicles become less and less fuel efficient. In most cases, these vehicles will start to use a lot more gas, which can be taxing on drivers. In fact, studies show that fuel efficiency drops 12% when temperatures drop from 77 degrees Fahrenheit to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Hybrid vehicles experience an even larger drop in fuel efficiency.

Fortunately, there are many different way to enhance the fuel efficiency of any vehicle during the winter. Take a look at these 3 easy tips and tricks that are often recommended by car dealerships.

Get Rid of the Roof Rack

Although a roof rack may be convenient for storing and carrying large items, like a canoe, they really don’t have much use in the winter. It’s best to remove them as soon as possible. Those who have difficulties removing a car rack can usually bring their vehicle back to the car dealerships, and they’ll have a professional do it.

A roof rack can increase wind resistance when driving. This may not seem like a big deal; however, a large roof rack can actually lower fuel efficiency by about 2% to 8% when driving on city roads, and about 6% to 17% when driving on the highway.

Keep an Eye on the Tire Pressure

If tires are under inflated, it becomes a lot more difficult for the vehicle to get around on the road. Low tire pressure can cause the fuel efficiency of a car to drop dramatically. As winter approaches, temporal fluctuations throughout the day can cause the tire pressure to change. It’s a good idea to get the tire pressure inspected as often as possible.

Switch the Motor Oil to a Lower Grade

Most car owners are unaware of the fact that their vehicle may need to use a different motor oil depending on the season. As the temperature drops and winter approaches, it is best to switch to full synthetic motor oil. Usually, ones with a rating of 0W are most ideal for use during winter months. This type of winter oil is able to protect the car and the engine.

Those who are unsure of whether or not they should switch the motor oil to a lower grade should speak to a mechanic. It never hurts to get a professional opinion before making a decision.


Although winter does have a negative effect on fuel efficiency, there are plenty of different ways to negate these effects. Those who implement the strategies above will be able to maintain their vehicle’s overall fuel efficiency.


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