- Car Care & Maintenance
How to Boost Gas Mileage
With today's high gasoline prices, you need to take steps to maximize your mileage and reduce the pain at the pump. Follow these steps to boost your gas mileage and you'll save some bucks.
WHERE THE RUBBER MEETS THE ROAD
It's very important to keep your tires properly inflated. Always maintain proper tire pressure using an accurate pressure gauge. You can boost your gas mileage almost 4% by maintaining correct tire pressure. Proper tire pressure not only saves you gas, but will extend the life of your tires.
Replace or clean spark plugs when needed, generally every 10,000 miles. When firing properly, plugs will get the most mileage from your gasoline. Old or dirty plugs will decrease your gas mileage. Also have your car's fuel injector checked. Dirty fuel injectors will increase gas consumption.
IT'S A DRAG
When we hit the highway on a beautiful sunny day, we all like to open the sun roof, or roll the windows down and feel the wind in our hair. But wind means drag and drag means less fuel economy. Roll the windows up for better fuel mileage and open the air vents for fresh air.
- Use your air conditioner only when necessary and never let your car idle with the air conditioner on to cool the interior. The quickest way to cool the interior of your car is to roll the windows down and turn on the A/C to maximum cool. When the hot air is removed, roll the windows up. But remember, air conditioners are notorious gas guzzlers
- Use your cruise control whenever possible to maintain a steady speed. Constantly accelerating or braking hard will only consume more fuel. The U.S. Department of Energy claims aggressive driving can reduce your mpg by as much as 33% on highways. Coast to a stop whenever possible. Don't wait until the last second to apply the brakes.
Make it a rule to turn your engine off whenever you leave your car for more than thirty seconds. Idling for any length of time will consume gas unnecessarily and contribute to air pollution. In a cold climate, your car will warm up faster if you drive and not let it idle. And keep this in mind: in some cities it's against the law for any vehicle to idle for more than three minutes, except in traffic.
LIGHTEN THE LOAD
- Remove all heavy objects you may keep in your trunk but don't need. Things such as tools can add an extra 100 pounds to your car and can reduce your gas mileage by as much as 2%, according to the Energy Department.
REGULAR INSTEAD OF PREMIUM
- Another way you can increase your mileage and reduce your cost is to use regular instead of premium gas even though your car manufactorer recommends using premium. According to a report from Edmunds.com, you may be able to burn regular gas in your premium car. They wrote that the technology involved in today's engines make it possible for many vehicles to run very well on regular gas. Due to the electronics in the ignition system, the engine can compensate for the lower octane.
Whenever you replace your tires, or have hit a number of pot holes or curbs, have your alignment checked. Wheel alignment will keep the proper toe and thrust correct, making your tires rotate efficiently for maximum fuel consumption and less tire wear.
Always use the proper grade motor oil recommended by the auto manufacturer appropriate for the climate in your area. Oil too thick or too thin will reduce your engine's efficiency for optimum mileage and may also cause damage to it.
GIVE IT AIR
Air filters need to be checked or replaced whenever you change your oil, especially in a dusty climate. A dirty air filter will strain your engine and reduce gas mileage.
The last and most important tip. Even though it may be difficult on today's super highways, try to maintain a steady 45 to 60 mph on the road, the optimum for fuel economy. Each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.29 per gallon, according to the website fueleconomy.gov/. Driving no more than 60 mph will not only save you gas, but it may also save your life. Remember, always drive safely and soberly. Better to get to your destination late, than not get there at all.