As summer approaches, as gas prices begin to increase, fuel prices become a dominant factor in deciding where to travel. Although you can't control the price of gas, there are things that you can do to use it more efficiently. These include both vehicle maintenance and driving habits.
Maintenance tips for better gas mileage
Simple auto service work that can improve your mileage includes:
- Change your engine air filter
Your engine needs oxygen to burn fuel efficiently, and if your air filter is dirty or clogged, your vehicle will compensate by burning more fuel.
Changing your engine air filter is a very simple task. You must first purchase the correct air filter for your vehicle's year, make (manufacturer), and model. Consult the guide books located near the air filters in the auto parts store to determine which filter fits your specific vehicle.
Your air filter compartment should be atop, or just to the side of, your engine. Remove the top of the air filter compartment by either pulling aside clips or unscrewing a wing nut, according to model. Remove the old filter, insert the new one, and replace the top.
- Maintain proper tire pressure
While many newer tires have sensors that activate a tire pressure light if any one tire deflates more than two PSI (pounds per square inch), some older vehicles lack the dash activation. In addition, long trips or rapid changes in temperature can cause tires to lose pressure simultaneously, negating the effectiveness of the sensors.
Under-inflated tires allow more of a tire's surface to contact the road, creating friction that forces the engine to burn more fuel in order to maintain or increase speed.
The optimum tire pressure will be printed on the side of your tire, and on a decal on the inside of the driver's door of most vehicles. Many service stations offer air pumps that either include tire pressure gauges or offer an option to set the pump to a specific pressure.
Fill all tires, including the spare, to the same pressure, because your spare may also have a sensor and will activate your dash warning light if it is under-inflated.
Changing your driving habits to increase gas mileage
Auto service and repair are not the only ways to increase gas mileage. Driving habits can also play a role. Maintaining a relatively constant speed and accelerating gradually to reach a desired speed will result in lower fuel consumption, because rapid acceleration causes the engine to work harder and use more gas.
Using your cruise control on longer trips will allow you to maintain a steady speed, as well as relieve strain on your leg muscles. Decrease your speed when approaching a traffic light. You will save gas and increase the life of your brakes.
Combining short trips while running errands requires only a small bit of planning but can result in substantial savings at the gas pump.
When using your vehicle's air conditioner, begin by turning the control setting to outside air while lowering the windows. This will blow out the hot air. Then raise the windows and turn the setting to inside air.
When the vehicle is sufficiently cooled, turn the setting back to outside air. This will cool your vehicle more efficiently, saving fuel and allowing you to be cooler much sooner.
For more help on maximizing your fuel efficiency, talk with professionals from a shop such as Palmer Tire & Auto LLC.